Over the last several years, the features and functionality of business intelligence (BI) applications have significantly evolved. This evolution includes greater ease of use, the ability to generate complex structured query language (SQL) statements and enhanced administration capabilities. In addition, users have greater access to information than ever before through the use of Web-enabled BI applications. The evolution of BI applications toward the Web has been rapid, and the features and functionality of those that are Web- enabled lag behind the non-Web versions. Each version serves a purpose, and understanding the differences is critical to aligning user needs with the appropriate technology.

The configuration of software applications can have a signification impact on the information systems environment of an organization. Understanding how software applications work from a technical architecture perspective can help to identify potential issues as well as which configuration would be best for the users of an organization. Most BI tools currently have two widely accepted versions of the software: full client, or non-Web, and thin client, or Web- enabled, applications.

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