Quadrant Debuts New BI Bundle: Business i
September 9, 2014 Alex Woodie
Quadrant Software last week unveiled Business i, a new bundle of business intelligence and reporting tools aimed at IBM i shops. The new offering, which has its roots in the BI tools of BCD Software (now a Quadrant subsidiary), helps users extract data from DB2 for i and other sources, create ad hoc reports, and deliver them via secure Web-based dashboards–all without requiring much involvement by the IT staff.
Business i provides a collection of BI and reporting tools aimed at helping connect business people with the data they need to make decisions. The software features a Web-based interface that guides power users through the process of crafting the backend SQL queries that gather data from databases, including DB2 for i, MySQL, and SQL Server. The data is populated into pre-built templates for common charts and KPIs, which can be accessed from dashboards that display on any device with a Web browser.
“With Business i you get real-time access to IBM i reports and dashboards from a secure Web-based interface,” says Quadrant brand manager Jon Jeuck in a video posted to the company’s website. “With a few clicks you can perform year-to-date sales analysis to see if you’re hitting revenue targets, or track sales to see how much inventory you’ll need, drill into details, and export to Excel.”
The software, which is based on BCD’s Clover Query, EZ-Pickin’s, and Nexus Portal tools, is primarily aimed at power users who are comfortable working with existing reports and perhaps modifying queries. For crafting new queries and writing custom SQL, there is a Windows development tool that’s designed for use by skilled and experienced IT staff. In addition to tapping into relational databases, Business i can extract data from just about any existing computer-generated reports. Those could include reports originating as IBM i spool files, as well as data in other formats.
Bundling the different point products into a single offering makes sense for customers, says Quadrant CEO Steve Woodard. “Business i is a cohesive, IBM i-focused solution set that meets a wide variety of BI requirements and eliminates the need to purchase solutions from multiple vendors,” Woodard says in a press release. “It can also access all IBM i data regardless of whether it’s entered into a green screen, ERP, or a Web application developed with BCD solutions or other tools.”
Business i is a response to the rising demand for BI tools among IBM i shops, says Quadrant’s director of marketing, Marcel Sarrasin. “We know that people want easier access to data, in a format that is easier to digest (dashboards and Web), and be able to access from mobile devices,” he tells IT Jungle via email “Business i accomplishes all those things.”