Overall, IBM's BI portfolio monitors three areas of an enterprise, says Scott Hebner, VP of marketing and strategy for IBM Tivoli software. First is at the business process layer, where IBM’s WebSphere Operational Decision Management helps an enterprise define business rules and how a process operates. In addition, when rules or processes are changed, the software gives the business a better sense of what's going to happen, therefore enabling better decision-making.
The second BI and analytics focus is at the IT infrastructure layer, where the software monitors the performance of servers, storage and networking and, based on past performance, can predict where problems might occur, Hebner says. "There is a degree of predictive analytics where it actually learns from previous history how it should operate and what has gone wrong in the past ... and actually take preemptive action,” he says.
The third layer addresses connectivity and integration issues by aggregating an organization’s disparate data sources and applications in order for end users to access and integrate data regardless of platform, device or data format, Hebner says. IBM is now offering enhanced versions of WebSphere Message Broker and WebSphere MQ for message queuing.
"WebSphere MQ allows application A to exchange a message with application B and to understand each other," he explains. "WebSphere MQ allows the messages to be passed. Message Broker allows you to infuse intelligence on what those messages really mean." The message intelligence is unique to the industry vertical, he adds. For example, messages within an electricity grid would different from those on a bank's or a retailer’s network.