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LESSON - As Business Intelligence Becomes a Strategic Imperative, Is Your Infrastructure Ready to Handle It?

By Ellen Rubin, Vice President of Marketing, Netezza Corporation

Savvy, market-leading companies across a range of industries are “competing on analytics” to dominate their markets. These companies understand that business intelligence has evolved from tactical reporting to a strategic imperative and they must fully leverage it to stay ahead of the pack. Ironically, as BI is growing in importance across the enterprise, it’s also becoming harder to achieve success. What are the hurdles to successful BI initiatives? How does your infrastructure need to evolve to keep pace?

Hurdles to Successful BI

As companies broaden their BI initiatives, they must upgrade their capabilities to handle increasing enterprise pressures, including:

  • Exploding data volumes and shrinking data latency tolerances. As businesses collect huge amounts of data from new sources and applications, they’re also under increasing pressure to know now, not tomorrow, what intelligence is locked in the data.
  • Increasing analytic sophistication. Businesses are no longer interested just in what has happened, but also in what will happen, so they need to run ad hoc analyses on detailed data, review the results, and continue to iterate.
  • Expanding user community. As BI becomes increasingly strategic and pervasive, more people (internally and externally, from power users to more casual ones) need to access the data.

But, as noted in a DM Review article on OLAP,1 one of the biggest hurdles to effective BI is slow query performance caused by the limitations of the underlying analytic infrastructure. Traditional data warehouse systems can’t keep pace with today’s BI needs—they weren’t designed to quickly deliver complex analytics on terabytes of data. They’re expensive to scale, complex to administer, and time-consuming to deploy. These limitations are diametrically opposed to the growing demands of BI.

One of the biggest hurdles to effective BI is slow query performance caused by the limitations of the underlying analytic infrastructure.

Evolving Your Infrastructure

The Netezza Performance Server data warehouse appliance offers a revolutionary approach to data warehousing. It was designed specifically for the challenges of today’s BI:

  • Purpose-built for performance. Coming from a single vendor, the architecturally integrated database, server, and storage are designed specifically for high-performance data warehousing. This includes dedicated hardware for processing large data volumes faster than any other data warehouse solution in the market.
  • Flexible and scalable. The appliance grows modularly with business needs.
  • Simple to use. Easy to install, deploy, and maintain. A true data warehouse appliance requires no tuning, indexing, partitioning, or aggregations.
  • Low cost. Significantly less costly to own and maintain—even for large EDW implementations of 100 terabytes or more—leading to a lower overall total cost of ownership.
  • Enterprise compatible. Highly available, with “plug ’n play” integration and installation in just hours. Appliances have standards-based interfaces and are fully integrated with all major BI and data integration vendors.

By leveraging the Netezza data warehouse appliance, companies can run existing analyses faster and more deeply, but even more important, they can run new, previously impossible analyses to drive business growth.

Proving It Out

Netezza’s customers are major companies across data-intensive industries that are now leveraging BI for competitive advantage—because they can. One of Netezza’s large financial services customers is now saving $100 million annually on postage because they can run much more targeted customer segmentations for direct mail promotional offers. A large online business can now quickly understand the effects of changes made to their site, and make immediate adjustments to avoid lost revenues. And with Netezza, a leading retailer is realizing a several-fold reduction in data load times and can now move from weekly to daily updates to its sales transactions data warehouse, allowing the company to reduce cycle times in identifying shifting sales trends and deliver significant bottom-line impact. Netezza’s customers understand that using the innovative Netezza data warehouse appliance as part of their infrastructure is key to the success of their BI initiatives and integral to competing on analytics.


1 Nigel Pendse, “What’s New and What’s Not?” DM Review, February 2005.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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