Informix Plows Ahead with Database-Independent Subsidiary

Afterannouncing its first product release in October, Informix Business Solutions --one of two subsidiaries recently developed by Informix Corp. -- announced itsnext move: an e-Intelligence Framework.

InformixBusiness Solutions -- which is expected to be renamed by the end of the year --is Informix Corp.’s solution to focusing on database independent applications.The company’s other subsidiary, Informix Software, was developed to focus onapplications specifically for Informix database management systems anddatabases. According to the parent, the plan is to eventually develop thesubsidiaries into independent publicly traded companies.

The releaseof the e-Intelligence Framework is expected to make Informix Business Solutionsmore versatile -- offering platform and database independent software, as wellas e-business solutions. The e-Intelligence Framework exploits the volume andspeed at which information is distributed on the Internet and on wirelessdevices, thereby increasing users’ “return on information.”

Theframework is made up of an e-business portal, Web analytic packages, and a dataand metadata integration infrastructure. The products include, Axiellee-Intelligent Portal services, DataStage XE, i.Decide Web Success, and i.DecideTelco Wireless Success. These products support profiling and segmentation ofcustomer information, improve data capture and analysis capabilities, andextend the reach of business intelligence information to customers, employees,and partners.

Someanalysts wonder why Informix has decided to move so quickly with its newsubsidiaries, but others view this fast action as a way for Informix to stressthat it is not focusing on offering applications for its own databases. “Thismove strongly reinforces Informix’s strategy to structure itself as twoindependent operating companies while continuing to stress the databaseindependence of the Informix Business Solutions unit,” says Mike Schiff,director of data warehousing strategies at Current Analysis.

WhileInformix’s swiftness may be surprising, this type of action is not uncommon inthe data warehousing industry. “Informix’s move is indicative of a new trend inthe data warehouse industry, whereby a company splits into multiple independentunits in order to better focus its marketing and development efforts,” Schiffsays.

The result,however, was slightly unorthodox. Informix Business Solutions, although smallerthan the Informix Database unit, has an unexpectedly large number of employees.Currently it has about 450 sales employees, 300 developers, and about 250service staff members. Analysts expect revenue for the fiscal year 2000 togross over $125 million.

This largebacking is part of the reason why Schiff thinks Informix Business Solutions issomewhat different than other recent trends in the data warehouse market.

“Thesplitting of Informix into two independent companies runs contrary to the moreprevalent trend of data warehouse consolidations that we have normallywitnessed,” Schiff says. “While we are usually positive when two vendors withcomplementary technologies unite to leverage one another’s competencies, thebreaking up of Informix into two independent entities could very well representan example where the individual parts will prove to be of greater value than acombined whole.”

Pull Quote:“Informix’s move is indicative of a new trend in the data warehouse industrywhereby a company splits into multiple independent units in order to betterfocus its marketing and development efforts.” --Mike Schiff, director of datawarehousing strategies, Current Analysis.

Index:
Informix Corp., Westborough, Mass., www.informix.com

CurrentAnalysis Inc., Sterling,Va., www.currentanalysis.com