Monday, October 07, 2002

Home Depot is on a shopping spree for data warehouse and business intelligence tools. Home Depot announced last week that it is planning a huge roll out of a data warehouse capability that will cost tens of millions of dollars. Business intelligence applications will be rolled out in three phases: 1) HR applications to provide analytical dashboards and metrics to improve employee performance, satisfaction, and retention, 2) inventory planning applications to give material planners near-real-time access to point-of-sale (POS) transactions to better manage supply, demand, and store assortments, and 3) supplier access to the inventory and sales data, so that trading partners can better manage demand and logistics. The system will be built on IBM's DB2 database running on an IBM AIX box with sixty (60!) terabytes of storage.

This opportunity at Home Depot is an exception to the trend away from large complex software deals. Perhaps it is indicative of Home Depot's need to catch up with competitors such as Wal-mart (Walmart) that already have large analytic capabilities in place. It will be interesting to see what sort of creative deals vendors put together in order to play in this pond. Still on Home Depot's shopping list: extract, transformation, and load (ETL) tools as well as business intelligence (BI) tools for data analysis. Although, to my knowledge, no specific vendors have been mentioned as being on Home Depot's short list, expect all the major BI vendors as well as select supply chain vendors (e.g. i2, Manugistics) to want a piece of this deal. Since the data warehouse is being built on IBM's DB2 database, it is possible that IBM's Datawarehouse Manager would be considered, as well as one or more of the major ETL vendors, such as Informatica (PowerMart/Center), Ascential (Datastage XE), and SAS (Warehouse Administrator). Some leading vendors of analytic tools include Business Objects (BusinessObjects), Cognos (PowerPlay and Impromptu), Information Builders (WebFOCUS), MicroStrategy (MicroStrategy 7), Computer Associates (Eureka Suite), Sagent (Sagent Solution Platform) and Hummingbird (BI/Suite).

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