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Getting the Right Information to the Right People

Two other types of popular analytical applications are activity-based costing systems, which are used in the distribution and manufacturing industry, and marketing customer information files (MCIF), which are in the banking industry. Analytical applications frequently require a data mart to serve as the source data the application uses to perform its analysis. These systems provide a variety of reports and presentations of data, plus analytical insights based on company- or industry-specific business logic.


Web portal--None of the business requirement scenarios dictates a need for a Web portal solution because the decision to deploy a Web portal really isn't guided by the nature of the information that users want to see or the organization of the underlying database. Instead, the need for a Web portal solution can, in great part, be determined by whether  an organization wants to extend information access to a wide range of audiences, such as employees, vendors, customers and other key partners. The best Web portal technology makes it easy for the intended users to find the information you want them to have, blocks unauthorized access and supports customization of the user interface.

The BI Umbrella
From its origins in data warehousing, BI has rapidly matured as a discipline. The variety of business applications that can rightfully claim a place under the BI umbrella continues to grow. Enterprise reporting systems, data warehouses, data marts, CRM applications, balanced scorecards, data mining, analytic applications and Web portals are just some of todays BI solution classes. By matching an understanding of your business requirements and database assets with an understanding of the benefits that can be gained from these different solution classes, an IT manager can play a leading role in putting an organization on the right path.


Bill Langston is director of marketing for New Generation Software Inc., and a developer of iSeries BI software. He can be reached at



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