May 2008

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Trends and Applications

Database sizes have grown exponentially, with more than half of all databases in use globally projected to exceed 10TB by 2010, according to The Data Warehouse Institute. But as the size of data warehouses has exploded and business requirements have forced companies to conduct more ad hoc queries on those warehouses, response times have slowed, requiring increasingly expensive database hardware investments.

Historically, database auditing and database performance have been like oil and water; they don't mix. So auditing is often eliminated, because performance drag on critical systems is unacceptable.

Data and its analysis has become an important economic battleground for many industries, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the financial industry. Regulation is mandating greater data transparency across firms and trading practices. The increase in automated trading and the continuing search for new trading opportunities has led to exponential increases in the amount of data that must be captured, cleaned, managed and analyzed within a financial institution. To give you some idea of the size of the problem, the Options Pricing Reporting Authority (OPRA) in the U.S. is anticipating trade volumes at peak levels of around one million messages per second by mid-2008. Real-time data processing and the ability to store it for historic analysis have become particular pressure points for many investment banks, asset managers and hedge funds.

In an effort to consolidate data across six separate business divisions, MassHousing, a leading provider of affordable housing for individuals and major developments across the state of Massachusetts, deployed business intelligence (BI) to consolidate large quantities of disparate data in a fast and efficient way. In tandem with its executive information system (EIS), MassHousing established a business intelligence competency center (BICC), to ensure consistent deployment across the organization and efficiency of all BI systems. MassHousing is one best practice organization that is taking its business intelligence initiative a step further with a BICC to help enable true business optimization.