Analytics. Just nine letters, but nine letters that can mean the difference between success and failure the difference between surviving in the 21st century economy and succumbing to the global competition. Brio Technology stands ready to assist enterprises in successfully evolving their information technology infrastructures in order to empower everyone in the enterprise to easily access, utilize and analyze the information required to make better business decisions.
Yorgen Edholm, president and CEO of Brio Technology, exhibits an e-enthusiasm for the company he leads, a company that has developed exciting, mission-critical software for the e-business marketplace since it acquired SQRIBE Technologies in 1999. "The merger enables Brio to deliver a full range of business intelligence capabilities, from robust enterprise reporting to a complete development platform for analytical applications," states Edholm.
"The merger was very much a merger of equals," says Edholm. "The companies were about the same size and at almost the same stage in their life cycles as well. It was a very well-conceived merger for several reasons. There was little product overlap, so none of the products had to be sacrificed. All of the products continued, and they now have new and better spaces. There was also very little customer overlap, so there was great synergy for integrating the sales forces. But," Edholm admits, "a merger like this takes a tremendous amount of energy. We have an awesome, fantastic story to tell, but we've been so busy that we haven't had time to spread the news."
The ubiquity of the Internet, a powerful platform for information dissemination, has enabled new and unique business-to-business interactions. In the world of e-business, it has become imperative that organizations provide their partners and suppliers with access to relevant, real-time information to facilitate a successful relationship.
John Schroeder, Brio's executive vice president of products and services, explains, "What I see happening is that our customers are really changing the way they do business. The catalyst for change is that e-business requires that they expose their business processes outside of the firewall to a very dynamic set of suppliers and distribution partners. We're making it possible for them to partcipate as part of a demand or supply chain."
"We have a unique advantage when it comes to B2B beyond the firewall," continues Edholm. "But we're not B2B in the limited sense that we work with business-to-business transaction data. We are very different. I think of transactions as the blood that goes into the body. Without that blood, there is nothing. But how do you decide where you're going? You need a nervous system, and Brio has built the nervous system for B2B."
The business intelligence market has undergone dramatic growth and evolution as end users from executives to sales support staff discovered what could be accomplished once an organization's data became more accessible. Edholm explains, "One of the key problems organizations faced was how to make the corporate databases available to decision makers. The very first way that people did that was by doing report writing. While this moved data from the database to the decision maker, it was painfully slow. There was often a several month delay from when you asked for a report to when you got it. By then, other information requirements had surfaced. The next step, which developed in the 1992-1993 time frame, was the development of query tools that enabled end users to query a database and receive reports quickly. The problem was that in order to use query tools, you didn't have to be a programmer, but you did have to understand databases. You had to be a power user, and even the largest companies only had a couple hundred power users. Four years later, in 1997, the Web phenomenon started to be embraced by corporate America, and Brio moved its solutions to the Web. The Web provided a much better infrastructure for connecting people to databases. Brio was the first of the business intelligence companies that realized this was not just a better way of doing client/server, but a fundamentally different way of doing business. With Brio, companies could connect and support thousands of users getting to the data in data warehouses and data marts. Normal business users were able to query the database, navigate and drill down for more detailed information," states Edholm.
By capitalizing on the Internet's power, Edholm has led Brio to the forefront of the "e" technology marketplace. "Our old alma mater market the business intelligence market has transformed into what I call the business analytics market. I like to describe Brio by explaining that we build dashboards that can be deployed both inside and outside the firewall. We can do it better than anybody else, and we can scale better than anybody else. Dashboards are so attractive because everybody wants to know how they are doing without scrolling through reports or charts. When you have critical success indicators for a decision maker in the dashboard, it is very easy to see anything out of the ordinary. And, if something is out of the ordinary, you can drill down very rapidly to determine the problem. We can build that in a drag- and-drop environment in a couple of hours when competing technologies may take weeks or months. We can more easily tailor reports for different kinds of decision makers. And, because we have a portal, we can take it beyond the firewall in an open manner. The portal can contain not only Brio information, but Oracle, Microsoft or SAP and unstructured information such as documents, spreadsheets and HTML. It has been designed to be very open, and security is built in. Depending upon who you are, you can access different information, different links. Our portal provides a very customized experience which when combined with a dashboard becomes a very compelling, and also very differentiated, powerful tool," states Edholm.
Yorgen Edholm, president and CEO of Brio Technology
Brio's flagship product, Brio ONE combines the strengths of Brio and SQRIBE in the areas of business intelligence, enterprise reporting and enterprise information portal software. Explaining that Brio ONE provides numerous advantages Schroeder says, "With Brio ONE, an enterprise can implement a single-source solution that supports the development and delivery of a range of decision-processing applications from personal query and reporting to strategic analytical applications."
Schroeder adds, "We have some really interesting implementations in production. Doing business over the Web raises business issues completely different than the issues that face brick-and-mortar companies. Companies are becoming more and more like commodities. Geographic location is disappearing as a differentiator because with the Internet it doesn't really matter if you are a block away or a mile away or a thousand miles away. Price comparisons are a click away. Personal interaction is missing, so decision making based on intuition is gone. Information is becoming the key differentiator. By providing business analytics through Brio ONE, our customers can dynamically interact with their partners and suppliers in real time over the Web. Credit Acceptance Corporation and AutoNation are a couple of interesting deployments. They are deploying Brio ONE to automobile dealers nationwide, showing them how the different rates and leasing plans are working. Thus, as they compete for business with local banks, they can update the plans as necessary, very dynamically in real time over the Web."
"When I talk to the brick-and-mortar companies," says Edholm, "they're very aware of the competitive force of small, fast moving, low threshold companies entering their space. If the smaller companies work together through information technology, they can provide the same service as the larger, established companies. We like to think of ourselves as an information solutions dealer for these new worlds," says Edholm. "Whoever comes to us, our goal is to help them become a better, more competitive company. It can be either the dot-coms or the brick-and-mortar companies. We have good solutions for both of them. One of our big differentiators," emphasizes Edholm, "is that we can go inside and outside the firewall with exactly the same technology. We are seeing a great increase in e-business development, forcing the brick-and-mortar companies to go beyond where they used to be, and we are becoming mission critical to those companies. In the e-business space, there are no legacy applications to rely on. Everything is new. We have to be able to move fast enough to enable our customers to evolve their business models when they want to do that not on our time schedule. It's both a product challenge and a solutions execution challenge which we have bridged to make our customers successful."
"Nobody really anticipated how incredibly powerful and compelling this B2B market was going to become," adds Edholm. "I believe we are sitting on top of something that is totally non-linear. There is a big tornado building, and we have built the infrastructure and products for the market. The entire Brio team is willing to work hard, and they have a passion for what they are doing. We get excited because we are helping customers work differently, and we know we can make the world a better place with business to business analytics."
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