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EMC Wants to Help Wrangle More Value From Data

EMC doesn't want to be the next business intelligence vendor, but it does want to be the player companies tap when looking to wrap BI, data warehouse farms and storage infrastructures all together.

In launching its new Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence/Analytics Competency Center on Thursday, EMC said it will provide application-specific solutions using partner technology from vendors including Greenplum, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Sybase and Teradata and EMC's engineering resources.

The new lab will give customers a "one-stop shopping" venue, according to Center Manager Bill Bonin.

"We don't intend to compete in the BI space. Our business is infrastructure and our goal is to help customers integrate needed technology while gaining good performance from their systems," Bonin told InternetNews.com.

As companies slice tech budgets in light of the dismal fiscal climate, many want better ways to boost efficiencies and response to changing market and customer needs. Business intelligence and data mining and analytics are viable approaches to making that happen, according to analysts.

That's because any technology that lets companies gleam deeper knowledge and saves money can be a huge advantage. Reducing risks and operational costs when deploying storage and data protection isn't a bad idea either.

The news also illustrates EMC's continued quest to expand its services business. Earlier this year, EMC broadened its IT services tool set with the acquisition of Infra, a privately held IT service management provider. In October 2007 it bought privately-held Voyence, a provider of network configuration and change management solutions that automate critical change, compliance and activation processes.

IT services and data mining approaches, according to analysts, can prove handy and valuable when every tech penny spent is under scrutiny.

"The need for data analytics doesn't go away in bad economic times," Brian Babineau, a senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group, told InternetNews.com.

"It can be used to help focus resources in the right place as you can use business intelligence and data warehouses to make any decision, such as what products to continue investing in and where layoffs are most appropriate," said Babineau. "Companies who use all the information available will have a much better shot at surviving."

The Santa Clara, California-based center is available to EMC customers and potential clients, said Bonin. BI application vendors can also conduct co-engineering activities to leverage their products with EMC's CLARiiON and Symmetrix storage systems.

"EMC's services are in an evolutionary stage," Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told InternetNews.com. "In an economy like this, it's about maximizing the impact of IT investments. Getting more value out of your data is a very wise investment."