In our regular BI Tools News feature, Passionned Group, publisher of the popular Business Intelligence Tools Survey 2019, walks you through a selection of the most interesting announcements made by BI vendors over the last two months. This is the May 2019 edition of our BI Tools News Alert. During the SAS Global Forum 2019 in Dallas, SAS made several announcements. Key among these is the company's praiseworthy (if not entirely selfless, of course) attempt to democratize the field of (big) data analytics further. The software vendor is offering free AI software to teachers; launching a new analytics simulation game (at a price); and awarding AI certificates and badges. SAS is also investing in the Boys & Girls Clubs to teach kids the tricks of the programming trade.
Software developers and analysts are experts at coming up with new acronyms and exotic-sounding names for their platforms, BI tools, features, plug-ins, and add-ons. NLG, VBD, MOLAP, BIaaS, federated analytics, augmented intelligence, the Prep Conductor, Vizzes, smart analytics, the list goes on. End-users have the unenviable task of looking past the jargon and trying to judge all new announcements on their own merits. A critical attitude, focusing on the promised functionality, will get you far.
Software developers and analysts are experts at coming up with new acronyms and exotic-sounding names for their platforms, features, plug-ins, and add-ons. NLG, VBD, MOLAP, BIaaS, federated analytics, augmented intelligence, the Prep Conductor, Vizzes, smart analytics, the list goes on. End-users have the unenviable task of looking past the jargon and trying to judge all new announcements on their own merits. A critical attitude, focusing on the promised functionality, will get you far.
The world around you is changing. Your organization is changing. The demands the organization places on management information is also changing. There comes a point where you realize that your current tools are inadequate in this new moment. You need newer, modern Business Intelligence tools. But what should this tool be able to do? Polling the organization reveals a diverse set of needs and wants from the various employees, depending on their role in the organization. You may begin to wonder if there are any tools that meet all your needs.
The Gemiva-SVG Group aids people with a mental, physical, or multiple disability, and people with non-inborn brain damage. Gemiva asked Passionned Group for advice on the architecture and organization of its data warehouse, plus advice on which ETL tool to use. The advice project was completed to great satisfaction, and was rated a 9 out of 10 by Gemiva. There were four main questions plaguing Gemiva that they wanted Passionned Group to answer.
Passionned Group has closely watched the market for Business Intelligence & Analytics for many years. Every year we release more updates of our globally used Business Intelligence Tools Survey and the Passionned Parabola for BI & Analytics. The current edition of the survey has again been completely updated in March 2016 with the latest versions of the available BI tools. The main changes: Yellowfin
The Passionned Parabola™, a part of the annual Business Intelligence Tools Survey by Passionned Group, has revealed that the large traditional IT companies risk losing their position as BI market leader. They lack focus. The vendors who occupy the best positions in the Parabola, namely SAS, MicroStrategy, Qlik, Tableau and Yellowfin BI, are all companies that focus completely on Business Intelligence and Analytics.
Business Intelligence and innovation are two concepts that belong together. However, practice shows that little has changed in the BI world for the last 25 years. We've been building data warehouses for decades with Kimball stars, and most organizations use business intelligence exclusively for reports and ad hoc queries. The real added value of these traditional Business Intelligence applications has disappeared because its technology is hopelessly behind and remains complex for end-users. Where are the promising innovative BI tools that would really align with the market demand?
In this article I’m going to share some of my experiences from the SAS Analyst Conference, May 27 - 29, 2015, in Marbella. I had a one-on-one meeting with Scott Gidley, senior director Research and Development, and we had an interesting discussion about the future of data management, Hadoop, Big Data, data warehouses, and Data Lakes. I see a clear trend in data management and integration: the role of the data warehouse is changing rapidly and a lot of analytics will be done without it. Data warehouse developers should be warned!
With the acquisition of three major BI suites, the BI market is again experiencing a remarkable phase. For a market that has been consolidating for years, it is not something special but, in this particular case, it concerns open source software. This makes it remarkable. The first major question is of a general nature: how can you adopt a product that consists of open source code and a loose, alternative community? This can be achieved by commercializing the support and assigning it to a company, capable to ensure durability.
The Passionned Group Business Intelligence Tools Survey has existed since 2007, and is a 100% vendor neutral market study and comparison report. Many companies use our extensive research report to select the best Business Intelligence platform quickly. The January 2015 edition was recently published. “In fact, its not just an update, many parts have been revised and all the latest versions of the different BI tools are examined”, said Passionned Group managing director, Daan van Beek.
Data discovery solution supplier Qlik has introduced a new and free product: the Qlik Sense Desktop. Qlik Sense Desktop is said to be a simple drag and drop interface for next-generation data visualization on a Windows client. This release is the first part of their QlikView.Next project the company has made available. It is meant to deliver on Qlik’s promise for self-service BI. Integrated in the software is Qlik’s data indexing engine which helps users to find hidden relationships in their data. Storytelling capabilities are also present. There is no limit to the number of apps that can be created with the Sense Desktop. Novice users are accommodated, they can get started with using business intelligence by for example dragging an Excel document into the application. Other data sources are supported as well.
The power and scale of the cloud are used by more and more businesses for faster access to new functionality, reducing capital IT costs and improvement of the use of existing resources. SAS has therefore deployed its analytics into the cloud with the use of Amazon Web Services. This provides extra agility to users of for example SAS Visual Analytics. Big data and Hadoop initiatives can make a critical step forward with the advanced analytic capabilities SAS in the cloud offers.
Global provider of business computing solutions Arrow Enterprise Computing has partnered up with business intelligence and analytics supplier Information Builders. The company will be distributing Informations Builders’ WebFOCUS Express. This solution makes BI benefits available to smaller organizations as users can transform data into knowledge without the need for specific IT skills. Arrow thinks adding WebFOCUS to its portfolio is key to expanding their Analytics Solution Practice. The company will be distributing two versions of WebFOCUS Express to its solution provider network: a software-only version (for IBM power systems running Linux) and an Intel version (running both Windows and Linux). Arrow will also be manufacturing and distributing an IBM Power Systems Linux Appliance version of WebFOCUS in both North America and EMEA.
Conducting location analytics on the fly, that’s what Yellowfin 7.1 is all about. The latest version of this BI platform will be available at the end of August. Glen Rabie, CEO of Yellowfin, says about this product: “World-class location analytics has never been simpler.” Yellowfin thinks it is vitally important for organizations to be able to easily map this information, in their opinion the difficulty of obtaining contextual location-sensitive information, map layers, geometry and GIS data has held many organizations back. Merging location-based and traditional Business Intelligence information will provide context to business data.
Databases, spreadsheets, the internet, there is an overwhelming amount of data available. A new way of harnessing this data and unearthing the insights that inform decisions, has arrived with the release of analytics-application Tableau 8.2. It introduces a feature called Story Points which enables ‘data storytelling’. Tableau was already meant for quick analysis, visualisations of data and sharing information, but these Story Points allow users to create interactive, data-driven stories that they can share with the world if so desired. The Story Points help to add more context, flow and guidance so organizations can tell a better structured story with their data.
Enterprise software platform specialist MicroStrategy reclassified its products, which lead to a simplified productline. The number of products was downgraded from 21 to only 4 value-based pricing products for developers, analysts, power users and consumers. Existing customers will get free updates to the new premium products. These new, cheaper products should, according to MicroStrategy, make it easier for customers to choose the brand for all their needs in the area of business analytics and mobile applications. It’s meant to enhance the customer experience.
Storing high data volumes is easy and cost-effective with the latest big data technologies, but the end-game of analytics is often only an afterthought. Business analytics and data integration platform Pentaho has released version 5.1 that offers enhanced capabilities for scaling up big data operations. Specialised IT skills to prepare data and perform analytics are not required as Pentaho 5.1 helps to the gap from data to analytics. It offers code-free analytics directly on MongoDB, which accelerates and simplifies the data preparation process and it offers full support for Hadoop project YARN.
A decade ago the vast majority of data warehouse systems were hand crafted, but the market for ETL software has steadily grown and the majority of practitioners now use ETL tools in place of hand-coded systems. Does it make sense to hand-code (SQL) a data warehouse today, or is an ETL tool a better choice? What are the 7 biggest benefits of using an ETL tool? We now generally recommend using an ETL tool, but a custom-built approach can still make sense, especially when it is model-driven. This publication summarizes the seven biggest benefits of ETL tools and offers guidance on making the right choice for your situation.
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.
Birst, the BI-platform in the cloud, has announced a partnership with CloudBase Services. Together they will deliver Birst’s enterprise-ready cloud business intelligence (BI) solution for business managers. Birst’s end-to-end platform combined with the consulting services provided by CloudBase Services should enable business users to make data-based decisions. Debbie Taylor, President and CEO, CloudBase Services, says: “CloudBase Services’ clients are often challenged to fully make sense of multi-channel data sources. By partnering with Birst, CloudBase Services’ is empowering customers to make smarter business decisions. Birst lets business managers find the root cause of complex problems and operate more profitably.”
Users of the popular open source collection of machine learning algorithms R and Weka can broaden their view of customer behavior with the new Pentaho Data Science Pack. This toolkit will speed up the data flow process with analytics and allows data scientists to spend more time on advanced and predictive analytics. The Data Science Pack will be available from Pentaho this summer. Ken Krooner, President at ESRG says: “There was a gap in the market until now and people like myself were piecing together solutions to help with the data preparation, cleansing and orchestration of analytic data sets. The Pentaho Data Science Pack fills that gap to operationalize the data integration process for advanced and predictive analytics. Using Weka with PDI, we use all equipment data sources to enable early prediction of potential machinery failure.”
Oracle has optimized its in-memory capabilities across applications, middleware, databases and systems. This increases the transactional performance and it enables organizations to discover business insights in real-time, where this could take hours before. Hundreds of end-users have tested the in-memory for over 9 months. Yahoo was one of the companies that beta-tested and states that it can even be used on their largest data warehouses. Oracle claims that deploying the In-Memory Database with any existing Oracle Database-compatible application is easy. No alterations to these applications are required. It is fully integrated with Oracle Database's scale-up, scale-out, storage tiering, availability and security technologies.
Provider of embedded business intelligence and reporting software Jaspersoft Corporation has been bought by TIBCO Software. TIBCO is a global supplier of infrastructure and business intelligence software. The combination of the two companies’ offerings allow TIBCO to cover the whole of the analytics market while providing value to the combined set of customers and prospects. The continuation of Jaspersoft's open source mission is not yet clear.
In the third quarter of 2014 a free desktop version of QlikView.Next will be released by Personal Edition download. In addition this desktop client includes a free cloud service for small group sharing of analysis. Users of these Personal Edition of QlikView business analytics could build customized dashboards by just dragging and dropping. These features, so-called Natural Analytics, won’t be available in the user interface of the server and enterprise functionality of the complete platform until the second half of 2014.
A suite of end-to-end SAP Big Data services has been made available to identify and use data-driven business opportunities. The SAP Big Data services, through to the ongoing management of a Big Data environment, range from short-term to ongoing strategic advice, advanced analytics, data science consulting and implementation support. This covers the entire end-to-end process and life cycle. Stefan Schoepfel, global vice president Big Data and Analytics Services, SAP says: “Big Data solutions create opportunities for businesses to expand sales of existing products, increase the rate of speed they bring products to market, innovate new business models to better service their customers and help reduce operating costs."
Each day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated by a broad variety of sources. IBM believes data is the newest resource for competitive advantages and analytics are its key. [global name="Press release warning"] On March 27 the company announced having plans to commit over 100 million dollars to build upon its portfolio on this resource. IBM expanded it’s big data capabilities for customer experience and plans to add another 1.000 employees worldwide to its payroll. Ten new Experience Labs around the world will be opened, amongst others in Groningen, New York and Bangalore, to present clients with the opportunity to work side-by-side with IBM’s experts.
Massive volumes of structured and unstructured data from business applications, machines, social media and more accumulate in organizations each day. The challenge is to exploit the value of this information within the context of end-to-end processes such as procure to pay, order to cash, idea to offering and plan to inventory. [global name="Press release warning"] SAP HANA’s intelligent business operations bundle addresses the struggle that many organizations have to gain one single view of their processes and make use of Big Data in a way that empowers line-of-business users to improve their operations.
Informatica’s Cloud Spring 2014 is now available. Ash Kulkarni, senior vice president and general manager of Data Integration at Informatica, calls it a game-changer.[global name="Press release warning"]IT developers get a drag-and-drop palette for advanced integration scenarios and line-of-business applications users get a wizard-based, self-service interface – all in one unified design environment.
Cloud-based enterprise-caliber business intelligence platform Birst has teamed up with solution provider Audaxium to accommodate their NetSuite users. The integration of Birst with NetSuite applications enables organizations to get more out of their ERP data with fast access to information and analysis through automatic creation and delivery of reports. [global name="Press release warning"] As customers were increasingly demanding the ability to analyze their ERP data across different business applications and data sources to make better business decisions based on instantly created detailed charts and reports, the partnership of Audaxium and Birst seemed logical.
BOARD International was founded in 1994 in Lugano, Switzerland, and delivers tool kits for Corporate Performance Management and Business Intelligence. Today there are 8 offices worldwide. [global name="Press release warning"] BOARD has released version 8.1 in January 2014. This version also allows for mobile use, on iOS as well as Windows 8. The main focus for this release was supporting large global deployments of BOARD and thus a solid back-end.
Dynamics CRM Online customers can easily load their data into excel, with the new Power Query Microsoft provided last December. [global name="Press release warning"] It already enabled users of Office and Office 365 to query and analyze data, but this update lets the Power BI suite of tools reach the fastest growing portion of the Dynamics CRM customer base. After pouring the ‘power of the cloud’ into excel using the OData feed, visualisations can be made using Power View. This offers lots of new possibilities for users to connect with data.
Jaspersoft is an open source BI-platform, initially created by a Java-developer whom was asked to enhance an application by embedding reporting capabilities. He considered most of the well-known products in the marketplace too expensive or causing a lot of problems when integrating with Java, so he decided to create a reporting tool by himself. [global name="Press release warning"] Named after the crystal Jasper – and with Ja referring to Java - the product is now a commercial product, covering all BI aspects end-to-end. Still Jaspersoft is open source. Jaspersoft is maintained, enhanced and innovated by a community with more than 225 members. It has been downloaded more than 14 million times and used in 100 countries by over 14 thousand organizations.
The maximum number of points awarded in our ETL tools & Data Integration Survey to an ETL tool for its ease-of-use was eleven. A maximum of two points was awarded for each of the four attributes, indicated by one or more plus (+) signs, and points were allocated depending on the number of days of training suggested by the vendors (less training required – more points for Ease of Use).If the verdict was negative indicated by one or more minus (-) signs, points were deducted. If, for example, ease of use, WYSIWYG, and logical order earned a plus sign and screen design a minus sign, the tool was awarded two points (one point for each plus sign, minus one point for the minus sign). Since it can take considerable time to improve the usability of a product we have compared the product (where possible) over a three year period. The maximum number of points was 11.
Aurora Fashions, famous for brands such as Oasis, Coast and Warehouse have chosen BOARD as their strategic BI solution. [global name="Press release warning"] Main reasons are, that BOARD is able to provide real time enhanced visibility across the business and delivers self-service analytics, reports, dashboards and performance management to the business. Aurora Fashions was searching for an enterprise-wide, agile and integrated solution that is easy to use.