InetSoft Technology announced Style Scope Agile Edition, a free version of its visualization-driven business intelligence application.
This version has been developed for small teams at organizations of any size, and is especially targeted at small businesses and nonprofits whose budgets might otherwise preclude purchase of business intelligence software.
"Data is an asset for any business small or big to take advantage in order to improve performance," Mark Flaherty, chief marketing officer for InetSoft Technology, told eWEEK. "In some cases they may already be doing basic analytics but doing it inefficiently just using spreadsheets and not automating the tasks. In other cases they’re just missing out on finding those nuggets of knowledge that can help them win more customers or find business performance problems because they don’t have the right analytics software."
Flaherty noted that software user-friendliness is extremely important, especially for businesses with less technical support staff.
"It is always the case that if software is too confusing or requires too much learning, non-technical people will under-utilize it or even give up trying to use it," he said.
The application allows business users to develop interactive dashboards and visual analyses with a drag and drop interface.
Advanced visualization types designed for multi-dimensional charting and point-and-click controls like selection lists and ranger sliders let users explore data and monitor performance.
Any dashboard or analysis can be privately shared with others using just a browser or a mobile device, setting the application apart from other free BI tools.
In addition, data can be accessed from spreadsheets and many commonly used relational databases.
Individuals can save personalized views of any shared dashboard or analysis, however the company noted certain limitations compared to licensed versions of InetSoft's software. These include permitting two simultaneous users and excluding enterprise user permission management functions and access to other enterprise data types.
"I wouldn’t say it’s critical to have mobile access to advanced analytics," Flaherty noted. "That’s more of an at-the-desk scenario where you can concentrate for uninterrupted periods of time. But daily performance analytics, more like you would find in an analytic dashboard is very useful."
He said being able to monitor performance and have some basic analytic capabilities while away from your desk is very valuable.
"For example, being able to drill into data remotely can mean a client’s question is answered immediately instead of making them wait, or a problem is detected and someone can take corrective action sooner," he explained.