BI vendors focus on analytics

Keeping the trend of analytical applications alive, a number of BI (business intelligence) vendors this week will issue new or updated products.

Cognos Inc. on Monday will detail new software to run with Oracle Corp.’s e-business applications, and announce a partnership with WhiteLight Systems Inc. that concentrates on predictive modeling. Business Objects SA will follow on Tuesday with the launch of three new modules that work within its BI framework to tailor analytical applications to specific markets.

Cognos’ suite of analytic applications for Oracle’s eBusiness Suite enables users to analyze data from different systems, including sales, general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory, and procurement, said Scott Lawrence, director of analytical applications at Cognos, in Ottawa, Ontario.

Through a partnership with WhiteLight, in Palo Alto, Calif., Cognos is adding predictive analysis to its PowerPlay analysis and reporting program. Also on the predictive modeling front, last week e.Intelligence, in Minneapolis, updated its e.Intelligence Suite of predictive analytics, with a focus on collaboration.

Business Objects, based in San Jose, Calif., is issuing three new modules for supply chain and operations intelligence. The modules are designed to be used with Business Objects’ analytical framework.

“The applications are modular, so they consist of several modules,” said Jeffrey Pease, senior director of product marketing for analytical applications at Business Objects.

Analysts said that the application approach to analytics furthers the idea of making BI accessible to more than just back-office statisticians within the organization. Indeed, nearly every BI company has said over the last several months that the ultimate goal is to make so easy that every employee in a company uses BI software, whether they know it or not.

“BI for the masses is an ongoing trend,” said Philip Russom, an independent industry analyst based in Waltham, Mass. Russom added that most large companies typically have between 3,000 and 5,000 BI users, with some companies as many as 10,000. However, he said the most he has encountered is about 20,000 users within a single company.

“Claims of hundreds of thousands [of BI users within the enterprise] is more like science fiction than current reality,” Russom said.

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