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MicroStrategy and Actuate improve BI information delivery

Two business intelligence (BI) vendors are enhancing their reporting and information delivery repertoires. MicroStrategy yesterday announced additions to its BI platform, and Actuate last week acquired a Java reporting vendor.

Analysts indicated that reporting and information delivery functions are increasingly more important as BI becomes more widespread.

"Information delivery is strategic to BI business platforms," said Dave Folger, a Meta Group analyst.

MicroStrategy released Version 7.1 of its self-titled BI platform with a focus on query and reporting, application integration and easier deployment.

Enhancing the application integration are a new software development kit and OLAP Provider, which enables MicroStrategy to connect to other BI data sources such as Excel, Cognos and Business Objects. Support for Dynamic Hypertext Markup Language (DHTML) enables users to deliver the integrated information.

"We began with Version 7.0 and continued with 7.1 making ours a Web reporting platform," said Sid Banerjee, MicroStrategy's vice-president of marketing.

Turning to Actuate, the company has acquired Java reporting software vendor Tidestone Technologies. The latter's Java-based spreadsheet reporting technology will enable Actuate to provide an Excel-compatible spreadsheet engine.

Susan Aldrich, an analyst at Patricia Seybold Group, last year listed content distribution as one of the five most important content-related tasks.

Furthermore, a study from market research company IDC indicates that by 2004 the content delivery market will reach US$3.7bn (£2.6bn), surpassing the content management market, which is estimated to be worth $2.6 billion in the same year.

"Getting information out to people is important because there are lots of people in an organisation that just need the content and don't need the analytics," said Meta's Folger.

Over the last several months, third-party vendors have also been adding reporting capabilities to their wares. Plumtree and SilverStream, for instance, added information delivery capabilities to their portals.

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