Former Crystal Reports creator and co-founder of a Canadian business intelligence (BI) company started two years ago said the reason BI has yet to reach the masses is that tools require users to understand where the data is coming from.
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Mark Cunningham, co-founder of Vancouver-based Indicee Inc., said getting data into reports has always been the biggest hurdle for everyday business users, 15 to 20 per cent of whom actually use BI currently as a result.
Indicee takes a different approach to data access, said Cunningham, by having the service-based BI tool sit atop the business’s existing reporting infrastructure, whether that is made up of databases, Excel spreadsheets, etc. The idea is that the available canned reports will extract data directly from the databases atop which it sits.
This eliminates the need to talk to the IT department or a consultant to access that data, he said. “The business users don’t need to know anything about the database to run those reports, they just go into the reports menu and go run … and, boom, it pops up on their screen,” said Cunningham.
With Crystal Reports knowledge in the company DNA, Cunningham said Indicee has the advantage of being able to interpret and understand Crystal Reports in order to extract the data. The goal, he said, is to build atop the existing Crystal Reports user base in the city of Vancouver, a bit like a “Crystal 2.0.”
The fact that Indicee sits atop existing reporting infrastructures means IT departments won’t have to abandon platforms they have grown comfortable with, said Carmi Levy, a London, Ont.-based independent analyst.
But Levy added that Crystal Reports expertise is not as unique to Indicee as the company may like to say. But it does count as table stakes, since many large to medium enterprises already have that in-house skill and have standardized on Crystal Reports, he added.