Building on a foundation that won eWEEK Excellence Awards finalist honors this year, Informaticas PowerAnalyzer 4.0 improves ease of learning and convenience of data integration while retaining the products breadth of capability and balance between flexibility and structure. Prices start at $50,000, rising on a per-CPU and per-user basis.
EVALUATION SHORT LIST
Priced on various per-CPU and per-user criteria at $50,000 and up, this business intelligence front end allows a user to define a path through related views that other users can also follow, quickly seeing exception alerts along the way so that the defining users expertise is effectively shared.
PowerAnalyzers integrated discussion facility allows a user to annotate results and seek comments from other users. This eliminates cumbersome copying and pasting of data into e-mail messages or sending of instructions on how to reproduce the view that reveals the problem.
For better or (often) worse, spreadsheets are the tool that users often turn to for analyzing data. PowerAnalyzer makes the most of it by embedding a Microsoft Corp. Excel capability for live interaction and structured import/ export. Further back-end and front-end flexibility derive from the products J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) server support and exposed Java/XML Web services APIs.
Perversely, one problem with products of this kind can be that displays are actually too dynamic, where things change before a concern can be investigated. PowerAnalyzers integrated archive capability enables scheduled or ad hoc export to several common data and document formats, providing the snapshots that are sometimes essential to meeting accountability requirements.
Dynamic search facilities, both for data and for items such as recently reviewed reports, further reduce the sense of data overload that a BI environment can all too easily produce.
Technology Editor Peter Coffee can be reached at email@example.com.