Looking ahead, Oracle’s Shimp thinks this universal approach to searching and reporting will eventually put the data warehouse to pasture. The key enablers here are databases that can store relational data and native XML together.
“Traditionally, people have had to load and unload data, cleanse it and reformat it, do all kinds of complex gyrations, add all kinds of banks of servers for separate OLAP or data mining applications,” Shimp says. “That’s all going away. We’re simplifying down to just a core database that can handle all of this directly inside the database engine.”
It will take some time before we reap the full benefits of services-based information and universal data access. OASIS and other standards groups continue their work to establish the core identities and semantics within vertical industries and across them so that companies can more effectively share information through XML. Meanwhile, the walls between database silos, application silos, and organizational silos are coming down.
As IBM’s Sall puts it, “You can’t be compliant in a silo. You have to be able to look across silos to have any prayer of being compliant as an organization. Same thing with business intelligence. You don’t want to be intelligent about a silo, and not about the silo next to it. These are the reasons why this kind of more holistic or enterprise view of information is beginning to be such a big issue with the industry.”