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Off the CRM wires, 9/8/03

Information Builders adds an ETL tool; SAS finds more danger in dirty data; hosted CRM catches on; Sanctum brings peace of mind to PeopleSoft shops.

Information Builders announces ETL Manager and integration capabilities

Monday business intelligence (BI) vendor Information Builders Inc., New York, added an ETL Manager and new integration capabilities to its suite.

In part an answer to consolidation within the BI industry, the new features help to provide a more comprehensive platform, officials said. With the new software, Information Builders said it is answering the growing demand for the convergence of extraction, transfer and loading (ETL), application integration and BI, according to company officials.

ETL Manger simplifies the creation, maintenance and expansion of data warehouses, data marts and operational data stores. It works out of the box and also simplifies access and migration of enterprise data, officials said. ETL Manager will also work with other applications.

"Vendors like Business Objects and Cognos acquired technology to provide this offering and made it proprietary," Gerald Cohen, CEO of Information Builders, said in a release. "Information Builders developed an ETL solution that works in conjunction with our WebFocus suite, but also works with other vendor's technology, giving organizations more liberty with their IT investments."

SAS cites dirty data as a risk management obstacle

In a release of its own, Information Builders competitor SAS Institute Inc. announced Monday the results of a new study that says incomplete, inaccurate or obsolete data is the primary reason financial institutions are losing up to $120 million a year through operational risk.

The Cary, N.C., BI vendor interviewed 400 risk managers at 300 financial institutions with the help of Risk Waters Group. In what could certainly be termed good news for a data quality software specialist, 28% of respondents said that the difficulty in collecting the volume of data to accurately manage operational risk represents the major obstacle to preventing losses. Additionally, another 33% view poor data quality as the major stumbling block.

"Quality of data has been a major issue for businesses for many years, and this survey shows that the problem by no means has gone away," Peyman Mestchian, head of risk at SAS U.K., said in a release. "The focus on operational risk management has increased with regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and Basel II, but once again, companies are coming up against the problem of finding and interpreting the data that they need."

Nearly half of companies surveyed have implemented a database and 45% have implemented an assessment tool, yet more than 90% of respondents say they have not invested in a modeling or analysis tool, according to the report.

The study suggests that a perception of a lack of functionality in existing software plus fears about the cost of modeling were obstacles to implementation. Of the companies surveyed, 68% had built at least one operational risk system in house for cost-effectiveness reasons.

"In-house systems have done a reasonable job until now, but only a minority of those software systems are both scalable and flexible enough to cope with what is now being asked of them," Mestchian said in a statement.

Popularity of hosted CRM applications grows

A new report issued by the Boston-based Aberdeen Group has some positive news for hosted CRM providers.

According to the report, entitled Hosted CRM Popularity Continues to Grow, 35% of respondents said they are already using hosted applications. Another 85% said they would consider hosted providers when shopping for CRM systems.

"Application hosting in the CRM market is clearly showing signs of robust growth," Denis Pombriant, Aberdeen vice president and research director and author of the report, said in a release. "Our data also suggests that companies are looking beyond the current slowdown to a period of more vigorous growth and that application hosting is an important component to such growth strategies."

The report is based on a survey of more than 150 subscribers to RealMarket, a CRM portal site.

The report also finds that the current sluggish economy and changing complexion of the CRM marketplace will force vendors to provide cheaper, faster and better CRM to potential buyers who remain skeptical of CRM's ability to deliver value.

Sanctum introduces security pack for PeopleSoft users

Users of PeopleSoft Human Resources Management Solutions (HRMS) can sleep more comfortably now, according to Sanctum Inc.

The Santa Clara, Calif., security vendor, a member of the PeopleSoft Partner Connect Program, released Monday the Appshield PeopleSoft Pack.

The application reduces deployment time through its firewall for Web-based applications, the company said in a release, cutting installation from the "months it normally takes to protect information and enforce compliance to just days."

The Appshield PeopleSoft Pack helps users mitigate the risk associated with the integration and customization of Internet-based applications, Sanctum said. It allows users to reach a broad network of customers, partners and employees while maintaining protection of sensitive data, the company added.

Send your news to Barney Beal, news writer

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