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Inmon boosts dynamic analysis concept

The so-called ''adaptive project mart' is a new concept in data warehousing that uses existing technology to produce what data warehousing pioneer Bill Inmon defines as ''a non-permanent data environment suitable for dynamic analysis.''

Sagent Technology Inc., Mountain View, Calif., last week brought out a set of adaptive project mart tools dubbed Enterprise Information Integration (EII). Sagent lays claim to being the originator of the concept of creating quick on-the-fly information marts for one-time uses.

''What's driving (the adaptive project mart concept) are situations that companies run into where it's difficult to create a data mart or a data warehouse to meet a business need,'' explained Dave Henry, vice president of product marketing at Sagent. ''Enterprise Information Integration is going to let them satisfy the end-user's information requirement by transforming this information on the fly and sending it straight out to their reporting tool.''

He points to the recent Aug. 14 deadline from the SEC for CEOs to certify their corporate financial statements in the wake of the Enron scandal as an example of a situation where the adaptive project mart would be the best solution.

''Think of the problem a chief financial officer might have,'' Henry said. ''He might want to do some kind of variant analysis against some financial data. And if it's a large company and they maybe have 12 or more divisions, maybe they just acquired some companies that are using a different accounting system or financial reporting system. They have a problem of getting this information integrated together. The traditional approach might be to build a data mart or a data warehouse.''

Alternatively, using the adaptive data mart, the IT department could use existing ETL tools to extract data from heterogeneous sources throughout an enterprise. ''That's the extraction piece,'' Henry said. ''We could map to a J.D. Edwards system for example. We could map to an SAP. We could map to a proprietary mainframe system. Maybe they have financial data that's in a spreadsheet. If we could pull that information together inside of a data flow server, we could then combine it, analyze it, scrub it down, get it to a point where it's in a uniform format and send it straight out into Excel.''

An article by Inmon on the adaptive project mart is available at http://www.billinmon.com/library/newsltr/Jul02.htm.

For more information on EII, click on www.sagent.com.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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