If you're building information management systems and have an eye for the future, you will be planning to make an XML infrastructure the underpinning of your solution.The problem you visionary types face was nicely stated in a report from Bloor Research (see links below) on the product I'm discussing today: "[There are] two types of competitors ... vendors that offer federated query capabilities, and other suppliers that [specialize] in XML. However, if you treated these two sets of companies ... as sets, and then tried to join them, you would get a virtually empty set as a result. That is, the XML capabilities of other data federation companies are extremely limited, while the federated functionality of other XML vendors is primitive to say the least."The product Bloor Research was analyzing is the Ipedo XML Intelligence Platform, a system designed for information analysis and delivery and Bloor quite rightly concludes that "if XML is a major concern, and if you have diverse data sources from which you want to aggregate (but not move) data, then you should seriously consider Ipedo."The Ipedo XML Intelligence Platform acquires data from various sources including Excel spreadsheets; Word documents; PDF files; XML documents; flat files; Web Services; relational databases including Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, and MySQL; packaged applications such as SAP and Siebel; and document management systems including Documentum and Interwoven. Ipedo then normalizes the data to XML to create what is called a common information model or "federated data."The next step is to analyze, apply rule-based integration and create output that is delivered to end users through various mechanisms including portals, Web services, desktop applications such as Excel or Crystal Report, and handheld devices.The latest release of the Ipedo XML Intelligence Platform, Version 3.5, includes:* Visual XQuery Builder - A graphical, drag-and-drop interface that automatically creates complex queries and joins across multiple, disparate sources, allowing search and analysis on information.* Visual XML Views Wizards - A set of point-and-click tools that create live, virtualized connections to relational databases and Web services sources, automatically representing information in XML form for further query and analysis.* XML Rules - Semantic inspection of XML documents and views that allows businesses to compare the contents of XML documents against business rules.* Vertical Accelerators - Plug-in modules based on vertical XML standards that contain specific sets of pre-built XML templates, queries and rules to help developers quickly deploy applications using their industry's standard.Ipedo XML Intelligence Platform is an enormous product in its scope and depth that is unlike any other product I'm aware of - it is definitely the leading solution for all of you visionaries out there. Pricing starts at $72,000 for the first server.Footnote: I should explain that although Ipedo might sound like a competitor to Dr. Scholl the name is an acronym for "Information Processing Environment for the Distributed Organization." Now you know.