At the Information Builders 2010 conference I spent some time to learn about the latest in its business intelligence (BI) technology and also performance management, which my colleague has analyzed recently (See: “IBI’s Eye Popping New Performance Management Software”). But I focused more on information management, which is becoming a strategic component of the company’s portfolio. Its iWay Software includes a suite of integration adapters used to interoperate across processes and data types along with its integration server, and I investigated several products that use these two foundation components for various aspects of information management.
The iWay Business-to-Business (B2B) Suite is a gateway for the transfer of data using industry standards such as EDI, HIPAA and SWIFT or technology standards like ebXML and SOAP. B2B support is a critical need, as our benchmark research into product information management found: Only 19 percent of organizations trust that type of information completely. The iWay Business Process Automation Suite uses adapters and integration technology that support the Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) standard. The iWay Activity Monitor supports the monitoring of activities, and iWay CEP Enable supports complex event processing for two-way interaction on event-based information like metrics and activities. Our benchmark research in operational intelligence found that organizations need simpler means to integrate event sources and want to model and apply analytics to them.
Information Builders’ information management suite of products has been growing in response to demands for data quality and master data management (MDM) software that operates across multiple data domains and can be integrated with business intelligence. The iWay Data Quality Center supports workflow and rules for data quality and has a set of modules to support narrower tasks including data processing of contacts, households, parties and other data. The iWay Data Quality Control Portal provides visibility of issues and enables interaction across the enterprise to support data governance. Our benchmark research on data governance found that understanding data issues was the number-one concern in 57 percent of organizations, followed by improving data quality and consistency in 40 percent of organizations; iWay Data Quality Center addresses these issues.
The iWay Master Data Center provides the ability to perform data profiling through iWay Data Profiler, which was released in late 2009. It can also provide Web-based access to profiling information. Then through extracting, loading and cleansing, the data can be matched and merged. The product supports governance of data through workflow with an issues database that supports tracking and resolution and is managed by data operators and stewards. Information Builders WebFOCUS handles reporting and analysis of data and was found to be the number one management capability for data governance need in 49 percent of organizations. This set of capabilities has been used to manage patient index by the Mount Sinai Medical Center and for Sabre Airline Solutions. It also comes with a set of modules that address the detailed needs of domain data and specific projects.
The iWay platform also supports cloud computing through the Amazon EC2 architecture. This flexibility of deployment has helped many organizations interoperate across private and public computing environments. Information Builders also provides robust technology for integration with SAP that can help support of a range of needs from data warehousing and business intelligence to activity monitoring and operational intelligence. It can also help organizations with enterprise-to-cloud data migration and cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-enterprise data integration.
The iWay Software suite of offerings for integration technologies and information management also interoperate with Information Builders’ WebFOCUS technologies, of which there is an upcoming major release (See: “Information Builders Expands Business Intelligence with WebFOCUS 8“). With this combination Information Builders can directly compete against major global providers DataFlux with SAS, IBM Cognos, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. The company has improved the products since my previous assessment in 2009 (See: “iWay Software is Tooling the Information Freeway”). We think it should go further into product information management (PIM); this could be a growth opportunity, as our benchmark research found that only 46 percent of organizations are satisfied with their PIM processes. As well, 49 percent use spreadsheets heavily, which can be replaced with dedicated technology like iWay Software to improve processes and quality of information. No matter what your integration technology and information management needs are, iWay Software deserves a look to see how it might meet your needs both in the enterprise and in cloud computing.
Mark Smith – CEO & EVP Research