IB Introduces Process-Driven BI

Information Builders' new business intelligence software, WebFocus Power Painter, aims to simplify reporting and analytics in a thin-client environment.

Information Builders, makers of enterprise software for business intelligence and real-time operational reporting, on April 25 launched a new "process-driven BI" product, WebFocus Power Painter.

Power Painter produces reporting and analytics in a thin-client, Web-based environment.

The New York-based company made the announcements at its annual users conference in Orlando, Fla.

Process-driven BI utilizes the SOA (service-oriented architecture) of iWay SOA Middleware as the foundation for creating reusable, integrated and intelligent business processes, IB said.

/zimages/5/28571.gifInformation Builders "Google-izes" enterprise search and BI reporting. Click here to read more.

Using iWays highly scalable ESB (enterprise service bus) with a fully integrated service design-time workbench and Web services creation and deployment capabilities, organizations can deploy the BI aspects as services that may be treated independently—eliminating the need to replace or rewrite entire applications.

Process-driven BI capabilities also include:

  • Alerts: providing users with notification when analytics produce certain results, allowing users to resolve issues as they unfold in real time
  • Analytics: embedding analysis in order to inform users or determine how to automatically manage the process workflow based on results
  • Data visualization: enabling users to view the process at various points throughout the process and decide how data is produced, delivered and designed
  • Reporting: aligning BI more tightly with decision-making, enabling users to determine the precise events or conditions that trigger the need for a report

"An SAP system, for example, might be smart enough to recommend a supplier for a certain item a company needs," Michael Corcoran, IBs vice president of corporate strategy, told eWEEK.com. "But it wont be able to tell you that the supplier it suggests was late in its delivery four out of five times last month.

"Using this process-driven intelligence, you would get a ranking of recommended vendors. You then remove the repeatable mistake from the process."

In a recent report, Gartner Group analysts said that "to enable process-driven business intelligence, IT organizations must bolster their BI platform[s] across a balanced set of new capabilities, including information dissemination, development, and integration and analysis."

"The market has been calling for some time for decision-management capabilities, involving BI delivery in context of users business roles and processes, to be driven from BI platforms," said Tim Harmon, senior vice president of IT Research and Services at Ventana Research, based in San Mateo, Calif. "We believe this will strengthen Information Builders position as an Operational BI solutions provider."

Enterprises will be able to put this process-driven BI into action using IBs new WebFocus Power Painter, Corcoran said.

/zimages/5/28571.gifRead more here about Information Builders focus on operational BI.

BI platforms need to deliver information on demand to both producers (developers) and consumers, that is, operational employees, managers, partners and customers, he said. Power users are defined as the business individuals who span both categories.

WebFocus Power Painter, Corcoran said, is the first product to deliver the usability of a Windows-type graphical design through a familiar thin-client interface, allowing power users to develop sophisticated BI content.

The WebFocus Power Painter—which utilizes AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) middleware—uses typical pull-down window menus and other familiar tools in its interface, Corcoran said.

The software aims to help enterprises simplify all aspects of report design, development and administration, promoting an environment of self-service reporting and enabling rapid report production and accessibility for users with less technical knowledge, he said.

"Users wont have to learn a new application, theyll just need to know how to use the Internet," Corcoran said. "The people dont have to be smarter—the process will be smarter."

Business users will be able to define reports and charts to produce publishable documents that can be accessed and customized by other information consumers to help satisfy thousands of unique information requests, Corcoran said.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...