IBM Preps Serrano Update To Information Integrator

Information Integrator

Nelson Mattos, vice president of Information Integration for IBM Software, said the Serrano update will focus on automating the tracking of relationships between data residing in different applications and repositories, as well as facilitate what he called an "actionable search." For example, if users seek information relevant to some kind of compliance or business process, they will be able to modify or annotate the document from the search, he said.

"In a hospital after the doctor sees test results, he can annotate the documents and store them back to the system," Mattos said.

The basis of Information Integrator's search capability remains IBM's Omnifind technology, but the Serrano update will add records management technology that IBM obtained with its acquisition of Tarian, according to Mattos. IBM also is opening its Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) so ISVs and solution providers can plug their own vertical and specialized taxonomies into Information Integrator, he said.

The code is in alpha test at a handful of customer sites, and the beta is expected later this year. IBM Software executives will discuss the upcoming Serrano release next week at IBM PartnerWorld in Las Vegas, Mattos said. This iteration of Information Integrator won't incorporate "identity resolution" technology acquired earlier this year from SRD, but future versions will, he added.

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Any middleware that helps customers access useful information is a bonus, according to solution providers. "Automated relationship mapping of data would be hugely useful. It's a challenge now for customers trying to put together data warehousing," said Pat Hayes, data warehousing practice lead at IndigeTech, Richmond, Va. "Even virtual, centralized repositories of data are a massive undertaking, so tools that would make that easier would be great."

Bringing together all the relevant data--from CRM and ERP systems, databases and text files--is "to some degree, black magic," Hayes said. Solution providers will still need to review the quality of unstructured data before integrating it with structured data, he noted.

Cognos, a large ISV partner, also is enthusiastic about the Serrano release. "The addition of records management is a natural extension for Information integrator and takes them more into an unstructured world," said Rupert Bonham-Carter, director of global strategic alliances at Ottawa-based Cognos. "Since Cognos' strength lies mostly in reporting from structured data, IBM opens up a fast amount of other data to us."

IBM last month rebranded Information Integrator, moving it from the DB2 to the WebSphere nomenclature. In its 18-month existence, Information Integrator has won 1,700 customers, 40 percent of which weren't existing DB2 accounts, Mattos said.