We are seeing a fundamental shift in effective strategies for achieving competitive advantage via IT. Previously, in-house-developed or packaged applications would do the trick. Today, the lag time before a competitor duplicates the application is becoming shorter and shorter -- less than two years, in many cases. The answer, and the new strategy that competitors cannot match, is to use proprietary information about your customers and suppliers, gaining insights and offering value-add that your competitors cannot duplicate.
The key barrier to achieving competitive advantage by leveraging proprietary information is that this information is scattered across a wide range of data sources. Therefore a business intelligence (BI) tool or in-house-developed querying tool cannot realistically support identification of key competitive-advantage insights. Instead, IT needs to implement a broad strategy of (a) placing information where it is rapidly accessible, and (b) ensuring that the relationships between the data are better identified -- strategic information management, or information integration. Information integration involves identifying the enterprise's key information resources, managing them so they are in the right data stores at the right time, supporting users' efforts to leverage them, and enabling users to add to their information resources.
To implement information integration, users can pair DB2's administrative tools with IBM's EII and EAI tools. DB2 can also be of use as a metadata repository, as discussed above.