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With better technologies, new architectures, and innovative ways of thinking about old problems, there are new applications for business intelligence and data analysis. I am talking about the power of the intelligent portal.
But what do portals have to do with data analysis? Everything. A portal, by bringing together such a wide range of applications, services, and even entire businesses, not only provides a solid integration platform, but by doing so, enables business intelligence. Data that was once separate, awkwardly related, and difficult to format can now be brought together under a common umbrella to communicate and be interpreted in new and innovative ways. A remote Web service, a legacy mainframe application, an old COM project--all can now talk to each other within a portal, which makes one think: what are they talking about? My suggestion: ask the logs.
Integration and Its Effect on Data Analysis
In the days of independent and uncommunicative applications, it was possible to have a complete view into the usage of an individual system--you could track that a user logged in and clicked here, waited for 15 seconds, then went to this page, then checked so-and-so data, and finally logged out.
However, to improve interoperability, companies adopted custom solutions to glue together disparate applications--where one program would speak directly to another. The problem with point-to-point integration is that it becomes increasingly difficult to understand how a single user is sharing the data across these applications. If each application has its own form of logging, it could be a veritable nightmare to merge those two pieces of data, much less analyze them accurately. Even if both programs were assumed to use best practices and logged events in …