Increasing Business Intelligence Options for '10

Two new developments in the business intelligence world today.Mindtouch announce a mid market integration with cloud data integration company Snap Logic, and Zoho's online reporting and business intelligence application comes out of beta.
Written by Oliver Marks, Contributor on

Two new developments in the business intelligence world today.

Mindtouch announce a mid market integration with cloud data integration company Snap Logic, and Zoho's online reporting and business intelligence application comes out of beta.

These developments underscore just how fast the heartland of BI is changing, from having to commit to heavy duty, costly on-premise infrastructure to the new generation of on-demand SaaS per seat technologies.

Traditionally, BI technologies provide historic, current, and predictive views of business operations at all scales: business performance management and analytics are key to designing effective business play books.

The big players in the space - SAP with their Business Objects wing, Oracle, IBM and Microsoft are rapidly moving in the direction of greater flexibility along with Salesforce, but these two announcements underscore the increasing options open to business in a tight economy where reducing operating costs is key.

Mindtouch, the open source enterprise intranet, extranet and knowledge base platform vendor offer a new Business Application Integration solution priced at $4,995 through the end of December 2009, 'a massive reduction from the six figure costs of traditional enterprise business intelligence and integration solutions, and can be deployed in minutes instead of the months required by other solutions' to quote their press release.

Gaurav Dhillon, SnapLogic CEO: "A company runs on metrics just as surely as an army marches on its stomach," "We're excited to partner with MindTouch to give every business accurate, integrated information to make 2010 a better year for them for a fraction of the time and money they would spend deploying a solution with legacy, pre-internet products."

'Pre internet' is a valid point for many large business entities - there are countless olde world databases awkwardly hooked up to the new fangled world wide web out there. To be fair the 'pre internet' vendors are offering internet era solutions - but their customers now have much more nuanced options to maximize effectiveness and value going forward from a wide variety of sources.

The Mindtouch and SnapLogic alliance adds to the wealth of business operations mash up possibilities a business can build on this powerful platform, and is in many ways provides the core business value around which a powerful collaborative network can be built. A criticism of the 'Enterprise 2.0' movement this year has been questionable adoption of wikis, blogs and conversations on Twitter which don't show much evidence of effective use of employee time and budget money. Mindtouch, as I've written previously, are a cost effective open source solution for those prepared to run their own infrastructure.

For those seeking pure browser based services who are prepared to entrust their data to someone else's servers there is now another reason to look at Zoho as a viable alternative to Google Apps, the business offering from the giant advertising company. The 'never mind the quality feel the width' aspects of Zohos' massive suite of offerings gets more depth with this announcement.

Zoho Reports helps businesses get better insight into their data with drag and drop reporting and analytics, the ability to push, fetch and query data from Oracle, SQL, Access and other databases in Secure Socket Layer (HTTPS) sessions through 'high security' datacenters with redundancy, backup and continuity.

This video hits the high points of Zoho Reports - pricing starts at $15 per month for 250,000 rows and 2 users and goes up to 2 million rows/20 users for $95 per month.

With the ever expanding explosion of structured data, cost effective technology to make sense of it all and provide views that will yield competitive advantage are increasingly key for business. The unstructured contextual collaboration around this data is coming of age, and perceptive businesses are starting to understand the power this gives them.

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