An Ottawa-based software vendor has released an “any-to-any translator” platform that can extract data from a broader array of sources than just the usual database or spreadsheet, before transforming, merging and presenting that data to the end user, said the company’s CEO.
PureShare Corp. describes its Pure Technology platform as a universal request engine or central hub. It comes with a library of input adaptors to facilitate extracting data, for instance from internal sources like e-mail, tasks and calendars through Microsoft Exchange, or from a phone switch to amass call centre statistics like the number of callers and those waiting in the queue. And, as with internal sources, the adaptors can also extract data from external sources like salesforce.com and other Web services.
“Wherever the data lives, this [platform] can merge it all in,” said Christopher Dean, CEO of PureShare. “You’re not looking at the traditional sources you would use with business intelligence. Really anything electronic is fair game.”
On the other end of the spectrum, after the data is translated into the desired format, output adaptors let that data be input into, again, not just the usual sources like databases, but others including Web services, said Dean.
It’s a flexible and “future-proof” platform, he said, “so you’re not sitting there trying to press fit people on to what the technology is capable of.”
End user demands on business intelligence are certainly extending beyond just the traditional data sources, said Dylan Persaud, research manager for enterprise applications with Toronto-based IDC Canada Ltd. “Vendors and organizations are looking at other ways to extract as much data as possible,” he said, citing the example of SAP AG’s recent release of its Business Suite 7.0 which, like the Pure Technology platform, allows multiple data sources to be imported and then translated for user consumption.
Actually, Persaud said PureShare’s platform forms a component of a master data management (MDM) strategy, because organizations can manage data throughout the enterprise regardless of where it is sourced, and users can “consume that data as you see it within the organization.”
Dean said the platform’s library of adaptors takes care of “all the basics and a few weird ones” and can be expanded with the help of third-party developers who can build new input/output objects and “just bolt it on … and, boom, we’re now sucking in a new data source we never had before.”
The invitation for partner development, said Persaud, could be quite an attractive option given the success of other platforms like salesforce.com and NetSuite, where developers benefit from being able to build new functionality and the platform, too, benefits from that added functionality.
Persaud warns that, as far as he can tell, the sole challenge with the platform possibly lies in a lack of standards that would make ready-access across vendor platforms tricky. “They may have different variables that allow their platform to be adopted across any other,” he said.
A number of larger as well as smaller organizations have already adopted the Pure Technology platform, said Dean. There is also the option of a software-as-a-service offering for the resource-constrained IT shops.