Information Builders Announces New Release of WebFOCUS

  • Written By: M. Reed
  • Published: June 13 2000

Information Builders Announces New Release of WebFOCUS
M. Reed - June 13, 2000

Event Summary

Information Builders Inc., (IBI) has released a new suite of business intelligence tools designed to support e-business. Release 4.3 of the product has been re-engineered and enabled for wireless and XML, in addition to integration with Microsoft Office 2000 and BackOffice 2000. Announced at their Summit 2000 User Conference, IBI hopes the product will appeal to non-technical users of business intelligence technologies.

IBI states that they have designed WebFOCUS v.4.3 with the needs of the non-technical user in mind. "As the Web becomes the information delivery vehicle of choice, more and more users of Business Intelligence technology are non-technical," says David Sandal, Vice President of Information Builders' Business Intelligence Products Group. "Today, a majority of Business Intelligence users are from such areas as sales, marketing, and accounting. They need to generate online reports and conduct business and financial analysis without depending on the IT department."

Among the new features for WebFOCUS v.4.3 are an improved user interface, enhanced graphics capability, user-enabled report scheduling/distribution and integration with Microsoft Excel 2000. "We've made it easy for the non-technical user to generate reports in the ubiquitous Excel environment," explains Dan Ortolani, Director of the WebFOCUS Products Division. "WebFOCUS is the only Business Intelligence system that can output fully styled reports into Excel 2000 and generate Excel 2000 pivot tables for quick and easy multi-dimensional analysis. Virtually everyone has Excel on their desktop and most use it on a daily basis. We've definitely flattened the learning curve for Business Intelligence."

Market Impact

Web-enabled business intelligence aimed at non-technical end users is the path most major BI vendors are taking at this time. IBI has a long-standing background in the field of business intelligence, given their Focus query tool and EDA/SQL gateway products. The new release of WebFOCUS should help them sell into their existing customer base, as well as leverage sales to new customers for their other products. Using Excel 2000 pivot tables for multi-dimensional analysis is a wise move, and should ease the sales cycle, given that most major customers are already Microsoft front and back office customers.

User Recommendations

Customers contemplating new business intelligence solutions should consider Information Builders on a long list of potential vendors. Information Builder's ties into Microsoft Excel, Explorer, and OLAP Server (a component of Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 and 2000), will provide them with a cost advantage over some of their competition. The company's experience with enterprise middleware (supporting over 85 databases on 35 platforms) provides them with expertise in many areas that will assist customers in their integration efforts.

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