Firms improve BI reporting tools

Business intelligence software suppliers MicroStrategy, Actuate and QlikTech are reinforcing their reporting tools with...

Business intelligence software suppliers MicroStrategy, Actuate and QlikTech are reinforcing their reporting tools with simplified deployment, centralised management and better data presentation.

MicroStrategy will unveil its Report Services this week, which are designed to simplify the deployment of BI apps to employees, customers and suppliers.

The tool's web interface will allow users to receive personalised versions of reports such as scorecards, managed metrics and invoices, as well as statements for customers.

The design interface will allow users to create reports without programming or outside help and can be delivered to the web, networked printers, e-mail file servers and portals.

Universal Pictures has been using a beta version of MicroStrategy’s technology for 250 employees in its home-entertainment division.

Users have analysed a wide variety of information more thoroughly, such as sales and return data and inventory and advertising costs, said Laura Paoletti, senior director of IT at Universal's home-entertainment division.

“We’re able to present the information in a format that is usable over the web or the desktop. User-defined web reporting allows completely personalised versions of reports," Paoletti said.

Earlier this month, Actuate unveiled an enhanced version of its MAO (Multi-Application Option), designed to allow enterprises to centralise BI by managing multiple applications on a single platform architecture.

Regional transportation company Pitt Ohio Express is using Actuate’s MAO to centralise BI for both internal users and customers and to ensure the accuracy of its reports delivered to 2,000 users daily, said Kent Szalla, IT corporate business systems manager.

“Transactional systems cannot make assumptions on trends because a lot of data is purged just so a transaction can go through,” Szalla said.

“We have some power business users who might run a report, and IT might run a report; and they get two different answers. If that gets in the hands of a customer, it is a bad thing.”

But with centralised BI, the company can standardise answers to queries while enforcing security policies and deflecting the impact of multiple report requests from users so that systems do not go down.

QlikTech has also rolled out the latest version of its QlikView 6.02 BI software designed to give thin web clients ad hoc reporting capabilities and enhanced dashboard and collaborative features.

"A lot of these suppliers are finally realising that the broader market is in more standardised reporting capabilities," said Wayne Eckerson, dorector of research at The Datawarehousing Institute. "All people really want is reporting with just a little bit of Olap underneath - a drillable report."

Heather Havenstein writes for Infoworld 


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