IBI: Building an information integration

Information Builders has rebranded as ibi and its CEO says the business is ready for the growth in automation.

"When you plan to automate parts of the business processes, having gaps in your data impedes your ability to automate," says Frank Vella, CEO of ibi, the new name for Information Builders. Vella explains that the new brand, and an increased focus on open data and information integration, for the 45-year-old data management technology vendor, reflects its expanding role in the enterprise. Automation, open data and integration are set to be key initiatives for CIOs, as optimising the use of data is seen as a way to increase efficiency and profitability. 

In the last week of June, Vella presented the first annual summit for Information Builders under its new guise, and the first time the event had to take place virtually, as the Coronavirus pandemic has put an end to physical technology events programmes, at least for the time being. 

As ever, these events, whether physical or virtual, are an opportunity for technology service providers to set out their stall and mission statement for the foreseeable future. Of greater importance than the new name was the commitment by ibi to its new Open Data platform, which brings together the full set of ibi tools into one web application. Organisations using the ibi Open Data platform will have the data access, discovery, management, preparation and analytics housed in one place. 

Alongside the new platform, ibi also announced Open Visualization, an integration tool that enables organisations to continue using the visualisation tools they have invested in, and more importantly front line staff like to use, but ensure that the data is connected up, and that the organisation can see the data sources that the various visualisation tools are using to create business reports. 

"In BI and analytics no one has one investment, you go into a financial services institution and they have 40 to 50 investments," CEO Vella says. "Not all of them will be in place forever, but they are all there because some business process is reliant on it." 

"Our Open Visualization allows you to use what you already have, while using ibi to connect to hundreds of other data sources", adds Keith Kohl, ibi SVP Product Management. Vella says health and financial services are the two sectors he sees the most demand for open data services coming from, as there is an imperative to get new products to market more rapidly.

"Saying I have APIs that connect to the data means nothing. Everybody has that," Vella says, adding that organisations are struggling to connect the data that can come together to improve the outcome for the customer. Focusing on open data is likely to increase the integration role of ibi, something the CEO says the business has "always been known for". Vella says he wants to help organisations use the tools they have already invested in, and make sure these are connected to the data engines of the business. "Asking people to move off a visualisation investment to get a better reporting engine is futile.

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