Monday, April 21, 2008

SaaS, Cloud, Web 2.0... it’s time for Business Intelligence to evolve!

The most surprising phrase in Roman Bukary's presentation to the April meeting of the SDForum Business Intelligence SIG was "right time, not real time", and it was said more than once. Roman is Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Truviso and his presentation entitled "SaaS, Cloud, Web 2.0... it’s time for Business Intelligence to Evolve!" brought a large audience to our new location at the SAP Labs on Hillview Avenue in Palo Alto.

Truviso provides software to continuously analyze huge volumes of data, enabling instant visibility, immediate action and more profitable decision making. In other words, their product is a streaming database system.

Over the years, the Business Intelligence SIG has heard about several streaming database systems. Truviso distinguishes themselves in a number of ways. Firstly it leverages the open source Postgres database system, so it is a real database system and real SQL. Other desirable characteristics are handling large volumes of data, large numbers of queries and the ability to change queries on the fly. They also have a graphics front end that can draw good looking charts. Roman showed us several Truviso applications including stock and currency trading applications that are both high volume and a rapidly changing environment.

Then we come to the "right time, not real time" phrase. In the past I have associated this phrase with business intelligence systems that could not present the data in a timely manner. Obviously, that is not a problem with streaming database systems that process and aggregate data on the fly and always have the most up to date information.

I think that Roman was trying to go in the other direction. He was suggesting that Truviso is not only useful for high pressure real time applications like stock trading, it also has a place in other applications where time is less pressing but the volume of data is high and there is still a need for a real time view of the current state. Such applications could include RFID, logistics and inventory management.

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