WebFOCUS: the great unknown
WebFOCUS is Information Builder’s BI solution. It’s mainly used in very large organizations, but it’s also a relatively unknown product in the larger BI market.
Information Builders claims to have one solution for your entire organization with WebFOCUS and focuses on self-service BI with a highly scalable product. According to Information Builders, WebFOCUS offers deep integration with Office and other Office-like products.
Information Builders distinguishes two target audiences
- Information specialist: This type of user has tools available to set up and manage the BI environment as well as possible.
- Information Consumers: This type of user doesn’t need to use tools, but has so-called ‘InfoApps’.
WebFOCUS closes the gap between BI and its users
According to the supplier, WebFOCUS closes the gap between the users that are presented with tools, and the apps that they are actually used to. This is unique in the market. But is there any truth to these claims? The answer, as we found out in our BI Tools Survey, is: partly.
The WebFOCUS BI environment consists of several products
WebFOCUS was originally an organization with a background in database environments. This is easy to see in the product range they offer. They excel at linking different platforms, database, and application environments. Certainly, (legacy) environments are easily unlocked with this solution. This sets them apart from the competition.
iWay: the solution to link all environments
The solution that combines all environments together is called iWay. This product is based on the WebFOCUS product and ensures that all platforms, data warehouses, and applications can be integrated.
Master data management is very well developed
If Master Data Management (MDM) is important to your organization, this product is definitely worth considering. It’s seen as one of the leading products in the MDM field. By making use of iWay and WebFOCUS, large parts of the metadata are filled and stored almost automatically. This makes it a great solution if you’re using a lot of legacy systems.
What are the main benefits of WebFOCUS BI?
The most frequently mentioned benefits of WebFOCUS and iWay are:
- They can connect with a lot of platforms, databases, and application environments, including legacy systems.
- They have powerful solutions in certain markets that are implemented a lot.
- Information Builders is strongly committed to InfoApps, which is a modern tool for data discovery and dashboard creation.
- With iWay they have a premier solution when it comes to master data management.
- WebFOCUS is strongly represented in organizations with more than 100,000 employees.
What should you look out for when purchasing WebFOCUS BI?
Even the best solutions have downsides. The most important ones here are:
- The environment is only suitable for large organizations with (a lot) legacy systems.
- InfoApps is completely independent from WebFOCU, which is odd. The product is marketed towards existing customers.
- Information Builders claims to have a solution with a very good self-service BI component. Compared to other players on the market, that claim is only partly true.
- They score relatively low on self-service BI and usability, even though they highlight these aspects themselves.
- Information Builders does not promote their products widely, so the company is relatively unknown to the average user.
Information Builders as a supplier
Information Builders was founded in 1975 as a database supplier for the mainframe environment. The database was known as FOCUS. With the transition to a client-server architecture they actually completely missed the boat. They were one of the first to focus on the internet, which proved to be brilliant move. With their different BI products, they are now back at the top of the market.
Information Builders is one of the largest business intelligence vendors that is not listed yet and they’re now focusing entirely on providing Enterprise BI solutions within very large organizations, often with legacy environments. For that reason, they’re strongly represented within the finance and telecom markets.
Self-Service Data Analysis by Information Builders
WebFOCUS InfoDiscovery has been launched by Information Builders. This is a web-based, self-service visual analytics tool meant to help analysts, power users and business users to visually analyze complex data, create insights and enhance decision-making across the organization.
With InfoDiscovery analysts can retrieve and decipher data from spreadsheets, departmental databases, enterprise data warehouses and third-party data sources in a self-service environment. The solution also allows power users to combine charts, graphs, maps and other data sources to create sophisticated visualizations and publish dashboards made accessible with InfoApps. Information Builders says users now have the ability to visually analyze more data than ever before with the assurance that the data is secure, auditable, shared and governed.
Results can be easily shared
Users can share works in progress with other authors and collaborations are facilitated as author numbers grow, because of Server and Repository features. Upon completion, visualization projects are stored in the solution’s secure Portal. Results can be easily shared as needed across other WebFOCUS environments for larger deployments.
Better understand customer trends
The nummer #1 BI-solution according to our survey also features geographical analysis with the help of intuitive, compelling maps that blend spatially-related data with external demographic or market information. This helps users to better understand customer trends, locate inventory, and detect fraud.
WebFOCUS is relatively unknown
Because they only serve very large enterprises, they are relatively unknown in the market. The product offerings and customers fit well with other major vendors such as IBM Cognos, SAS Institute, SAP Business Objects, and Oracle BI.
Want to know more about how Information Builders compares to other suppliers, please check out the Passionned Parabola for BI & Analytics, where you can see where Information Builders finds itself, at a glance.
Want to purchase a BI platform or make a better choice?
WebFOCUS is an Enterprise-wide BI tool that can unlock many different platforms, databases, and applications. It is increasingly important to quickly unlock the right information and to record the data definitions properly in a Master Data Management solution.
If you intend to take major steps with WebFOCUS, or to purchase large quantities of licenses, and you want to make the right decision in this, please contact one of our specialists. They can advise you on the best choice for your situation.
Information Builders compared to other BI tools
If you’re considering purchasing WebFOCUS or other products, it’s important to form a balanced judgment. Passionned Group has done more than 12 years of research into the BI market with its Business Intelligence Tools Survey 2019. This study compares the different solutions on more than 190 criteria. The survey can now be ordered directly online.
WebFOCUS and iWay expertise
If you’re planning to unlock several new sources, manufacture more InfoApps, or roll out new tooling, then it might be wise to hire additional expertise. An expert that accelerates your project with the right knowledge, that helps you to avoid pitfalls, or helps you organize Master Data Management properly for your organization. Our WebFOCUS and iWay experts are ready to help you put your BI solution together even more effectively.
If you’re not sure about WebFOCUS, then consider other business intelligence suppliers. We’ve analyzed and evaluated the main BI suppliers, so you can find out what they can do for you.
Want to learn more about Information Builders and BI?
Please contact us if you think you need to take the next step in the field of BI and Master Data Management.