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Acta, Arbor team for data analysis

Acta Technology and Arbor Software are joining forces to make analyzing data in SAP's R/3 a bit easier.

Acta Technology and Arbor Software are teaming up to make analyzing data in SAP's R/3 a bit easier.

Acta and Arbor announced today they are integrating Acta's ActaLink for SAP and Arbor's soon-to-be released Integration Server. Once integrated, users should be able to more easily populate cubes in Arbor's popular Essbase online analytical processing (OLAP) system with data out of their R/3 back office automation system.

"It is very challenging" to pull data out of R/3, said Jaqueline Sweeney, analyst at International Data Corporation in Framingham, Massachusetts. "Most of the information access vendors are writing programs to do this."

ActaLink is a data extraction tool designed to pull designated data from the R/3 transaction software, cleanse it, and then feed it into a data warehouse for analysis.

However, the market for such tools is shrinking as SAP builds its own data warehouse called the Business Information Warehouse (BIW). It is currently shipping to early customers.

The SAP-built warehouse is a good deal for companies that have bet their entire operation on R/3. But Sweeney said those with a mix-match of systems--such as PeopleSoft human resource applications linked to SAP financials, which is hooked to a point-of-sale system and a homegrown materials management system--will need to look to companies like Acta for data warehousing tools.

"If you have your own data warehouse, it is still not clear how well BIW is going to integrate with other systems," Sweeney said. "BIW is for people who have SAP as the center of their universe."