e-Business is about integration, in that business units and their IT systems should be connected for sharing information across IT-system, organizational and geographic boundaries. e-Business is also about intelligence, in that the digital flow of information should be tapped to contribute to decision making that improves an organization's efficiency and effectiveness. "Intelligration" results from the intersection of these two e-Business requirements: data integration and business intelligence.
THE HURWITZ TAKE: Extensible markup language (XML) is now established as a significant enabler for software infrastructures that contribute to e-Business intelligration:
- The world of data warehousing already has two proposed standards XMI and OIM for exchanging meta data between warehouses and other entities. Report servers from Actuate, Brio, Business Objects, Cognos and others already support XML as a native format. Plus, data extraction/transformation software by Ardent, Constellar, Data Junction and others support XML as a target and/or source format.
- Messaging through brokers is core to enterprise application integration (EAI), and XML is emerging as an effective message format for application servers. This can be seen in Bluestone's XML Server, Microsoft's BizTalk, Progress's SonicMQ, Sybase's Message Broker and others.
- In the knowledge management world, unstructured text documents can get structure from XML tags. XML can radically improve operations such as search, text mining and document management. XML has spawned a new generation of dynamic content tools for publishing (from Arbortext and POET), and it will soon do the same for e-Business personalization.
- The first generation of corporate portals demanded that users move documents into a proprietary repository for indexing. A coming generation of corporate portals lets data and documents live where they originated, while the portal builds and maintains an XML-based index of pointers to them. Products from Data Channel, Sequoia Software and Infoseek have these capabilities.
XML is no silver bullet it is merely an enabling technology, a small (but important) bolt that fastens parts together in the e-Business machine. Even so, XML can contribute significantly to the data integration and business intelligence the "intelligration" that e-Business requires.
NOTE: For more information about XML as an enabler for e-Business intelligration, be sure to catch Philip Russom's presentation "What does XML Mean to e-Business?" at the conference "XML for Information Resource Managers." For more information, visit http://www.wilshireconferences.co m/xml/.
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