Business intelligence—Changing to a new solution

After investigating several leading solutions, HealthTrans decided to test out Sybase IQ, a BI solution from Sybase. Sybase is well known for its database software products, and also offers high-performance analytical tools. During the test, HealthTrans found that the time required to run reports decreased substantially ... in some cases, from eight hours to a matter of minutes. In addition, storage requirements were decreased by nearly 70 percent because of more efficient data management. 

Based on that successful test run, HealthTrans decided to implement Sybase IQ as its analytics tool, with IBM Cognos (ibm.com) as the front end. Customers are now able to receive their reports much more quickly and access them through a Web-based interface, which was not possible with the previous system. The new system also allows HealthTrans’ customers to monitor patients’ use of drugs more effectively, improving quality of care.

Although Sybase IQ has the appearance of a traditional database, it differs in having been designed for analytics. “Rather than being stored as individual records, each column, representing a data field, is stored as an entity, ” says Joydeep Das, director of analytics product management for Sybase.  “Therefore, only the relevant column is accessed during a query, which greatly reduces the time required for analysis.” That storage format also lends itself to better compression, which allows for the reduced storage space.

Sybase IQ is best suited to complex calculations on large data sets, according to Das. “In the past, datasets were not as large as they are today,” he says, “so there was less need for a solution like Sybase IQ, but now there is a big advantage in running the analytics close to the database.” Once the heavy-duty calculations are performed, the results can be sent back to a visualization tool for further analysis at the user interface.|

Sybase IQ is designed to work with most BI user interface solutions, including those from leading vendors such as SAP Business Objects, IBM Cognos, SAS, IBM SPSS, and MicroStrategy

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