This is an article from the July 2006 issue of DM Review's Extended Edition. Click on this link for more information on DMR Extended Edition or to download this entire issue in a PDF format. 

REVIEWER: Rick Nucci, chief technology officer for Boomi Software.

BACKGROUND: Boomi Software provides an integration engine that improves the efficiency and effectiveness of midsized businesses by connecting disparate applications and legacy data. We deliver every type of integration a midmarket business needs in one product. Boomi's integration projects are up and running in weeks and don't require a large development staff.

PLATFORMS: The product can be used by clients on a variety of platforms, including Windows/Microsoft SQL Server, Linux/ Oracle and Linux/Apache Derby.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Boomi Software provides B2B and application integration within a single offering, and our clients regularly comment that they derive significantly more value out of their existing applications with our offering. In order to stay ahead of customer demands, we began evaluating reporting solutions in 2005. Our clients, like all IT users, have an insatiable appetite for information. They want to be able to do things such as submit a purchase order to a trading partner through electronic data interchange (EDI) and also generate a PDF document that a business user could read. Our product automatically creates and submits the EDI order from our client's system to their partner's, but creating a nontechnical document that summarizes the order was a different matter. We could create such a report, but as more clients in numerous markets use our offering, satisfying specific reporting requirements could easily become a major drain on development resources. With JReport from Jinfonet, this is no longer a problem. Our clients have best-of-breed reporting, allowing us to focus on building the strength of our integration platform. As user requests arise, we can turn reports around quickly. In fact, customers can create their own reports without needing to use a developer.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Boomi Integration Platform integrates disparate applications, and by using JReport, Boomi can use that data to create event-based documents. This new reporting capability allows clients to generate documents such as invoices, bills of lading, shipment orders, inventory reports, historical sales data as well as many other reports relevant to effective supply chain management.

STRENGTHS: JReport provides numerous strengths, but topping the list is that it is built 100 percent in Java. Because Boomi's offering is also Java based, we were able to embed it as a native part of our application. We can embed a Web archive (WAR) file into our environment, and once installed, JReport doesn't have any separate maintenance requirements. This is important to our customers - a group of companies that cannot afford to adopt products with large maintenance requirements. Additionally, it was important that we have the option to white label the product, meaning that our customers will not be aware they are using a separate product. When JReport is invoked as part of the Boomi platform, it does not launch another application, as you would need to using other reporting offerings.

WEAKNESSES: When customers use our offering to connect to a database, our platform is configured to connect directly to that data source. When JReport is embedded, it defaults to its own APIs to access the data. This requires overriding the product defaults in order to have JReport work through our connections.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Our decision was based on three factors: which offering was most complimentary to ours, which one provided a seamless user experience and which offer required the minimum amount of effort to develop valuable reports while also being easy to maintain and deploy. Based on its Java architecture, ease of deployment and usability, JReport was the obvious option. It fit our needs better than other products. In addition to meeting technical requirements, Jinfonet provided the intangibles we're looking for - customer commitment and quick response times.

DELIVERABLES: JReport provides reports that can be rendered in the most widely used formats, including PDF, Excel and RTF, and they can be delivered via any of Boomi's communication options, such as email, file transport protocol (FTP) and HTTP.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Jinfonet has been extremely responsive in supporting us through our implementation. They embody the same responsiveness and dedication we provide our own customers. As with all software offerings, we have experienced an occasional bug, but the difference with Jinfonet is we know they will address the problem quickly and thoroughly. More often than not, they will turn around a patch the next day. We felt strongly that their team was solidly aligned with and pushing toward the success of our deployment.

DOCUMENTATION: JReport is very easy to install and run. Much of the product is so intuitive you do not need to rely on documentation. That being said, their documentation is already strong and continues to expand.

JReport
Jinfonet Software
9420 Key West Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850
(301) 838-5560
www.jinfonet.com

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