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November 4, 1997updated 01 Sep 2016 6:10pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Speedware Corp Inc’s promising to turn some of the hype of hybrid OLAP into reality next week when it introduces a long-anticipated version of its multidimensional online analytical processing (MOLAP) tool fitted with the ability to simultaneously access and analyze relational data (ROLAP) and deliver both to front-end applications. Until recently OLAP tools, essentially modern executive information systems for forecasting and testing business models, performed specific types of data analysis and made the results available via integrated or third party query and reporting tools. The need for multifunction analysis tools is being driven by the centralization of IT resources and consolidation of data sources within organizations and OLAP vendors are adding acronyms to their marketing literature as quickly as they can be invented. Speedware says companies are demanding multipurpose tools which can operate at varying degrees of complexity on multiple data stores but present data in a single consistent form to users, from management executives down. The Toronto, Canada-based says company its new Media/MR product enables users to transparently access detailed information from data warehouses and from multiple levels of frequently accessed ‘aggregated’ relational data stored in the Media multi- dimensional database without recourse to using SQL statements. Speedware has effectively added a relational cache to its multidimensional database, which stores the results of all queries made against the relational database, enabling the data to be accessed by all subsequent users. Media/MR generates server-based SQL queries on the fly using data stored in relational database tables which is transformed and poured into the multidimensional cube. Speedware says Media/MR doesn’t need to restructure data for the cube each time a different analysis is performed, like users of Oracle Corp’s Express OLAP database must do. Media/MR can work against any ODBC database and any database schema without requiring changes to the data and also supports Red Brick Systems Inc’s native SQL functions. Existing MOLAP tools tend to provide fast response times while ROLAP tools can operate against much larger data sets. Speedware says Seagate Software’s market-leading Holos HOLAP tool provides high-speed access to large data stores but has a very complex development environment. On the other hand Canadian rival Cognos Software Inc is trying to push its client-side PowerPlay OLAP tools down on to the server and offers an easy-to-use interface but scales badly, Speedware says. The same, it says, is true of IBM Corp’s DB2 OLAP Server which features the Arbor Software OLAP engine. MOLAP company Microstrategy is focused on much larger data sets and is positioned at a much higher price point says Speedware, which will sell Media/MR at from $2,000 per user on the client side, plus $23,400 for a 20-user server licence and $5,000 per developer license. It’s up on NT and Unix servers.

New business server

Speedware expects there to be significant consolidation in the query and reporting and online analytical processing world as vendors begin to converge discrete products towards the HOLAP space. It’s still waiting for traditional EIS vendors such as Pilot Software to show their HOLAP colors. Speedware is currently integrating Media/MR more closely with the Esperant SQL access and reporting software it acquired from Software AG for $3m at the end of 1996. Speedware’s various Media-based products plus Esperant account for some 44% of revenue currently; it expects that figure to rise to 60% and hopes to push the average selling price above the current $150,000 mark. It’s targeting Media/MR specifically at telco, healthcare and insurance companies and has written pre-packaged application templates for each. 80% of sales of existing Media products are direct, it wants to increase channel sales to 40%. It claims it has a couple of large reseller agreements in the pipe; Software AG and Ross Systems currently package its products. It’s also seeking to expand its overseas market; 75% sales are in North America and it wants that figure reduced to 60% in two years. The company’s next development project is to integrate Esperant with Media in a new business server which can accommodate ad hoc query and HOLAP tools. It’s also adding a web front-end to Esperant. Speedware’s other products include web-based and client/server application development tools. The company says it was disappointed with its performance in the last couple of quarters, having expected stronger growth across all product lines, and is looking for Media/MR to start bringing home the bacon quickly. It’s out at a handful of beta sites now. Pacific Bell has apparently been able to roll out half a dozen production applications using Media/MR before completing a single Microstrategy application build. Speedware recorded third quarter net losses equivalent to $1.4m against losses of $1,000 last time, on revenue which rose 3.1% to $4.8m. Nine-month net loss was $2m against losses of $852,000 at the same time last year, on revenue up 22.3% at $15.8m (CI No 3,222). (Figures have been converted at the rate of $0.7204 to the Canadian dollar). Speedware shares declined from $4.70 at the beginning of this year and are now trading around $1.60.

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