Saturday, August 14, 2010

Meaningful test data for SSIS , SSRS and SSAS prototype : Acquisitions by IT giants

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Often during the designing of a case study one needs meaningful data that starts right from the source, and holds meaning till the end purpose of dashboarding or trend analysis or even data mining. More the data is real, more it is presentable for demo purposes or for developing a prototype. Also the advantage is that this data does not need to be manipulated or re-defined at different phases as the data is quite meaningful right at it's evolution. One such source of data in my viewpoint is data of acquisitions by IT Giants.

If you analyze the data even yourself without using any tools, you would find many interesting points out of it. Some of the biggest IT giants are Microsoft, Google, Oracle and IBM, in general as well as from acquisition point of view. In fact this is the biggest integration exercise that provides the raw material for the manufacturing of new products.

1) Acquisitions by Microsoft : Some of the famous acquisitions include Fox Software, Hotmail, Visio Corporation, Vexcel, Proclarity, FAST Search & Transfer, DATAllegro and others. In fact in one of the recent meetings, I heard a manager trying to sell the idea of evaluating DATAllegro. Poor thing was not knowing that it's already dissolved and Parallel Data Warehouse is the new tree on it's grave.

2) Acquisitions by Google : It might come to one's surprise that many applications offered by google are direct result of acquisitions. Few of the famous ones are Picasa, Android, YouTube, FeedBurner, KeyHole Inc (founder of KML which is used in Google webservices) and others.

3) Acquisitions by Oracle : One of the biggest acquisitions by Oracle is Sun Microsystems. Sun itself was a big player in this field, few famous acquisitions include Cobalt Networks, My SQL and others. Oracle's famous acquisitions include Indian IT based banking solutions provider I-Flex, Siebel systems, Hyperion Corporation and others.

4) Acquisitions by IBM : Some of the famous acquisitions include Informix Corporation, Rational Software Corporation, Tivoli Systems, Lotus Development Corporation, Cognos and others.

If you take example of IBM, and study the acquisitions made by IBM in the past 2 years, you would find that IBM has made major of acquisitions of Data / Database services and Business Intelligence related companies, including one Cloud computing company. If you map the timings of these acquisitions with the product release timings right from history, a well tuned data mining algorithm might be able to give a hint of the time of next product release. Also this makes me wonder whether IBM DB2 is going to give birth to a new version or Tivoli needs some accessories or this is a desperate move to plunge into self-service business intelligence based on cloud computing. Keep in view that you can employ all the components of MS BI stack (right from SQL Tables till Data Mining algorithms) using this data and dig out interesting and intelligent trends out of it. And if you really do, I feel that this can be one of the best datasets to use for demonstration purposes in a prototype. Also the data is public so there are no issues of data compliance.

Some of interesting consequences of acquisitions on people like you and me can be as below.

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