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 consultant, helping data-intensive firms use agile methods and automation tools to replace legacy reporting and bring in modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics. For several world-class vendors, I led services teams specializing in providing software implementation and custom application development. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven methodologies and automated software tools.

During twenty years of technical consulting, I have been blessed to work with smart people from some of the world's most respected organizations, including: 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, graduating summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders, the vendor of WebFOCUS BI and iWay enterprise integration products, and for over a dozen years served in branch leadership roles. For several years, I also led technical teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the 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.