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As federal agencies deploy data warehouses and other business intelligence tools, they might want to also investigate two emerging trends that promise to shake up traditional business intelligence, according to officials at BearingPoint Inc., a McLean, Va., systems integrator.

One trend is the ability to include unstructured data in traditional databases, which typically only handle easily formatted information such as names, addresses and financial statistics.

"There's a whole world of unstructured data, such as newspaper articles," said Dan Marion, a BearingPoint managing director. Vendors such as ClearForest Corp., based in New York City, are developing technology that can label information within news articles so it can be easily retrieved during data warehouse searches.

Second, wireless technologies, such as Wi-Fi protocols, promise to make business intelligence more accessible. "Imagine not being tethered to the desktop to get information on a significant program," said Kelvin Womack, also a BearingPoint managing director. "This can accelerate what [business intelligence] is doing for our customers."

About the Author

Alan Joch is a freelance writer based in New Hampshire.

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