From the Inside Flap
So, whatUs the problem? In this book, we present Internet Enabled Business Intelligence(IEBI) as a solution. Unfortunately, the word solution has been so abused bymarketers that it has lost meaning. We begin, therefore, by looking at the characteristicsof a solution. One of the responses I received to this approach from anearly reviewer caught me a bit off guard. "Great, Internet Enabled Business Intelligenceis a solution," he said. "So, whatUs the problem?" At first I sputtered outsome inarticulate platitude, aggravated that he was giving me a hard time. Then,after some reflection, I realized that often, as system engineers, we forget the realissue when we build systems. Whether they are Business Intelligence (BI) systems,supply chain management, or even email, they all have a problem for which we aretrying to find a solution.
So, letUs ask the question one more time. WhatUs the problem?
The easy access to information provided by the Internet has intensified thecompetitive environment. Today we live in what has become known as the informationage. Information has taken on more value today than at any other time inhuman history. People are more informed, more connected, than ever before. Politiciansstruggle with a 24-hour news cycle. Governments wrestle with the conflictbetween freedom of information and national security concerns. During the PersianGulf war, CNN was a major source of strategic information for Iraq. The sameis true of consumer information. Product reviews, consumer advocacy groups, andindividual customer opinions are all there for anyone to read. ThatUs the goodnews. There is a lot of information out there.
The bad news is that there is a lot of information out there. We all know bynow that our organizations are awash in data. In the summer of 2001, the WhiteHouse received warnings of a terrorist attack. FBI field agents sent in warningsconcerning possible terrorists attending flight schools. The problem was that allthese separate pieces of information were couched in a cacophony, other nonrelatedpieces of information. Imagine yourself for a moment at your local consumerelectronics store, standing in front of a wall of televisions. Then imagine each televisionon a different channel with the volume turned up as loud as possible. Thinkof the challenge in trying to understand all those different information feeds anddevelop some consolidated view of the world. That is what the average organizationfaces today. We are drowning in data. Do we sleep, perchance to dream? Or,do we take up arms against a sea of data? If we sleep, if we continue to try todo business as usual, then we will most certainly die. Our organizations will loseout in the marketplace to those competitors who have adapted to this changingenvironment, to those who have learned how to harness the power of this sea ofinformation.
In short, our problem is twofold. On one hand, we are competing in an environmentwhere consumers and competitors are better informed. On the otherhand, there is so much information flowing through the organization that it isalmost impossible to make any sense of it. This is the problem; IEBI is the solution.
This text is divided into four sections. The first section, chapters 1 through 3,describes the IEBI solution. We begin this section by differentiating a solution froma mixture. The text then describes the ingredients of the IEBI solution. In Chapter2, we discuss the evolution of the Internet from both a technical and economic perspective.Chapter 3 discusses the anatomy of BI, exploring the BI loop and its componentsin detail.
In the second section, chapters 4 through 6, we study the Internet itself. InChapter 5, we discuss servers, the heart of the Internet, distinguishing between thedifferent architectural alternatives available to systems designers. We discuss howcommunication occurs over the Internet in Chapter 6. How does a thing called aURL connect a client to a server on the other side of the planet? While this mayseem basic to some, understanding the nuances of this architecture will have animpact on our implementations.
The third section, chapters 7 through 10, studies the software of the Internet.We discuss application development on a multi-tier architecture in Chapter 8. InChapter 9, we discuss how XML provides a structure for sharing data over the Net.We then discuss in Chapter 10 how the Common Warehouse Metadata Interchange(CWMI) uses this structure for the communication of metadata betweensystems.
In the final section, we examine the ultimate objective, using IEBI to be morecompetitive in the information age. The key to being more competitive is to createa customer-driven culture in our organizations. We discuss what this means in Chapter 12. In Chapter 13, we see how we can use the Internet to capture the informationnecessary to understand our customers, and in Chapter 14, we see how touse it.
You will note that I have provided a recommended reading list as an Appendixto the book. I am not so foolish to believe that any one book can be the one booka person will ever need to read on this subject. I donUt know of any topic so narrowthat any one book can be the exclusive work on that subject, much less so broad asubject as IEBI. Even if such an accomplishment were possible, I am not so vain asto believe that I could write it. Rather, I see this book as one step in a very long journey.For some, it may be the first step, for others it may be much farther down theroad. In either case, the books IUve listed provide additional resources for you tocontinue your study beyond what we have done here.
Now that we understand what it is we are discussing, let me tell you about mysisterUs kitchen. Having inherited the old homestead, she has become the matriarchof the family. When any of my siblings or I go back home, we are going back to ouractual home. As we sit in her kitchen, my motherUs kitchen, the phantoms of thosewho have gone linger in the shadows. The thousand raucous family gatheringswith all the laughter, debates, shouting, and roughhousing, still reverberate in thevery structure of that old house. In the increasingly rare quiet moments, you canhear them. I can see my father sitting at the head of the table telling stories of hisown childhood, my uncle leaning over telling me his own version of the story. Inmy mindUs eye my Mother is at her post, cooking. "Get out of here with your longhair," she tells my sisters. She lived in fear of their hair getting in the food. Theyare all still there, faint echoes you can only hear with your heart.
While most of my fatherUs generation has gone on, new memories are beingcreated. If you sit at my sisterUs kitchen table long enough, you will eventuallymeet everyone in my home town. Everyone passes through. It is the stereotypicalItalian kitchen, lots of food and lots of conversation, lots and lots and lots of veryloud conversation. In all that talk, there is no tangent too wild, no reference tooobscure, no metaphor stretched too thin to be leveraged for forensic advantage.The only rule of engagement seems to be, the more wild the claim or ludicrous thestatement, the louder it must be stated. Most participants in family discussionsleave one very hoarse and a little deaf.
This is how I have learned to discuss topics. Wild tangents and clever anecdotesonly deepen the discussion. Many topics we will discuss in our explorationof IEBI have their traditional explanations. Rather than opt for the same worn, triteexamples, I have attempted to take a different route, a more scenic excursion. Wewill go down paths that seem tangential, or make references that are somewhatwild, but in the end, they will only add to our understanding of the subject. I hopethrough this unorthodox style to provide you with a richer, more rewarding experiencethan typically found in technical books.
Everything is connected. We cannot be myopic in our view of any one subject.We must endeavor to see the whole as well as the individual parts. It is my objectivethat through such an experience, I can share with you the same thrill, the sameexcitement that I feel for this subject. It is my desire that after reading this book,you will feel the same eager anticipation I feel for what weyou and Icanaccomplish with Internet Enabled Business Intelligence.
William A. Giovinazzo
From the Back Cover
Link business intelligence to the Web! Technologies, integration, and applications.
- Internet-enabled business intelligence: from planning to profit
- In-depth coverage of integration and key enabling technologies, including Java and XML
- Advanced analysis and profiling: understand customers better, and respond faster
- Clickstrean analysis: understanding how customers use your site
- Linking data warehouses to CRM and other enterprise/value chain systems
This is the first start-to-finish guide to planning, deploying, and profiting from Internet-enabled data warehouses. Leading business intelligence specialist William Giovinazzo covers every enabling technology, every analysis approach, and every key challenge you'll face in linking business intelligence to the Web. From infrastructure integration to state-of-the-art profiling and wireless applications, Giovinazzo shows how everything fits togetherand exactly how to use Web-enabled data warehouses to deliver powerful ROI in your business.
See all Product description
- How the Internet enhances your business intelligence infrastructure
- Leveraging key enabling technologies: Java, XML, XSL, and more
- Breakthrough analysis techniques: understand customers better, and respond faster!
- Integrating data warehouses with CRM and other enterprise and inter-enterprise systems
- Establishing common warehouse metadata
- Drawing on the clickstreams generated by your Web and e-commerce sites
- Personalization techniques that work