IBM today introduced Cube Views, new DB2 software that better prepares complex information for analysis by a large spectrum of third-party business intelligence applications, helping them perform 10 – 70 percent more efficiently and enabling them to share information more easily with one another.

DB2 Cube Views uses unique algorithms to automate the creation of online analytical processing (OLAP) meta data – that is, defining, describing and indexing information contained in the database so that it can be examined from many perspectives. With Cube Views, for the first time, OLAP meta data can be created once and repeatedly shared among end users, programmers and diverse business intelligence applications during every phase of data gathering and analysis. Programmers can use the meta data to further prepare information for analysis by aggregating data into cube-like, four-dimensional charts, which show data from different perspectives. For instance, a cube may show product sales by region, time period, salesperson, profit margin, and marketing campaign.

End users can then immediately use a variety of query and reporting tools from different vendors that best suit their particular analysis needs. For example, one department can use a particular application to look at their product from a historical perspective, while another department can use a different set of tools to predict future sales for another product or region.

Because it employs industry protocols and because the technology is centralized and standardized in the database, a variety of applications from diverse vendors involved in various phases of OLAP can now more easily share meta data with one another. These applications can now also be used without as much training. Fifteen business intelligence vendors, including Brio, Crystal Decisions, Cognos, Microstrategy, Informatica and Business Objects, have lined up in support of the new IBM tool, as they see it as complementary to their own offerings. They believe that the value of DB2 as a business intelligence platform has been dramatically enhanced.

With Cube Views, DB2 now offers offer a built-in "performance advisor" that optimizes and automates the process of gathering and tagging of information prior to its analysis. As a result of compiling information better tailored for particular query styles, third-party business intelligence applications can work faster – even in complex scenarios, where the same information is examined in many dimensions, in various ways, by different departments. More efficient system and application performance can also enable customers spend less on human and computer resources in the examination of data.

Cube Views also previews an XML, Web-serviced-based Web Services interface, returning answers to OLAP queries in a popular, Web-friendly format – making it more accessible to more people.

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