BI vendors tout integration tools

Oracle, Information Builders, Spotfire help customers get to data sources

Access to ‘all data all the time’ was the theme from the three BI software vendors that announced upgrades to their BI applications last week.

Oracle announced the general availability of Oracle Business Intelligence 10g, while rival Information Builders launched WebFocus 7.0, and vertical solution provider Spotfire unveiled a visual data-analytics tool for the pharmaceutical industry.

According to Keith Gile, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, BI vendors previously touted their ability to access any data warehouse. That claim, however, is no longer good enough.

“Now BI vendors say, ‘We will help you get to any data that is necessary for you to get to’,’’ Gile said.

The BI product suite from Oracle includes a spreadsheet add-in that gives users direct access to Oracle OLAP from within Excel spreadsheets.

Unlike Oracle BI 10g, which is a strategic product, WebFocus 7.0 is targeted at a different user in the enterprise.

“It is an operational application. It brings business intelligence to the operational level,” said Kevin Quinn, Information Builder’s vice president of product marketing.

Until now BI has been targeted to the back office rather than the many front-line employees.

WebFocus 7.0 allows customer-facing agents to use BI tools to create reports.

Administaff, an Information Builders customer, outsources administration and accounting for small companies. Administaff has approximately five thousand customers and 80,000 total users who now use WebFocus to generate reports for such functions as payroll and benefits.

Spotfire last week unveiled DecisionSite 8.1, a visual data-analytics platform tailored specifically for the pharmaceutical industry.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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