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IBM Accelerates Searches of Business Information With New Software

First-of-Its-Kind DB2 Software Retrieves Critical Business Data With Sub-Second Response Times

SOMERS, NY - 30 Sep 2004: IBM today announced the general availability of the industry's first software that enables customers to access critical business information with sub-second response times while scaling to millions of documents. As a result, businesses can gain real-time insight on their business information to make more effective decisions and be more competitive in the marketplace.

The introduction of the new DB2 Information Integrator software, code-named Masala, redefines business intelligence by providing insight into business information anywhere, in any format, as if it's stored in one place. It enables customers to search through different data sources scattered across IBM and non-IBM information sources on the fly -- such as customer service records, photos, emails, tables of numbers and other forms of information -- and gain immediate insight into that information.

Additionally, the software can synchronize information across different data sources in real-time and can replicate more than 15,000 stock transactions per second. This allows an online trading firm to synchronize data across different locations to keep applications, like customer portals, available 24 hours a day.

Businesses are increasingly struggling to find ways to more easily access and gain real-time insight on their business information to transform their business operations. They face three main barriers: the sheer volume of information; the diversity of the types of information and the fact that information is stored in multiple data stores from a variety of vendors; and the requirements for real-time access to information. Gaining access and insight into this information is a tremendous challenge -- in fact, today 40 percent of an organization's annual IT budget addresses integration, analysts say.

DB2 Information Integrator is the only software that can address all these customer pain points by providing businesses with a single view of their information assets, without moving information out of position or requiring customers to rip and replace the information sources that they already have in place.

For example, employees can instantly view diverse content sources to compile a 360 degree customer profile -- purchase records, email, Web-based catalogs and faxed contracts -- in less than a second, a process that could take hours or even days when done manually.

As a result, organizations like Taikang Life, one of China's leading insurance companies, have used DB2 Information Integrator to create a complete view of customer information combining information from their group policies, personal policies, and financials databases. As a result, the company reduced the people-hours it takes to compile reports by as much as 90 percent and executives can also receive an up-to-the-minute view of the firm's business performance on their cell phones.

Immediate Access to Relevant Business Information
According to industry analysts, enterprise employees can lose more than three hours a day on futile information hunts that turn up possible 'hits' instead of delivering the right information to help employees do their jobs. DB2 Information Integrator uses unique indexing and retrieval technology that, with a single keyword or phrase, can flag relevant business information across intranets, extranets, corporate public Web sites, relational databases and content management repositories.

The software differs from current Internet-based search engines that focus on HTML content. Also, unlike Web searches, business content sources require techniques to determine the best relevancy since documents are not generally interlinked. Plus, ensuring the security of the information, and for that matter, just accessing it is far more challenging. DB2 Information Integrator uses unique "relevancy algorithms" developed by IBM Research that deliver highly relevant results from corporate content. Only simple administration is required, because analysis features are under-the-covers so administrators need not speed a lot of time tuning the system to get high quality results.

For example, IBM deployed an early version of this search technology on its own intranet, which is one of the largest corporate intranets in the world. The site serves more than 300,000 employees worldwide with more than 10,000 separate Web sites. DB2 Information Integrator immediately handled as many as 80,000 queries a day, delivering sub-second search results over seven million unique pages across IBM's intranet.

Additionally, for analytical tasks, DB2 Information Integrator can also cross-reference historical sales records in data warehouses with real-time sales information or unstructured content such as vendor contracts. Users can build a complete picture of product performance data, by supplier, that can be viewed on a "data dashboard" or corporate portal. That means a manufacturing manager can evaluate supplier results to negotiate better discounts.

Autonomic Computing Features
The software also allows administrators to reduce administration costs by delivering breakthrough features that enable the software to automatically optimize, monitor and even alert administrators to changes in their systems such as configuration changes or server outages. Now administrators can focus more on strategic tasks and less on time-consuming administrative requirements.

Configuration can be handled in a matter of minutes -- not hours -- as administrators are guided through data discovery, initial configuration and more sophisticated data caching to speed query processing. DBAs are automatically notified about changes in their back-end data sources, such as server outages and upgrades. DBAs can respond quickly to optimize the system, preventing changes from impacting system performance.

IBM DB2 Information Integrator is available immediately from IBM and authorized resellers, with prices starting at $5,000 per processor and $15,000 per data source connector. For further information, go to http://www-306.ibm.com/software/data/integration/

Contact(s) information

Laurie Friedman
IBM Media Relations
(914) 766-1299
laurie1@us.ibm.com

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