Ingres Rebrands To Actian For Big Data App Push

One of the famous names in databases is being renamed to Actian because it says BI is not working

In an effort to get down with the kids, fuddy duddy database specialist Ingres is today ditching its famous brand and renaming itself as Actian Corp.

Actian claims to move is not just a rebranding exercise, but a serious effort to tackle the perception problem associated with business intelligence (BI) software and big data analytics.

BI is often regarded as expensive and complex back-end software that conducts deep-level analysis on corporate data to identify key trends. But often organisations fail to take action on this analysis or it simply fails to deliver useful business results, despite millions being spent on producing historical reports or gathering data.

Action Apps

As part of an effort to produce products that behave more like the consumer-oriented apps found on smartphones, which can respond to changes in business information, Ingres is changing its name to Actian. It has also created a new set of lightweight programs, which it is calling “action apps.”

These “action apps” are described as consumer-style apps that automate business actions. For example they could carry out day-to-day chores such as sending a text message or scheduling a meeting if important details change suddenly. In other cases, apps can be configured to take more direct action, such as completing purchases in response to a particular triggering event.

“Actian is turning big data into big outcomes for our customers with Action Apps,” said CEO and president Steve Shine. “More than $8 billion (£5.2bn) a year is spent on business intelligence to generate piles of historical reports and no action. Actian picks up where BI falls short by arming customers to take instant actions the second something changes in their data.”

Actian says that action apps are easy to build, require no training, and provide value far beyond traditional business intelligence applications. Action apps will be developed, managed and shared on the world’s first Cloud Action Platform from Actian.

Developers will essentially be able to utilise this Cloud Action Platform to create action apps in three easy steps. The first is by setting ‘action probes’ to watch and analyse data from a variety of data sources. The second is by defining ‘action triggers’ for priority data events and thresholds, and thirdly by automatically delivering ‘business actions’ when data events occur.

Bloor Backing

The idea has received the backing of a noted expert in the analytics and database field, Robin Bloor of Bloor Research.

“Decision making in Global 2000 companies is often paralyzed with “data-waiting” as people hold off on taking action on problems and opportunities until the data is available,” said Robin Bloor, CEO of the Bloor Group.

“This creates an action-deficit resulting in missed opportunities to monetize trends, or worse, creates unnecessary risk that could have been avoided by immediate action,” he said.

Proud History

Yet rebranding exercises like this can be notoriously tricky to carry out.

Back in 1998 for example, Ingres rival Borland (which had purchased Ashton-Tate back in 1991) attempted something similar when it changed its name to Inprise. That name change proved deeply unpopular and in 2001 Inprise’s name was changed back to Borland.

Ingres itself has a proud pedigree dating all the way back to a research project in the 1970s at the University of California at Berkeley. A database was developed there, which was called Ingres. The code was used in a number of commercial database applications, including Sybase, Microsoft SQL Server, NonStop SQL and a number of others.

Ingres remains an open-source SQL relational database management system intended to support large commercial and government applications.

In 2009, Ingres (the company) announced VectorWise, a rewrite of the kernel of its database, which promised to speed up database activities by up to 70 times, by “vectorising” queries so processors can handle multiple activities at the same time. It has since gone on to smash benchmarking records.

Last month Ingres ported its Vectorwise system to Windows to offer fast big data analysis to all sizes of firms.