Horizontal warehousing, Sybase style
- By Peter Bochner
Packaged analytic apps are gaining increased attention among IT
professionals. For its part, Sybase Inc. (http://www.sybase.com) has been offering a
mini-warehouse solution to help customers jumpstart the design and development
of their enterprise analytic applications. The Industry Warehouse Studio (IWS)
solution is a horizontal approach that can be tailored to media, health-care,
banking, capital markets, life insurance, telco and credit card
For instance, the Los Angeles Times, which
operates an advanced inserting and distribution facility in the U.S., just
started using the IWS for Media solution to leverage its circulation data
stores, and to help it monitor advertising market penetration and financial
trends in its growing pre-print ad business. In pre-print distribution, Los
advertisers are offered a customized
approach for distributing freestanding fliers and product samples.
IWS implementations often have a ''far-reaching effect''
on the overall enterprise application development process, said Roger Travis,
vice president of worldwide sales for Sybase's Business Intelligence Division
''The customer acquires an enterprise model and infrastructure. They start with
an individual project, quickly bring value to the business, and then
incrementally expand to other areas of the enterprise. As they add more data,
the value of the enterprise data warehouse grows geometrically.'' The Los
''is combining circulation, advertising and third-party data, so they clearly see
it as a framework for very broad use.''
Does Travis consider the description ''mini-warehouse'' for IWS accurate? ''Yes,
but with a caveat,'' he noted. ''We don't want to see IWS positioned as a
shrink-wrapped finished product. It's not a one-size-fits-all solution even
within a specific industry, but a robust platform infrastructure that can be
expand for specific requirements.''
Each version of IWS consists of Sybase's Power Designer 9 data warehouse
architect tool for enhancing, modifying and working with the CRM components; and
Warehouse Control Center, a meta data management product that supports meta data
exports from Informatica on the ETL side, and Cognos, MicroStrategy and Business
Objects on the visualization side. According to Travis, Sybase created a
methodology and architecture within the model for an analytic environment, ''but
adding fact tables or dimensions is part of the methodology. You don't have to
be a design architect to develop the application, you merely need to be
knowledgeable within the basic discipline.''
The meta data management product can push data out to whatever tool is
already in-house. ''We wanted to stay out of the religious wars when it comes to
customer preferences for ETL tools, visualization tools and design tools,''
explained Travis. ''We're not locking the customer into any tool or product. And
since the tool generates the DDLs for data models in any database product, the
product is platform independent from a database perspective as well.''