It's Time for Real Time ...

Barry Morris, CEO of StreamBase Systems Inc.
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Barry Morris, CEO of StreamBase Systems Inc.
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... when it comes time to analyze customer data. There's a real-time deluge of customer information inside companies today, but it's difficult to make instant decisions about what the data means. William Hobbib, vice president of marketing at Lexington, Mass.-based StreamBase Systems Inc., thinks that will change with the release this week of his company's StreamBase 3.0 software. He says an updated StreamBase Optimizer module runs queries on real-time information three times faster than the previous release did. CEO Barry Morris explains that StreamBase executes its real-time queries on "windows" of streaming data that are herded into relational tables in RAM. And given that StreamBase is a 64-bit app, it supports a lot of memory indeed. If a query needs historical information, StreamBase can yank it from a disk and put it into a data window. Pricing starts at $95,000.

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Kelly Pennock, CEO of Intelligent Results Inc.
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Kelly Pennock, CEO of Intelligent Results Inc.
But not all analytical data can be neatly organized in relational tables. That's why Intelligent Results Inc. in Bellevue, Wash., next week plans to unveil Predigy, an analytics software tool that not only dissects structured data for business intelligence clues but also can be applied to unstructured information found in e-mails, Word files and other documents. CEO Kelly Pennock claims that because Predigy can sift through both kinds of data, it's "better at predicting customer behavior." Pricing starts at $50,000.

Don't write out your company's app ...

... requirements -- draw them. Well, sort of. Marc Brown, senior director of product marketing at Borland Inc., says the Cupertino, Calif.-based company's new Caliber DefineIT software lets tech-savvy business analysts "create graphical storyboards" - basically flow charts of their software specifications that "fully flesh out functional components." Brown says the tool's visual nature helps end users agree more quickly on how an application should work. Caliber DefineIT costs $2,000 and is due on May 5.

Open-source subverts the dominant ...

... development paradigm. In the future, you won't be managing a significant software development project that doesn't involve programmers strewn about the planet. So why use tools that were designed for people working side by side? asks Bill Portelli, CEO of CollabNet Inc. in Brisbane, Calif. That's why his firm has become the primary sponsor of Subversion, an open-source version-control tool designed for developers working together over the Web. This week, Collab-Net unveils its Sub-version On-Demand service, which adds collaboration, life-cycle management and other features on a subscription basis. CollabNet charges $33,000 per year for 50 development team members.

On-demand software can be pricey ...

... compared with perpetual license approaches. "There's a little bit of sticker shock when you look long term," says Benjamin Holtz, CEO of Green Beacon LLC in Watertown, Mass. For example, to get "true costs," he suggests that you compare on-demand software with licensed applications over a period of three to five years. The licensed approach wins every time, Holtz claims. Still, his company, which customizes packaged CRM and ERP apps, faces competitive pressure from the likes of Salesforce.com Inc. because price isn't the only reason users like the on-demand model. Letting someone else manage the software is another. So Green Beacon has devised a hosted alternative for CRM users, starting at $6,000 per month. In the fall, Green Beacon will offer ERP software in a hosted environment, Holtz says.

Federal foot-dragging on data privacy ...

Phil Dunkelberger, CEO of PGP Corp.
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Phil Dunkelberger, CEO of PGP Corp.
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... legislation hurts businesses. Without a national privacy protection law to abide by, U.S. IT vendors are at a disadvantage against their European and Japanese competitors. That's the assertion of Phil Dunkelberger, CEO of PGP Corp. in Palo Alto, Calif. He says the fragmented, state-driven privacy policies in the U.S. give pause to European and Japanese governments and businesses that are evaluating U.S. technologies and services. "They wonder whether our government is serious about protecting private information," Dunkelberger says. "The perception is that here in the U.S., we are not diligent about protecting data." He adds that PGP, which offers data security tools to IT users, doesn't have a preference among any of the dozen or so privacy bills circulating in Congress. "We just need to get one to the floor for a vote," says Dunkelberger, who testified this month on the urgency for passing such legislation. But congressional staffers tell him that any privacy bill "is a long shot for 2006," he says. Election year and all that. So when your representative is campaigning locally instead of doing the people's business in Washington, give him an earful about the need for a federal data-privacy bill -- now.

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