Actuate has been known well for their long history of delivering enterprise class enterprise reporting and business intelligence technologies. Last year Actuate released a major milestone in version 10 which brought forward significant advancements to the interactivity for improved usability along with tighter integration from the Open Source BIRT technologies into the commercially licensed Actuate products. As well the advancement of using Javascript and support for Rich Internet Application (RIA) technologies like Adobe Flash was essential to bringing forward a whole class of charting and analytic representations.
The key step for Actuate many years ago was leading the Open Source effort called BIRT that is part of Eclipse movement to provide an easier method to help developers integrate BI and reporting technology into applications and platforms. It also helps individuals and organizations gain access to a developer community and specific BIRT and use the software at no cost until you determine you need a support or service agreement or need to purchase more advanced functionality. I have indicated the importance of Open Source as a business technology priority for 2009. In fact the advancement of BIRT across the world has also Actuate integrating the project name of BIRT into the actual Actuate products to be the umbrella naming across their product line. Actuate has found that users of BIRT have been advancing into the commercially licensed products for broader needs in organizations.
Actuate has stepped forward now their advancement into the new generation of technology called Information Applications. This class of applications is focused on providing access to information in the form and context required by the individuals receiving it from customers and consumers to employee and business partners. This is not new to Actuate customers have been deploying for some time this class of applications that is not transactional and not focused on specific decision-making or performance management needs of organizations. Actuate is also betting on their robust support for assembly and development of applications to be a competitive advantage to their efforts along with their proven track record of supporting large scale deployments and the user and data performance needed for these types of applications. As well, many do not realize the investment and engineering of Actuate page-level security which they have patented (US7487154). Actuate will have to address some areas where they have not integrated search capabilities into their platform and applications along with completing their support for Apple iPhone which has been mostly the issue of Flash support on Safari browser than anything else.
With the release of Actuate 10 completed and deployed and their work on the next major release in front of them, Actuate is prepared to help their customer provide information to be more readily available across the enterprise and Internet through their focus on Information Applications. Actuate is also less concerned now about the nuance of the BI technology market where there is a more rigid focus on query and analysis tools and supporting the specific needs of analysts compared to the broader needs of information consumers. Actuate has the ability to integrate other rich content and even spreadsheets to their spreadsheet server technology that is also important in providing better efficiency in getting information in any form and providing self service access and interactivity to it. Now Actuate must take some credit for their work to date along with their customers and be aggressive in what they can help organizations deploy easily with their existing development and technology skills along with existing data and application investments.