The latest wave of acquisitions should eliminate any doubt that the leading IT vendors are fixated on Business Intelligence (BI).  Oracle struck first by announcing that Golden Gate Software was now part of its growing collection of data management software vendors.  IBM pulled an even bigger fish flopping into the boat by spending over a billion dollars to buy SPSS, a leader in data mining (a.k.a. predictive analytics). 

It is hardly news anymore when either Oracle or IBM buys another software company.  The two of them have been buying up everything in sight since Oracle started the race by taking over PeopleSoft.  The question here is whether any of this matters to JD Edwards customers.  The simple answer is that both moves are far more important to our community than they appear to be on the surface. 

Most of you probably never heard of Golden Gate Software before this posting.  I personally had no idea who they were when the announcement hit the wire (the people in my BI practice knew them well, however).  Golden Gate’s specialty is real-time data integration meaning it knows how keep multiple databases tightly synchronized over time.  This capability fills a major void in the Oracle product line.  It is especially valuable when the database being synchronized is a data warehouse.  The alternatives all put a heavy performance burden on the source servers and force users to make due with out of date information. 

My company has been heavily promoting the concept of real-time updating of data warehouses for ten years.  By acquiring Golden Gate Oracle is adding its endorsement to this point of view.  As usual, the acquisition will take months to become official.  After that it will take a while for the new technology to be absorbed into Oracle offerings so do not expect products with real-time capability to be available until 2011.  It continues to be our belief that BI has to be real-time to be truly useful and it is great to have Oracle support that point of view. 

The impact of the IBM SPSS acquisition will be real but perhaps slower to impact most of you.  Data mining is really cool, but it remains a technology that has not yet become mainstream.  Having the full weight of IBM’s sales engine behind it will likely speed up adoption of this valuable capability.