REVIEWER: Keith Mericle, president and CEO of Innovent Solutions.
BACKGROUND: Innovent Solutions provides expert consulting to companies deploying business intelligence solutions, primarily focused in the area of information delivery through enterprise reporting and analytics for ERP, CRM and other integrated corporate systems.
PLATFORMS: Windows NT, Sun Solaris, IBM AIX and HP- UX.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Our clients request a single, scalable solution to empower 100 percent of their diverse user base with enterprise information in a secure, timely and cost-effective manner. The problem we have encountered until this point is that we could not find a single business intelligence platform that was applicable to the information needs of the casual user, the power user and the business user, and scalable enough to serve their needs across the enterprise. With Actuate 7, we now have a single platform that enables us to cater to these user types and present them with appropriate interfaces for a variety of applications including information portals, dashboards, business analytic applications, and Web and spreadsheet reporting applications. In addition, our clients' IT departments approve of this strategy because it allows them to remain in control of user access, security, data sources and infrastructure.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Actuate 7 provides query, reporting and analysis via a platform consisting of three major elements: data management, a server to deliver content and content development environments. The Actuate e.Report Designer Professional and Information Object Designer constitute the core data access and reporting infrastructure for information applications. They integrate information applications with the rest of the enterprise IT infrastructure. Actuate iServer manages the generation and secure distribution of reporting and analytic content to large numbers of users. Actuate 7 also provides a set of products (e.Report Option, e.Report Designer, e.Spreadsheet Option, e.Spreadsheet Designer, e.Analysis Option, Actuate Query) that extend Web pages and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to empower 100 percent of users with enterprise information in formats of their choice (e.g., XLS, PDF, DHTML).
STRENGTHS: Actuate 7 ensures reduced hardware and maintenance costs for serving the information needs of large numbers of users because it provides a scalable information server. Our clients experience increased user satisfaction and reduced support and training costs, attributable to a zero-training analysis and reporting experience for users. Actuate 7 leverages their existing expertise and skill sets. Because users can be empowered in a controlled fashion with access to enterprise information from all applications, IT experiences a reduced workload, can enforce tight security and maintain higher user productivity. Actuate 7 provides the flexibility to meet all user requirements via extensible tools and APIs for developers. In addition, development and maintenance costs are reduced because of Actuate's true object- oriented development framework. Actuate 7 provides the flexibility to integrate with any available software infrastructure by providing a complete Web services API.
WEAKNESSES: When implementing Actuate 7, our developers needed to take some time to familiarize themselves with the extensive number of function calls available in the Web services API.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Innovent recommends Actuate 7 because it is the most extensible platform for serving a diverse user base and building the range of applications that our customers demand while ensuring low total cost of ownership.
DELIVERABLES: Actuate 7 enables our client base to serve each of their user communities, while ensuring that their IT departments can still be in control.
VENDOR SUPPORT: We have a solid relationship with Actuate and receive support from Actuate's e.Support group. Some of our suggestions have been incorporated into subsequent releases of the platform.
DOCUMENTATION:The documentation and training that Actuate have provided have enabled us to improve our offerings and develop new reports and functionality.
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