IBM has overhauled its approach to business intelligence (BI) by adding analysis capabilities to its data warehouse and unveiling BI appliances for small and mid-size companies.

The new strategy, dubbed dynamic warehousing, is described by IBM officials as the "third generation" of data warehousing; query and reporting represented the first phase, and online analytical processing the second.

Dynamic warehousing aims to analyse business data in real time and enable companies to embed analytics capabilities into corporate business processes, said Marc Andrews, IBM's director of data warehousing.

The new version of IBM's DB2 Warehouse and a new OmniFind Analytic Edition tool are core pieces of the strategy, Andrews said. The analysis tool is used to mine and analyse data in the DB2 Warehouse, he noted.

The updated DB2 Warehouse, based on the DB2 9 database, can also be used with IBM's Information Server data integration software for data quality and transformation tasks.

Ed Peabody, director of technical consulting at Omnium Worldwide, said he is interested in looking at the updated DB2 Warehouse because of its ability to integrate with Information Server. Omnium will be upgrading to a production version of DB2 9 in August.

"Rather than me having to do data integration between [extract, transform and load – ETL] processes and build that semantic integration layer [for] reporting and analytical tools," the IBM tools are integrated out of the box, Peabody said.

Omnium plans to use an ETL tool from Business Objects SA with DB2 9 but may opt to replace it with Information Server, he said.

IBM also introduced two new configurations of its Balanced Configuration Unit (BCU) data warehousing appliance.

One is built for mid-size companies, and the other is aimed at small businesses, IBM said. Earlier versions of the appliance were configured only for large customers.