Interlocking BI Platform Speeds Financial Filing

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-06-20

Interlocking BI Platform Speeds Financial Filing

Business Objects has hooked up with partners to deliver what it claims is the first BI tool to take advantage of XBRL, a format in which financial information is directly filed to the SEC, the company announced on Monday.

XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language) is an open standard for transmitting and sharing business information. Its designed to replace manual processes that typically involve time-consuming comparison, assembly and re-entry of data.

XBRL is being developed by a nonprofit consortium of companies, organizations and government agencies, including accounting, technology, government and financial services bodies. Its users include the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the U.K. Inland Revenue Service.

Business Objects SA is adding its XI business intelligence platform to a trio of offerings, which collectively has been dubbed XBRL-BI, that incorporate the standard. Ipedo Inc.s XIP information integration platform is another piece, and Edgar Online Inc.s suite of XBRL-enhanced tools caps it off.

In the midst of soaring volumes of financial information and regulatory requirements, the technology combination is aimed at helping companies share company information with financial analysts and investors for reporting and analysis.

Financial filings come from Edgar Onlines I-Metrix Web Service and the XIP integration platform. Business Objects XI lets research analysts, institutional investors, fund managers, regulators and corporate officers study market conditions directly from corporate filings in near real time, thus creating what Business Objects calls a pre-built data repository thats ready for financial analysis.

Click here to read about IT asset-management software from Peregrine Systems.

Edgar Onlines systems convert SEC data into XBRL to make it available to the I-Metrix suite. Ipedo pulls the XBRL-tagged financial data, processes it along with business context, and delivers it to XI, which uses Crystal Reports or Business Objects Web Intelligence product.

Read details here about Information Builders operational BI offerings.

Management dashboards, scorecards and performance management applications can be created within Business Objects BI platform.

Stuart M. Selip, an analyst for Burton Group Inc., has been following Ipedo in his coverage of EII (enterprise information integration). He said that well increasingly see data delivered as Web services, as with XBRL BI, as companies look to get at material in ways other than firing up queries against relational sources.

Next page: Query tools with both XML and SQL expertise are best.

Query Tools with XML,

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"Is it valuable to get material like that as opposed to firing up a query against a relational source?" he said. "It certainly is, if youre not going against a relational source, and Web services are not those. Well see many more Web services published in relation to that."

In comparison with other EII players, Ipedos differentiator is that its dual-core engine seems equally at ease with XML or SQL. Thats a comfort youll get with a large EII platform player such as IBM, Selip said, but not something youll see with "pure-plays" such as MetaMatrix Inc., which is more oriented toward XML.

But if youre already an IBM shop and want to plug in IBMs Information Integrator technology, you have to ride the curve of integrating WebSphere, Selip said, which is a complex beast to tame.

Ipedos ploy is to access Web services easily and to allow queries against them, Selip said.

If you partition the market regarding XML or SQL dominance, Ipedo comes out as fairly evenhanded, Selip says, which is a good stance to take, competitively speaking.

"In the short term, when organizations look at pure-plays, they want to know how quickly they can process standard SQL queries," he said. "Out of the box, people arent super-interested in the XML side of things."

In the long term, organizations will likely look at EII vendors not so much for the raw speed of query entry, as everybody will get good returns on that, Selip said.

Rather, theyll look to see what partnerships and technology tie-ins a given player such as Ipedo has set up, asking questions like, "Can you buy pre-built industry views," he said. "The longest-term view theyll take is, How does this play into [Service-Oriented Architectures]? Which is when theyll look at XQuery and that sort of capability.

"Is there a place for pure play? Yes, there is. But Id want one with both capabilities, XML and SQL."

XBRL-BI is shipping now. Its components are priced separately and are available from the three vendors, although an Ipedo spokesperson said that a subscription to Edgar Online is available free to Business Objects customers.

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