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We are currently looking for a best-in-class, pure Web-based BI tool for reporting, ad hoc and analysis needs.

  • Joe Oates, Sid Adelman, Chuck Kelley, Clay Rehm, Les Barbusinski, Scott Howard, Adrienne Tannenbaum
  • August 22 2003, 1:00am EDT


We are currently looking for a best-in-class, pure Web-based BI tool for reporting, ad hoc and analysis needs. Any thoughts or suggestions?


Sid Adelman's Answer: The usual suspects all have Web capabilities and their functions will continue to leapfrog each other. What will differentiate them is their support. Some are good, some not so good. Spend time checking references and drill down on their level of support.

Les Barbusinski's Answer: That's a very subjective question. Define "best in class." It depends on what your requirements are. Cognos PowerPlay is the most widely implemented BI tool worldwide. Business Objects and MicroStrategy offer the most comprehensive suite of BI tools (i.e., alerts, complex metrics, portal interfaces, SDKs, multichannel report distribution, etc.). Hyperion's Essbase and SAS offer the most vertical (industry-specific) BI applications. And so on. Which of these is the "best" BI tool? You decide.

Adrienne Tannenbaum's Answer: Latest and greatest are out or coming out in the next month. I would be happy to recommend some offline.

Scott Howard's Answer: Today, they all seem to have Web enabled their tools, some more that others. Only you can assess the degree of Web enablement that you really need. Take a look at solutions from the big BI tool vendors, Cognos, Business Objects, Brio and MicroStrategy.

Chuck Kelley's Answer: It depends on what genre of product that your user community needs to do. I would start my search at and click on vendor listings on the left hand side. Then choose the category "Web analytics."

Joe Oates' Answer: Most BI presentation tools have both a client-server and Web-based capability. Each has its pros and cons. My advice is to contact the tool vendors and ask for a demonstration and compare each one based on your organizations scoring criteria. I have worked on projects using Web-based interfaces from Business Objects, Cognos and MicroStrategy - each client thought that they had chosen the best in class.

Clay Rehm's Answer: I would not base your solution to this problem on someone else's recommendation unless they understand your organization's requirements. You must perform your own evaluation of these tools and select what fits the needs of your organization.

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