Business Intelligence a Major Post-Y2K Thrust, Surveys Confirm

As the IT world recovers from the impact of Y2K, business intelligence/data warehouse implementations rank on the top of many AS/400 agendas. Recent surveys confirm the size of the growing market for storing and retrieving customer information.

Overall, the worldwide market for business intelligence and data warehousing is expected to grow at a rate of 43 percent over the next four years, a recent survey by Survey.com Inc. (Silicon Valley, Calif.) finds. The worldwide market will grow to $148.5 billion by 2003, of which half will be North American implementations. The business intelligence/data warehouse market consists of systems, storage solution, packaged applications, services and in-house expenditures. The greatest expenditures will come from in-house and storage spending.

By 2003, the systems component alone will comprise a $13 billion market, of which $1.4 billion will be OS/400-based implementations, according to Survey.com. In fact, the OS/400 portion of the market is expected to more than quadruple in size over the next four years. Unix, the dominant business intelligence/warehouse platform at this time, will continue to maintain the greatest market share, with Windows NT/2000 rapidly catching up.

In the area of storage, the study measures usable data currently and planned-for storage in data warehouses. By 2003, the market for very large warehouses (more than two terabytes) will have grown six-fold, from $1 billion to $6 billion. IBM continues to heavily promote the AS/400 as a business intelligence/data warehouse platform. The new 740 processor, capable of storing up to 128TB of data in a clustered environment, is being touted as a business intelligence solution. The new two-way AS/400e server 170 is targeted at smaller businesses.

Database management systems will continue to be the leading technology in terms of packaged applications targeted at business intelligence, the survey reveals. Sales in this market are expected to grow from $0.8 billion in 1998 to $4 billion by 2003. IBM is targeting this sector with DB2 Universal Database for AS/400--released this year--that supports the storing, managing and indexing of binary objects such as spreadsheets, word processing documents and multimedia objects.

The most popular schema--encompassing 37 percent of the market--utilizes a large central data warehouse that feeds several smaller data warehouses or marts, Survey.com finds. Another 30 percent of the market will consist of distributed business intelligence/data warehouse systems, comprised of physically separate systems.

Growth in the Business Intelligence/Data Warehousing Market--By Platform
(In billions of dollars)
Platform19982003
Unix$1.5$5.9
Windows NT$0.4$4.3
OS/400$0.3$1.4
OS/390, MVS$0.5$1.0
Other$0.1$0.4
Source: Survey.com
A recent study by ShowCase Corp. (Rochester, Minn.) confirms a strong demand over the coming year for Web-based business intelligence solutions among AS/400 sites. ShowCase found that 93 percent of its customers intend to expand their use of business intelligence next year and that 79 percent plan to implement Web-based business intelligence solutions to deliver critical information throughout the enterprise and beyond. Much of this growth will be driven by e-business requirements related to customer relationship, supply chain, and financial data management, says Ken Holec, CEO and president of ShowCase.

More than 8,000 customers bought new AS/400 servers for data warehouses and data mining applications in 1998, according to Ben Barnes, general manager for IBM's global intelligence solutions. In September, IBM kicked off a "Fast Start" program to deliver complete BI solutions to small and medium businesses running AS/400s, RS/6000s, or Netfinity servers, for a price starting at $60,000. In addition, IBM recently launched an AS/400 Business Intelligence Smart Start program, targeted at application providers in this space.