Thursday, October 11, 2012

IBI Versus IBM WebFOCUS

Quite frequently, people come to my blog searching for information on IBM's WebFOCUS.

OK, there is some confusion here. ...let's do a backstory...

For much of its history, Information Builders Inc. was known as IBI. A sales rep from Information Builders joked once to me that if he went into a big company and told the receptionist he was from IBI, that person would typically call the executive and say, "IBM is here to see you."

For awhile, IBI was probably okay with being confused with IBM.

Today, they are known as Information Builders. The old IBI moniker is, well, old.

Many of my blog readers seem to be confused as to who owns WebFOCUS. Information Builders does, but just to add a quirk to this, IBM does resell WebFOCUS on their mid-range box under a different name: "DB2 Web Query."

In addition to the similar acronyms, another source of confusion could be Information Builders' heritage as a Big Blue mainframe software vendor. IBM provided the hardware, operating system, and databases and IBI provided the software on top of that.

That partnership worked for decades, but IBM changed the game when they acquired Cognos and became Information Builders' direct BI software competitor. IBM put it again to Information Builders when they bought SPSS, at the time the statistical software partner for WebFOCUS (forcing IBI to switch to the open-source R product).

Despite all of this, there must still be some type of "coopetition" between the two software vendors.

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About Me

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I am a project-based software consultant, specializing in automating transitions from legacy reporting applications into modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics using Information Builders' WebFOCUS. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven Best Practice methodologies, software tools, and templates.

I have been blessed to work with innovators from firms such as: Ford, FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, The Wendy's Company, The Kroger Co., JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Siemens, American Express, and others.

I was educated at Valparaiso University and the University of Cincinnati, where I graduated summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders and for over a dozen years served in regional pre- and post-sales technical leadership roles. Also, for several years I led the US technical services teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the Midwest custom software services arm of Xerox.

Since 2007, I have provided enterprise BI services such as: strategic advice; architecture, design, and software application development of intelligence systems (interactive dashboards and mobile); data warehousing; and automated modernization of legacy reporting. My experience with BI products include WebFOCUS (vendor certified expert), R, SAP Business Objects (WebI, Crystal Reports), Tableau, and others.