Informix Decides to Start Analyzing Websites
L. Talarico - October 13, 2000
Informix Corporation (Nasdaq: IFMX), recently announced that i.Decide Web Success, an application promising to provide e-businesses a set of tools to integrate web data with enterprise data, would be available November 15. i.Decide Web Success has analytical capabilities that combine traditional business intelligence tools with web monitoring and analysis tools. Informix is able to integrate these two sets of tools by tapping its expertise in Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) and Database Management Systems (DBMS). See: Informix XML's Its Metadata Transport Data - for more information on Informix's technical proficiency in these areas. The product works by pulling web data, operational data (such as ERP), third party data, and legacy data into a central data repository. The merged data in the repository is then available for data analysis. Analytic capabilities within the front-end component include operations analysis, clickstream analysis, website visitor analysis, marketing effectiveness, and e-commerce merchandising and sales analysis.
Integration of traditional business intelligence with web analysis allows clicks-and-mortar organizations to identify customer demographics, online and offline buying habits, and web behavior. Personalization/recommendation engines and campaign management applications can then use data from i.Decide Web Success to perform their functions (i.Decide Web Success will supply data to Informix's personalization engine and content management software or to products from other vendors' such as BroadVision and Vignette).
i.Decide Web Success rounds out a broad offering of e-business applications from Informix. Other e-business applications include i.Sell, i.Reach and Media360. i.Sell is an e-commerce store-front product that consists of a personalization/recommendation engine and online transaction processing software. i.Reach is a web publishing solution. Media360 is a content management product that manages media assets (documents, web pages, videos, 3D images and other files) over intranets, extranets, and the Internet.
The market force behind the development of i.Decide Web Success is the increasing need for data integration and analysis across multiple channels such as web, call center, and point of sale. i.Decide's primary differentiator is that it integrates traditional business intelligence with web analysis. Informix competes with vendors such as Informatica and Business Objects in business intelligence and NetGenesis and WebTrends in web analysis, but few vendors deliver both capabilities. Information on other vendors that compete in this space can be found in the article: What Good Is Information If Nobody Sees It?.
Realizing that its strength lies in data integration, Informix is actively pursuing alliances to provide best of breed e-business applications to use i.Decide Web Success' central data repository as a platform. According to an Informix representative BroadVision and Vignette are likely partners. BroadVision can supply personalization and online transaction processing applications and Vignette can provide content management applications.
It makes sense for Informix to partner for these and other applications that can use the central data repository and the processes analysis, but this will undoubtedly cause confusion among IT decision makers. This is because significant overlap will likely exist between the i.Sell and i.Reach offerings and the partner offerings. This is an issue Informix should deal with before making any partner applications commercially available. Informix also purchased Ardent software in December 1999 (see: Ardent Software: Will Informix Merger Affect Their Success?) to strengthen their web analytics capabilities prior to developing i.Decide Web Success.
Informix has some key advantages that may help it succeed in the crowded CRM market. With well over $200M in quarterly revenues for the past five quarters and positive profits, Informix is financially strong compared to the likes of Informatica, Business Objects, WebTrends and NetPerceptions. Informix expects i.Decide Solutions to bring a healthy change to the top line, as revenues have slipped from $252M in 4Q99 to $240M in 2Q00.
Clicks-and-mortar firms looking to integrate their data into one repository for customer analysis across multiple channels should consider i.Decide Web Success. Informix claims that i.Decide Web Success is designed for dot-coms as well as clicks-and-mortar, but IT decision makers should consider the nature of their data integration needs before purchasing this product. A pure play dot-com will derive little value from a data repository that is designed to pull data out of ERP and legacy systems if they don't have those systems in place. Furthermore if your analytics needs are stronger than your data integration needs (because the bulk of your data integration issues have already been dealt with) than i.Decide Web Success may not provide the functionality you require.
If your organization's needs match i.Decide Web Success' capabilities, Informix should be on your short list. The company boasts a lasting, successful presence in the ETL and DBMS markets that should provide advantages in the e-business analytics market. Keep in mind that this is a first version release that has not been time-tested commercially.
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