Earlier this week I traded New York’s rainy weather for some Florida sunshine while attending the annual user conference of Information Builders, one of the few remaining private companies in the business intelligence space. Deriving competitive advantages from BI tools has become an extremely hot topic as vendors clamor to provide the most compelling products. Many of of the product releases and breakout sessions at the conference were tailored around popular trends in BI such as big data, social media, cloud and SaaS, and analytics.
If you missed the summit, here are highlights of the releases and product enhancements that were unveiled this week:
- Omni Framework— a platform that provides a “360-degree view” of business data. Healthcare organizations were the first customers to try out the platform through Omni-Patient, which offers a comprehensive view of a patient’s data, making it easier for physicians and other healthcare providers to access and manage information about their patients. Information Builders is also working with its clients on an Omni-Retail version of the platform.
- WebFocus Hyperstage— a column-oriented database that replaces data cubes and accelerates the rate at which reporting applications crunch large numbers of queries or large volumes of data.
- Facebook Adapter—also part of the WebFocus suite, it allows organizations to aggregate publicly available social data and embed it in charts and dashboards, in addition to analyzing the sentiment behind individual posts and comments.
- Enhanced cloud support—Features include native support for multi-tenancy, improved security and simplified administration of SaaS deployments.
At this point business intelligence is a fairly mature market and as a result of numerous acquisitions, many vendors now offer similar sets of tools and functionalities. Companies must now rely on other factors to stand out. What I frequently heard from customers at the conference was that customer service and the user scalability of its products were among Information Builders’ strengths.
The anecdotal responses I received also matched the findings of independent research firms, such as Gartner. Overall customer experience ratings, including product quality and support measures, placed Information Builders among the top vendors, according to Gartner’s 2012 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms report.
Despite challenges—the research firm also notes that Information Builders is “being squeezed between fast growing data discovery tools and the megavendors’ stack-buying agenda—the company continues to hold its own in the business intelligence space.