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Volume 12, Number 9 -- April 10, 2012

Info Builders Adds SaaS Features to BI Software

Published: April 10, 2012

by Alex Woodie

Information Builders last week unveiled new features in its flagship WebFOCUS business intelligence software that are designed to help it run in a software as a service (SaaS) environment.

WebFOCUS deserves special attention by IBM i shops for two reasons. First, it's one of the few tier-one business intelligence applications that actually runs on the IBM i server. Secondly, it forms the basis of DB2 Web Query, which IBM sells into the IBM i customer base. Many (but not all) features that first appear in WebFOCUS eventually make it into DB2 Web Query, where they can be utilized by a larger number of IBM i shops.

Information Builders' latest push is making its software more SaaSy. While the vendor has supported SaaS deployments of its software for some time, the increased uptake of SaaS and cloud applications led the New York City company to bolster WebFOCUS in this area.

For starters, WebFOCUS can now be run in multi-tenant mode, giving SaaS providers the capability to host multiple customers on the same instance of the WebFOCUS software.

New security features gives customers more fine-grained control over the ways that WebFOCUS is used. SaaS vendors and other WebFOCUS users can now activate features like ad-hoc reporting, report scheduling, and content sharing to just a portion of their customers, but not others.

Getting a WebFOCUS SaaS environment up and running should be easier thanks to new tenant "onboarding" templates that automate the process of creating content folders, groups, roles, and security policies. SaaSy WebFOCUS users can also now tie users' roles, the content they can access, and their data sources to specific LDAP groups, which should also improve security.

Lastly, new customization features enable customers to make their WebFOCUS BI portals look just like their existing Web portals.

These features will be particularly useful to fellow SaaS vendors like Chrome River Technologies, which uses WebFOCUS to bolster its online expense reporting and spend management solutions for law firms.

Alan Rich, the CEO and co-founder of Chrome River, says his company was adamant that its SaaS partner also understand the economics of the SaaS business. "This was a key component of our decision to select Information Builders as our partner for incorporating BI capabilities into our expense reporting and invoice automation solution and we realize the benefits of this investment on a daily basis," Rich says in a press release.

Other companies that have adopted WebFOCUS in a SaaS environment include: CDS Global, a provider of circulation management solutions; First Rate Investment Systems; Insperity; Jobs2Web; Nvision Global; and Renesas Electronics America (formerly NEC).


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