Information Builders Readies Next Release Of WebFocus BI Platform

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IBI is shooting to make the new application generally available in the fourth quarter.

"This release is as much about helping companies formulate their business intelligence strategies as much as it's about the new components of the release," said Michael Corcoran, IBI's chief marketing officer, in an interview.

As evidence, Corcoran pointed to the new data integrity capabilities added to WebFocus 8. Business intelligence initiatives often fail because a company is working with incomplete, error-riddled data. The new WebFocus release incorporates data profiling, real-time data quality management and master data management tools -- technology often sold as separate products by other BI vendors.

"A lot of [BI software] vendors tend to ignore it," Corcoran said, adding that the new data integrity tools work with both business intelligence and operational systems. "We don't think BI systems can just present the data. They have to be responsible for the integrity of the data. We think this is going to give us a competitive advantage."

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IBI's performance management framework software is now fully integrated into WebFocus 8's core BI capabilities and linked to the system's operational reporting and analytical tools. The company has added risk indicators that help companies evaluate risks associated with business decisions. "We're seeing a lot of interest in that," Corcoran said.

The product also includes tools for building predictive analysis applications based on the R programming language, a new business intelligence portal, and updated, role-based dashboard capabilities.

While IBI largely sells its software direct to customers, the company does have a number of resellers and in recent years has been building up the catalog of WebFocus-based analytical applications -- especially for vertical industries -- developed by ISV partners.

New Ajax and Flex controls in the BI platform make it easier to develop rich Internet applications. And the product offers a higher level of security, having achieved Verification Level 3 certification from the Open Web Security Application Security Project.