BACKGROUND: D&J Wade Associates is a leading provider of data warehousing and business intelligence consulting services. Clients include leading corporations in the financial services, pharmaceutical, telecommunications and retail industries.

PLATFORMS: BusinessMiner is available on all Windows platforms, including Microsoft Windows 95, Windows NT and Windows 3.1 (via Win32S). The product supports access to multiple data sources including Oracle, Sybase, Informix, Microsoft SQL Server, CA-Ingres, Teradata, Red Brick, RDB, Excel, ASCII files and others.

PROBLEM SOLVED: In business today, quick access to information is a competitive advantage. BusinessMiner is a powerful enterprise query, reporting and analysis toolset that speeds and eases this process by letting users access databases using familiar business terms. Once that information is on the desktop, users may want to find hidden trends in the data. BusinessMiner addresses this need by letting business persons take advantage of powerful data mining technology right on the desktop and answers the "what-if" questions users are asking.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: BusinessMiner is a powerful desktop data mining tool that helps non-technical business users automatically find previously undetected relationships in their business data. Based on intuitive decision tree technology, BusinessMiner provides easy-to-understand hierarchies that graphically depict relationships in data. BusinessMiner provides this ease of use without sacrifices in functionality. The product provides all classical data mining functions including modeling, discovery, visualization, what-if and segmentation. BusinessMiner is a powerful desktop mining tool whose automatic analysis lets you find useful information hidden in your business data, whether in relational databases, data warehouses, OLAP servers or personal files. BusinessMiner is available as an option for BusinessObjects 4.1 or as a standalone product.

STRENGTHS: BusinessMiner is very ease to use via the application of decision trees. Anyone who can understand percentages and flow charts will be able to use the product. BusinessMiner mines data on an average of 1000 rows per second. BusinessMiner is also affordable as it is the first data mining solution to break the $500 price point. Priced at $495 when purchased standalone, BusinessMiner defines a new level of affordability for data mining technology.

WEAKNESSES: BusinessMiner does data mining using decision trees which is acceptable for most business users but might not be enough for a power user who would like to use additional statistical methods.

SELECTION CRITERIA: BusinessMiner should be a consideration for any company wanting to give data mining technology to their mainstream business users. Any company that has built a data warehouse and wants to extend their users' ability to manipulate the data is a candidate for this technology. For example, a company could deploy BusinessMiner to their sales and marketing staffs to discover hidden relationships in a data set, perform simulations and "what-if" analyses, predict outcomes and segment mass data into discreet categories.

DELIVERABLES: BusinessMiner allows users to mine data alone or in conjunction with BusinessObjects 4.1. The tool is used to study hidden relationships between data, present it in decision tree format and carry out "what-if" analyses.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Business Objects has a commitment to more than 7,000 corporations internationally utilizing more than 955,000 licenses. Along with traditional phone support, on-line assistance is available via the Web. The company is also open to comments regarding future releases.

DOCUMENTATION: The written documentation and on-line help are well written, comprehensive and easy to use.

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