UPDATE: Information Builders aims with WebFocus 5

NEW YORK – Continuing the trend of business intelligence (BI) vendors answering the enterprise call for real-time data access, Information Builders Inc. has launched WebFocus 5, a Web-enabled version of its flagship BI reporting solution.

The New York-based firm, once a developer of fourth-generation languages for mainframes, has now turned its attention to Web-based information delivery products, data analysis software and integration tools.

In a media briefing Tuesday, Vice-President Michael Corcoran said the new solution offers over 450 new features, including real-time reporting, extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) capabilities, ad-hoc query and portal integration.

This new Java Servlet-based implementation offers the ability to create and publish reports as a Web service, callable from both .Net and Java environments, Corcoran said.

“BI is not something you buy in a box,” Corcoran explained, adding that the solution particularly addresses the financial institution vertical with “improved” financial reporting capabilities.

WebFocus 5 is now more tightly integrated with desktop applications like Microsoft Excel to simplify creation and maintenance of complex financial reports, data consolidation, and report generation, said Kevin Quinn, vice-president, sales and support for Information Builders.

WebFocus 5 now enables enterprises to deliver, based on schedules or alerts, all transactional data – including third-party reports and word processing documents – which can then be integrated into portal that doesn’t accept Java or HTML, or into a data warehouse, Quinn said.

The enhanced financial capabilities have specific appeal to the Royal Bank of Canada, according Andy Hanna. The Montreal-based manager of report management and distribution for the financial institution noted that the Royal Bank currently uses WebFocus and plans to migrate to the latest release.

“This is really cool stuff,” Hanna said, adding that the offering is less labour-intensive in that it allows users to “easily drill down, right to the cell level, and apply your financial rules to a particular result of a financial report.”

Hanna noted, “When you’re saving an Excel file, the formula gets generated in Excel. From there you have a springboard – your spreadsheet is already populated with a formula. Financially speaking, those features are great,” Hanna said.

Information Builders can be found at www.informationbuilders.com.