Mergers in the business intelligence (BI) market have been big news lately. Hyperion acquired Brio. Informatica picked up Striva. Business Objects bought Crystal Decisions. Ascential bought Mercator. The market is maturing and consolidating. Vendors are improving features such as reporting tools and real-time extract, transform and load (ETL). Do any of these mergers really change the BI landscape? No. Query tools are still too complex for many users. Real-time data warehousing is still difficult. These mergers are not the fundamental shifts that change a discipline such as BI. The real news in the analytics market is about a merger that has nothing to do with what we see in the headlines.

The most interesting work in business intelligence today surrounds the merger of two technologies –­ structured data analysis and unstructured data analysis. Megaputer was one of the earliest vendors to integrate text analysis with data mining, but others are joining in the trend. BI vendors, especially the statistical software companies such as SPSS and SAS, are integrating data and text mining functions to expand the scope of BI. Expect to see more.

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