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Structured vs. unstructured data

Traditional BI applications focused on structured data - sales, costs, margins, units sold etc. But now with the rising volumes and importance of unstructured data, it is becoming increasingingly important for an enterprise BI solution to not just provide access to both but also provide an integrated view of both. Business Objects, Cognos, etc, don't really seem to be doing this. Do you think a new class of BI solutions will emerge addressing this need?

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There has not been a whole lot of innovation in the area of unstructured data within the mainstream BI toolsets recently. While I agree that unstructured data is becoming increasingly important, the question is at what pace and at what relative effort to good old so-called structured data? Informix's Data Blades of a few years ago was much ballyhooed but never went anywhere in the market.

I don't see it being a big priority for 2-3 more years, especially as we continue to have needs of the vendors in the area of structured data. And I see it coming from the major players.

This was first published in April 2003

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