The push technology craze in general may have fizzled, but push technology continues to survive in Vienna, Va.-based MicroStrategy Inc.’s DSS Broadcaster, the Data Warehouse Product of the Year. DSS Broadcaster automatically delivers (pushes) selected content of a data warehouse to individuals via any of a number of delivery channels: e-mail, fax, pager, or mobile phone.
DSS Broadcaster solves three problems that have troubled organizations desiring to capitalize on the large amounts of data piling up in their data warehouses, suggests Robert Craig, an analyst at Hurwitz Group Inc., in Framingham, Mass.: (1) information overload–where workers feel they are drowning in more information than they can handle; (2) inability to access the data warehouse by workers not directly connected to the corporate network; and (3) difficulty navigating the volumes of data contained in the data warehouse. DSS Broadcaster automatically delivers highly personalized selections of data, including alerts when selected data changes, to workers anywhere, whether they are connected to the corporate network or not.
Craig says he is impressed with DSS Broadcaster’s potential for organizations trying to meet the different reporting needs of large numbers of individual workers with varying information capabilities, and he particularly likes its ability to quickly and automatically deliver time-sensitive information. However, Craig is quick to point out that the tool only works in conjunction with MicroStrategy’s DSS Server and DSS Agent tools. “This isn’t something that any organization can just buy and use,” he notes. The other pieces must be purchased and installed, too, making this a significantly bigger and more involved undertaking.
Although DSS Broadcaster has earned widespread praise from industry analysts, it’s a surprising winner for Product of the Year because the need to have other MicroStrategy products considerably limits any broad market appeal from the outset. Still, DSS Broadcaster garnered 59% of the votes (873 out of a total of 1,473). This is over three times more than second-place Broadbase 1.3 from Broadbase Information Systems Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif. (with 19%, or 275 votes) and almost six times more than third-place Sagent Data Mart Solution 3.0 from Sagent Technologies Inc., of Mountain View, Calif. (with 10%, or 148 votes).
DSS Broadcaster is so new because few MicroStrategy customers have yet to put it into production. IT officials at Estee Lauder Companies, in Melville, N.Y., tested both alpha and beta copies and are evaluating it now for production deployment. “The value to us is the subscription ability. Someone can request certain information at a certain time and they will get it right on their pager or however they want it,” explains Jeff Warren, executive director/electronic commerce, who works from corporate headquarters.
Runner-up Broadbase 1.3 is a turnkey datamart, one of a new breed of analytic applications that bundle the underlying datamart technology and tools that leverage the information in the datamart. It eliminates the need to individually acquire and integrate the various pieces. Broadbase includes data acquisition and transformation; data analysis, OLAP/ROLAP, datamining, and ad hoc interactive querying; Web delivery and reporting; alerts and triggers; and GUI-based management.
Sagent Data Mart Solution 3.0 is another turnkey analytical application. According to the company, it provides data movement, Web-based data access, and a set of analytical tools. The product also offers integration with third-party products in specialized areas, such as healthcare, investment, salesforce automation, and customer-relationship management. As a turnkey application, Sagent Data Mart Solution 3.0 promises to shorten datamart implementation and development, and lower the cost and speed of the delivery of useful information to workers.
Alan Radding is a freelance writer in Newton, Mass., who specializes in business and technology. He can be reached at [email protected].