In a world where differentiation from the competition is increasingly difficult, decision support player Microstrategy Inc has launched what it claims is the first unique product in its marketplace, DSS Administrator. The Vienna, Virginia company says the new product completes its ROLAP relational on-line analytical processing architecture, to provide a complete suite of decision support products for analysing corporate data in relational databases or data warehouses, both internally, across corporate intranets and over the Web. DSS Administrator enables companies to administer and manage very large databases being queried by a very large number of users. It gives companies the ability to hold all data in one database, but have it accessed in many different ways by completely different sets of users. The main selling point of DSS Administrator is that it will enable companies to exploit the data in their database not just internally, to gain competitive edge, but actually externally on a commercial basis. A Warehouse monitor module provides analysis of who is running which queries, on which part of the database. It gives performance statistics, user profiles and statistics on the utilization of the system, to enable the system to be fine- tuned for optimum performance. Microstrategy UK manager Stuart Holness said high system availability is essential to companies wishing to sell decision support services over the Web on a worldwide basis. DSS administrator enables the warehouse to be tuned for optimum availability. It also enables the management of very large groups of users by allocating user groups, so that reports can be created and shared across groups. The software gives system managers the ability to set up ‘virtual data marts’ on one main data warehouse, to enable different sets of users both within the company and across the Web to access different sets of data in different ways. With the usage statistics provided by the monitor, companies can work out ways of charging customers for use of their data. Holness says businesses are starting to turn data warehouses on their head, by making them a profit center rather than simply an overhead. He cites the example of a major telecommunications company that collects call data, which it can then sell to its major customers to help them analyze their own business who they are calling, who is calling them, how much time is spent on which customers. Another example would be a credit card company, which, with the data it holds about who is buying what and when, would be able to help a manufacturer manage production, distribution and stock control. Holness says it is not only very large corporates with very large databases that will benefit from the product. He says the key is how many queries will be run on the database, how complex those queries are, and whether there is a need to charge usage back either internally to corporate departments, or externally to customers. DSS Administrator is available now in the US, and will be available throughout Europe next month. It costs $10,000.
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