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Are vendors looking after the BI needs of small biz?

When scale is not the issue

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Reg reader workshop There has been a heated debate going over here on the relative merits of mainframe architectures versus massively parallel Intel/AMD based platforms for large scale data warehousing and other requirements. So far, the mainframe camp seems to be winning this one, so if you are a fan of MPP, get yourself over there and have your say.

In the meantime, this debate is pretty much irrelevant if you are a small business or a department in a large enterprise that needs to pull information together from various sources into a modest sized warehouse or data mart for business intelligence (BI) purposes.

And let's be clear that there is a very real need here. In our BI reader survey of a few weeks ago, for example, we found that users in small and medium businesses suffered from all of the same problems to do with information fragmentation, consistency, and access as those working in a corporate environment.

OK, the problems are a little less marked in smaller environments, but not by very much.

But how well do vendors cater for the needs of smaller scale environments? It can so often appear that warehousing, BI, and analytical solutions are aimed primarily at big corporates.

Perhaps this is an example of an age old problem that while the functional requirements of smaller businesses are not actually that different to larger ones, the implementation requirements and economics are. If you don't have a small army of IT staff with specialist warehousing and BI implementation skills, for example, like the big telcos, banks, and insurance companies, you really don't want to be piecing solutions together from components originally designed with high end problems in mind, bringing all of the complexity and technical overkill with them.

Or do you?

Well, you tell us. If you have experience of implementing small scale data warehousing and BI solutions, or maybe have recently investigated what's on offer from vendors in this area, we would be interested to know what you think. Is it easy enough to find server and integration technologies for a modest scale setup that doesn't break the bank? Are they generally packaged or pre-integrated in the way you would like?

We would appreciate your contribution to the discussion below. ®

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