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BAM goes XML

Business intelligence (BI) must be real-time as well as right time, and that means business activity monitoring (BAM) and business process monitoring (BPM) need XML, according to Anant Jhingran, IBM's director of business intelligence.

But there is some confusion about what constitutes real-time BI, he argues, starting with the idea that an ETL tool can just grab data and dump it in a warehouse.

"This is OK, but not enough," Jhingran told XDT in a recent interview. "You need to have a holistic view of all the data -- the data that has made it into the warehouse, and the data that might be part of the business processes."

In his view, you also need data that is outside traditional sources and outside the enterprise.

"You have spent a lot of effort on building warehouses, structured data, cleansing data and other things," Jhingran said. "That's clearly important. But there's a huge amount of information that's relevant for your insight that you need to bring in, and this relevant information may be in the form of text, e-mail, on the Web, on a competitor's Web site, in an analyst's report, in media reports, in customer calls and so on."

He further argues that while emphasis on current information is important, putting it into historical perspective is equally crucial to a good BI system.

"In our view," Jhingran said, "business process monitoring and business activity monitoring is about a holistic perspective on the historical and current data. It's all about synergies between the warehouse and business processes. It's all about unification around XML because XML is the way business processes are communicating the data."

Key to the BI products IBM is building is a commitment to open standards, including XML and its related standards, and to open source, including Linux, Java and Eclipse, said Jhingran.

"We're working on XML standards and also working with Linux," he said.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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