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Letter Drop

Finding the 'Wow!'

Finding the 'Wow!'

Thanks for the excellent Margy Ross/Ralph Kimball column "Alan Alda's Interviewing Tips for Uncovering Business Requirements," May 2005. One of the coolest "wow!" experiences of being on a business intelligence team is doing what Alda does on "Scientific American Frontiers" — interview people to explain complex concepts in everyday terms. It's rewarding when you're able to reframe concepts to help business users understand the complicated data and systems that surround them and their businesses. Everybody wins when users are excited about gaining new business insight.

Matt Duncan
Senior IT Specialist, Business Intelligence
IBM Global Services, AMS
[email protected]

The New Speed of Business

Seth Grimes' column Keep Up With Streaming Data," May 2005 on real-time analysis of streaming data was interesting. I must admit that I hadn't even thought about the possibility of performing in-depth analysis of data as it arrives — my assumption being that getting data into a relatively static state (updated, perhaps, on a nightly basis) was a prerequisite before pattern detection and outcome prediction work could begin. Certainly, the pace of business seems to quicken all the time. Organizations in some industry segments could gain a competitive edge by dramatically shrinking the lag time between data receipt and actionable intelligence. That said, streaming data analysis technology should complement — not replace — the conventional warehouse set-up. BI systems that contain only cleansed data will always be necessary, but I agree with Grimes that "data-prep" processes such as cleansing could — and quite possibly should — be bypassed when they don't add value and delay the generation of time-critical intelligence.

Robert Catterall
Database Technology Strategist
CheckFree Corp.
[email protected]

Real-Time Strategy

Peter Fingar "Prime Time for Real Time," May 2005 does a great job framing a problem we've been dealing with for years — the movement of business processes, both internal and external, to a more real-time state. Indeed, real time is strategic, not only bringing benefits in the way businesses run, but big dollars as customer satisfaction ratings and productivity gains make them leaders in their industries.

The core problem is a bit more primitive than Fingar states, however. Enterprises have done a poor job creating underlying integration frameworks to support process engines, and many enterprise architects still consider integration only after implementing fundamental business applications.

The move to real time isn't just about layering technology on top of technology, but grasping the strategic nature of this exercise, creating the roadmap and following a reasonable execution schedule.

David S. Linthicum
Grand Central Communications
San Francisco
[email protected]


We published the wrong byline in "Prime Time for Real Time" (May 2005). The feature was written by Peter Fingar.

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