BI vendors enhance reporting, delivery capabilities

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

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

"Information delivery is strategic to BI business platforms," said Dave Folger, an analyst at Stamford, Conn.-based consultancy Meta Group.

To that end, Vienna, Va.-based 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 DHTML (Dynamic HTML) 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, vice president of marketing at MicroStrategy.

South San Francisco, Calif.-based Actuate, for its part, agreed to acquire Tidestone Technologies, a Java reporting software vendor based in Overland Park, Kan. Tidestone's Java-based spreadsheet reporting technology enables Actuate to provide an Excel-compatible spreadsheet engine.

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

Furthermore, a study from Framingham, Mass.-based market research firm IDC indicates that by 2004 the content delivery market will reach US$3.7 billion, surpassing the content management market, which is estimated to weigh in at $2.6 billion that same year.

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

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

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