How to Evaluate Web-based BI Solutions

Web-based business intelligence (BI) is no longer an anomaly: organizations are ready for BI solutions that go beyond Web portals. However, when selecting Web-based BI applications, organizations must evaluate architecture, rather than features or functions. What differentiators do you need to look for before embarking on a full-scale BI implementation? And which vendors offer the solution your organization truly needs?

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Web-based BI is becoming mainstream. Organizations want to deploy BI solutions beyond Web portals. This report identifies emerging trends that make Web-based BI more pervasivewithin the industry, as well as the features and functionality to identify essential criteria in reporting and analysis, online analytical processing (OLAP), platform, and Web-based development and admin- istration tools. When selecting solutions in the emerging BI web space, organizations will evaluate architecture rather than features or functions. This report defines a framework to evaluate Web-based BI solutions. 

This report identifies and rates vendors across the following four areas:

Web-based development and administration tools 
Development tools allow IT administrators to develop end user reports, OLAP cubes, analyses, and performance management tools to allow end users to leverage BI tools. 

OLAP capabilities 
OLAP allows users to analyze data using dimensions and drilling through information to create different views to capture the required data. Generally, OLAP cubes are relegated to super users. However, they can be used to interact with reports and provide users with the ability to create customized reports by developing their cube views based on their business needs. 

Platform - technology and administration capabilities
Web-based platforms allow both administrators and end users to access and to modify BI requirements within a purely Web-based environment. Thus, the BI platform can be accessed via the Web, enabling access from the Internet without having to access an Intranet or internal network. 

Reporting and analysis 
In many cases, reporting and analysis represents the bulk of BI tools that are used by organizations. Organizations require the flexibility to analyze data in multiple ways, to change reporting parameters, to update data in real time to help drive business decisions, and to manage reports based on user responsibility and collaboration among teams. Reporting and analysis includes both pre-canned and ad- hoc reporting capabilities.


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