Monthly Archives: April 2008

Data Mining Prescribed To Ensure Drug Safety

From Info Week -

This week, WellPoint — one the nation’s largest health insurers — revealed it’s investing millions of dollars in a three-year project to build such a drug surveillance system in collaboration with the FDA and several academic institutions, including Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of North Carolina. The Safety Sentinel System will mine and analyze aggregate claims, lab, and pharmaceutical data from WellPoint’s 35 million members, who generate 1.4 billion “claim lines” of data each year, said Marcus Wilson, president of HealthCore, WellPoint’s medical outcomes research subsidiary, which WellPoint acquired in 2003 and is overseeing the new project.

The BI Boom – Part 1

CRM Buyer is running a series on the BI Boom. Obviously I’m looking for to read the series. Here’s more -

“In the face of a recession, BI could be a tool to improve efficiencies in a tough climate by analyzing and measuring operations,” Dan Sommer, Gartner senior research analyst for software markets, told CRM Buyer. “However, we have adjusted previous forecasted North American BI growth in 2008 because especially the financial sector will cut spending on IT for the coming one to two years. Worldwide, growth is forecasted at 11 percent for 2008.”

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More specifically, Sommer and Gartner analysts see up-and-coming vendors making headway in five important areas of BI IT: in-memory data management technology, interactive visualization, alternative delivery models, bringing together traditionally structured BI and unstructured search methods and tools, and optimizing data warehouses and databases.

Informatica Reports Record First Quarter Results

Revenues for the first quarter of 2008 were $103.7 million, up 19 percent from the $87.1 million recorded in the first quarter of 2007. License revenues for the first quarter were $44.2 million, up 18 percent from the $37.6 million recorded in the first quarter of 2007. Net income for the first quarter, calculated in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), was $11.2 million or $0.12 per diluted share, up more than 20 percent from net income of $9.1 million or $0.10 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2007.

Significant milestones achieved since January 2008 include:

Announced definitive agreement to acquire Identity Systems

Signed repeat business with 178 customers.

Added 38 new customers.

Launched the Informatica Data Migration Suite.

Wipro Technologies Selected Informatica for Data Migration Service.

Launched the INFORM Partner Network.

From the Press Release.

MS in Verticals – Buys Predictive Analytics company, Farecast

Seattle Pi’s Venture Blog has the full story from the start to the end.

Farecast was started by University of Washington computer scientist Oren Etzioni, initially bankrolled by Madrona, built with people from local companies such as Alaska Airlines and AdRelevance and, ultimately, acquired by Microsoft.

Though Farecast had multiple bidders, McIlwain said Microsoft was a good fit since the two companies had worked together in the past and had a similar vision for online search. The proximity of the two companies also played a part, he said.

The acquisition follows the merger of Kayak.com and SideStep, the market leader in next generation travel search. That deal led to new opportunities for Farecast, including discussions with Microsoft which heated up in the past 90 days.

“That consolidation presented opportunities for Farecast … partly differentiated because of their predictive capabilities but also because of who they might have been able to align with in the industry to be a strong and differentiated number two, hoping some day to overtake and become number one,” he said.

Madrona has produced a number of hits recently, with the sales of ShareBuilder, World Wide Packets and iConclude.

Also a quick analysis from Motel Fool on this buy -

Microsoft needs more deals like this one, especially if the Microhoo deal comes undone, and the software giant has the means to go shopping. I’ve suggested that Microsoft pursue potential buyout candidates like The Knot (Nasdaq: KNOT) and Bankrate (Nasdaq: RATE) for the same reason that Farecast works. Whether it’s wedding planning, home refinancing, or booking that flight to visit your parents in Chicago, this is the quality traffic that Microsoft and Yahoo! lack right now.

Microsoft & Unisys make an ETL World Record

Microsoft & Unisys ETL Architecture

Today at the launch of SQL Server 2008, you may have seen the references to world-record performance doing a load of data using SSIS. Microsoft and Unisys announced a record for loading data into a relational database using an Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) tool. Over 1 TB of TPC-H data was loaded in under 30 minutes.

Way to go, MS. For more background on this, head over to Microsoft Blog.

MindTree’s Enhancements to its RUBIC BI Framework

Mind Tree, one of India’s leading Consulting firms is making enhancements to its RUBIC[Re- Usable Business Intelligence Components] solution frame work. More about it t B-Eye-Network -
MindTree’s RUBIC framework is a set of components that provide BI implementations with structured approaches to manage various design aspects, increase the quality of the solution and substantially save time to market.

RUBIC fixes two specific pain points in a typical BI &DW engagement 1) high data integration effort – by providing reuse of code in the data integration layer and 2) business solution value enhancement ­ providing a platform for ensuring business need coverage.

iPartners SaaS Business Intelligence System

More on the Software as a Service BI system for Insurance companies at Insurance News Net -

Key to the benefits is the ready availability of both summary information and the details of specific activities. “Using reports from the iPartners Insurance Scorecard, our marketing executives can sit down with our brokers and show them, for example, the specifics of why we are declining business. This helps brokers identify prospects and policies that are acceptable,” says Hernandez. “It reduces our cost of doing business, and it increases our potential for competitive quotes on business that does fit.”

Majestic’s marketing executives and its brokers both have 24/7 access to information generated by the Scorecard. “When they make agency calls, our marketing executives can have substantial discussions rather than dealing in generalities. They can speak to successes as well as to areas where improvement is needed,” Hernandez says.

Stanford students working on Netflix Algorithms

Anand Rajaraman, the co-founder of Kosmix also teaches Data Mining at Stanford. Here’s an interesting note from his blog.

Some of his students are working to crack algorithms for the on-going Netflix “Better Recommendation Logic” Prize of $1 million. Read it !!

Here’s how the competition works. Netflix has provided a large data set that tells you how nearly half a million people have rated about 18,000 movies. Based on these ratings, you are asked to predict the ratings of these users for movies in the set that they have not rated. The first team to beat the accuracy of Netflix’s proprietary algorithm by a certain margin wins a prize of $1 million!

Different student teams in my class adopted different approaches to the problem, using both published algorithms and novel ideas. Of these, the results from two of the teams illustrate a broader point. Team A came up with a very sophisticated algorithm using the Netflix data. Team B used a very simple algorithm, but they added in additional data beyond the Netflix set: information about movie genres from the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). Guess which team did better?

XFormity Technologies Deploys Business Intelligence Solution

From Fox Business -

XFormity’s Business Intelligence solution is geared for delivering real-time, or near real-time, exception-based management and analysis of key performance indicators. If you have a need for better visibility across your organization into sales, cash, speed of service, sales/product mix, late night performance and labor you should consider XFormity. The result of using the XFormity solution is that your decision making process will be faster, simpler and much more timely because the data from your entire organization is integrated into one location for easy efficient access.

“We are very excited to begin using the XFormity solution,” says Chuck James, President and CEO of C.H. James Restaurant Holdings, LLC. “XFormity’s tools help bring visibility to information that was previously either too cumbersome to collect or not available for use as a viable management tool,” adds Mr. James.

Larry Manno on Enterprise BI Strategy

A video interview with Bearing Point’s director Larry Manno on Intelligent Enterprise Business Intelligence Strategy, from PodTech.

Join BearingPoint director Larry Manno to explore enterprise business intelligence (BI) strategies and the opportunities it presents to an organization. Many organizations recognize the opportunity to capture performance benefits through the use of BI tools. Increasingly, they are turning to BI as the means to transform their raw data into actionable information for competitive advantage. However, every organization faces unique challenges in defining their BI vision and executing on it. Even within information-intensive industries such as financial services, there is much opportunity for improvement.