The Boulder BI Brain Trust


January 2010 Archives

composite-software-logo.gifRecently, I was asked via twitter if a particular technology or set of technologies was still relevant.  My response was that the technologies were in fact relevant... however, my question was which problems were they solving....?

Often times software companies have a solution in search of a problem or an elegant solution that "only" really works on the fringes of business problems.  The recent presentation from Composite Software to the BBBT showed me that Composite is not only elegant technology but relevant to direct business issues.

Out of the Gate

Composite brought one of their clients - Compassion International - to present ( note i believe that this was a first for the BBBT .... ).  What Compassion International has been able to accomplish in a two year timeframe with Composite for their BI/DW needs is really amazing.  It shows what happens when you remove the "empire building" from the usual Business Unit vs Business Unit; Business vs IT; Everyone vs Finance games that usually cripple the current era of IT implementations... not just BI/DW.  I highly recommend that any organization take a look at what they can do when they stop thinking about protecting org charts or budgets and start thinking about what the company is around to do... in this case helping as many children as possible with the available funds.

Composite's solution allows Compassion International to perform some very elegant technology solutions that solve direct business issues.  And again, this is accomplished without much of the turf wars of who owns what data, where and how...

Sizzle... and Steak

The initial aspects of the Composite presentation from Compassion were almost too good to be true.  Great combination of client and technology.... The second half of the presentation told the BBBT crowd more about what Composite was doing for solutions that may not have been as tailor made... And Composite ( ... in my humble opinion... ) did not disappoint.

composite-solutions.JPGRobert Eve, EVP Marketing, and David Besemer, CTO, presented a series of solutions that clearly define a series of five (5) areas where Composite can provide clear value to a particular organization packaged as easy to understand offerings.  Gone are the "what do you have? what do you need?" discussions that often times lengthen sales cycles and slow the process of implementation.

By no means are these five solutions the only solutions that Composite has available for their customers/partner.  However, by putting the information in this format, they are easing the burden on IT selection teams, business users and ...frankly... their sales teams. 

This showed to me that Composite has definitely made strides in technology and marketing since our last BBBT session.  And I was pretty impressed with Composite as an organization at our last session...

Again, Composite has both the sizzle and steak that I like to see in an organization with the following:  1) Good case study story with an open and honest client 2) Sound go-to-market (GTM) strategies to scale that client success into new organizations and environments.

Composite Software Virtualizes Data

| | TrackBacks (0)
Composite logo.pngPresenting for Composite Software are: Robert Eve, EVP Marketing, and David Besemer, CTO along with customers from Compassion International (CI), based in Colorado Springs, represented by Kenny Sargent, Product Manager, and Steve Horne, Project Manager.

Compassion Intl logo.pngWe started with the Compassion Intl talk by Kenny. He presented the overview mission and activities of their ministry. Then, Steve took us into the IT architecture, shown on the right. (click for hi res) Note the lower right labeled Kitchen using the metaphor of Ratatouille movie. Data customers in the dining room should stay out of the data kitchen! Don't watch the sausage being made!

composite IT arch.pngWe touched on several critical success factors to CI, such as when is a sponsor is 'pass due' or when is a sponsor continuing sponsorship of a new child. CI is using Composite in three ways:
  • Simple data federation among a diverse of sources
  • Extension or augmentation of data that is mostly in their enterprise DW
  • Sharing or distribution of enterprise DW, especially in Web2.0 compatible formats
We continued by drilling into the Composite business. Robert argued that there are two tipping points. First, EDW are definitely necessary, but they are not sufficient for satisfying all the business requirements. Second, data virtualization (or federation) is becoming mainstream. ...driven by pragmatic business reasons. Composite is trying to be the technology leader within this area.

Composite market.pngWhere does Composite compete? Using the framework of Ted Friedman of Gartner, Robert positioned the company in the center of the figure to the right. (click for hi res) That is, they are not doing CDC on the left or messaging on the right.

David continued by explaining the product suite as shown in this figure. The blue boxes are included as part of the Composite Info Server, while the red boxes are optional add-ons. David then explained a detail pieces to the server in this figure. Robert lead a good discussion into five patterns of data virtualization.: simple data federation, 

My Take...
The feeling that I got from the Composite briefing is that they are NOT focusing on Business Intelligence but on Data Integration, which is part of BI and other IT functions. If you accept the argument that EDW is necessary but not sufficient, then the functionality like Composite becomes a key component in a BI architecture.

Final thought... This discussion has the flavor of stimulating business innovation because the Composite products allows easy tittering of data integration possibilities for various business use cases.

Final suggestion... Sponsor a child through Compassion International!
Composite logo.pngA warm welcome to Composite Software and their customer Compassion International.This is a first for the BBBT to have a customer join us and we are pleased to have Kenny Sargent, Product Manager and Steve Horn, Project Manager here to present on behalf of Compassion International today. Founded in 1952 the ministry is dedicated to children advocacy. In 2009 the ministry celebrated sponsoring 1,000,000 children worldwide, addressing health, economic, spiritual, educational, social and environmental needs. Today they are helping 65,000 children in Haiti with as many as 5,000 in Port-au-Prince.

The Ministry Information Library (MIL) acts as the companies data warehouse. The MIL is all things enterprise data they are addressing data management and governance and have built a strong technology architecture with Composite, Kalido, Initiate Systems, Informatica. Just like all companies Compassion is challenged by the same information issues as any other enterprise. And are fighting a huge growth curve of users and "customers". 

Compassion has a master data hub and operational data/reporting hub and a standard data warehouse. Composite helps them create a Data Virtualization Layer that federates data from all the sources nessesary to serve the end user needs. They are also using Composite to combine EDW information along with operational data to serve portal needs on the client side.The system they have created is very sophisticated for a company that has only been focusing on the problem for two years. The executive team at compassion has made technology a a focus.

The composite solution has enabled the technology team to "stage quickly" new projects without the standard costs involved physically building out custom architectures. The virtualized data can then support new ideas and innovation without the time and cost investment you might normally see for new projects. Bottom line, Compassion International is off to a fast start and has created a foundation that will enable them to grow and done it all in a time frame (2 years) that is faster than most.

Composite's virtual consolidation and federation abilities enables them to address a wide scope of data challenges. The solution has evolved into an end to end platform that includes a studio, designer, manager, server, discovery and monitor modules. They have competition in some of these areas but it appears that they stand alone with the full scope of the platform. And Composite has always differentiated itself by how well it optimizes queries.

It was great to have them at the BBBT today and especially nice to hear from their customer and explore the real-world use examples.


This page is an archive of entries from January 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2009 is the previous archive.

February 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.