Perna: Analytics are just going to be part of applications like applications for ERP, supply chain, and CRM. We are beginning to see that evolve today, as we see with business process integration. What we will see is events triggered by data. There will be changes to a state in the database that are going to trigger some kind of behavior. It is at that point where you integrate the analytics. But part of the requirement for doing that is the database be smart enough to be able to warn the analytic functions that something is coming in.
For instance, when a Web-based transaction is coming into the database, you want to be able to score this person I am transacting with in real time using data mining technology. So if this person is a great candidate for a life insurance policy or trying to get a seat on flight, the transaction you are conducting will invoke triggers to call up real-time scoring services, which gives you more information on the profile of this person you are dealing with. Think of it as a kind of conversation, or taking CRM back 100 years ago. When someone walked into a merchant's store 100 years ago, they knew a lot more about that person than merchant's do today. Back then they would know that person's birthday, family background, etc. Well today we try to have that sort of relationship with customers [by] collecting that sort of information through many, many transactions.
InfoWorld: This real-time scoring software is Masala?
Perna: Yes. In essence what we are trying to do is interact in real time as if you and I were talking. Well, not so much talking in this instance, but interacting with a system and having that system and data be intelligent enough to figure out what is the next thing you want to do.
InfoWorld: How complex a task will it be to get people to upgrade their infrastructure to marry all their historical and real-time analytics?
Perna: There is not a big rip and replace strategy needed here. Our approach is really about leveraging infrastructure you already have, wherever it exists. If you look at all the data sources out there, it is in file systems, content sources, a range of Web-based information. And so when you look at what we are doing with the Information Network Integrator, our integration platform for information, we have been extending its reach. Initially, it would go out to just relational data sources. Then, we added e-mail, Web services, and XML data sources, and now we are adding text. We have this search paradigm with Masala to do free form search. So what we are doing is using that layer to search and integrate and bring in information from all these different sources.
InfoWorld: How closely do you have to work with Microsoft to make all this work effectively with things on the desktop? And what sort of standards do you both have to agree on to make that happen?
Perna: Most of the standards are in place and would include SQL, XML, and XQuery. So when you look at what we have here, we have the necessary integration layer, the programming interface layer is SQL, and with Masala you have enterprise-level search. These are all different metaphors for accessing information.
InfoWorld: So you see the DB2 Information Integrator as the key layer in terms of expediting this strategy?
Perna: Exactly right.
InfoWorld: So what is the next step for carrying DB2 Information Integrator forward?