Business intelligence vendor Information Builders announced last month the release of WebFocus for Google Maps, a new built-in WebFocus feature that allows users to visualize assets geographically within the popular Google Maps interface. “This product helps turn WebFocus into a platform for mashups,” said Jake Freivald, vice-president of corporate marketing.
The initiative was driven by customers who didn’t want to deal with complex, pricey geographic information systems, but, said Freivald, still saw the value of geographic information. “Almost every business problem has a geographical element to it,” he said.
And Google Maps seemed like the most logical choice for a user interface, due to its popularity in the consumer space, thus tying into the Information Builders’ oft-touted corporate strategy — and current trend — of “pervasive BI” distributed and easily used by as many people as possible.
The product is geared toward businesses that wish to see their assets, map-style. Target markets for the product include any company wishing to track assets, and include those in the supply chain field, along with lending, retail, and government entities. The different-coloured bubbles can represent satisfaction levels or act as other indicators. The user can select what information is tied to the markers, and what data and reports are generated by the end-user clicking on them.
Once the user engages with a mapped asset by clicking on the bubble and its pop-up, the WebFocus functionality comes in, showing the user the requested data about it. Customers, for instance, could track which warehouses were making timely and undamaged shipments, which would be in green, while any with escalating problems in that area could be tagged as red, indicating if it is part of a regional trend. WebFocus’s Active Reports can issue analysis and reports on the assets, too.