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The demand for business information on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets continues to increase, while the technology to support it has not. In our benchmark research on information applications, only 11 percent of organizations said they are very satisfied with their ability to provide such information, and their top two complaints with existing technologies are that they are too slow and not adaptable or flexible. The unique aspects of mobile technology, from the small screen size to the use of gestures for interaction, make for a complex technological problem.
Roambi is a technology vendor active in this space, having been preparing and presenting rich information on Apple iPhone and iPad devices for several years, as I have written. Our firm recognized one of Roambi customers, Life Technologies, for business mobility in our 2011 Leadership Awards. It provides digital mobile access to rich information applications through Roambi Flow, which enables users to assemble information into a presentation, publication, application or whatever grouping they need to share with others. Roambi Flow can embed content, from text to images, to tell a story in a presentation or briefing book, or to create digital publications on a routine basis. Now, as the demand for delivering digital publications expands to marketing collateral, annual reports, market research and other documents, organizations need to further customize content for an unlimited number of people. To meet this need, Roambi has released Roambi ESX, which builds upon existing products Roambi Analytics and Roambi Flow to provide the means to reach a larger audience. Roambi ESX not only enables organizations to publish to their existing audiences of employees and customers but also provides commercial opportunities to generate new revenue streams. For example, organizations can create a branded experience by using a custom logo or graphic that users see when they review an application for download. Roambi has learned from its experience in publishing software to the Apple App Store and now enables organizations to publish their own applications. With this step, Roambi has entered the mobile information and application platform market.
Roambi also recently released an extension to Roambi Flow to help businesses publish content from existing presentations that they already use on a daily basis. Roambi Present addresses shortcomings of the original applications, including the difficulty and slowness of assembling information into views and deploy them, as cited by almost half (47%) of research participants. Presentations made in Apple Keynote and Microsoft PowerPoint can be starting points for enrichment through interactive analytics. Typically businesses create presentations using these tools, then save them in presentation mode or in static versions through Adobe Acrobat. Roambi Present can examine an existing presentation, capture the slides’ formatting, layout and content, and prepare it for enrichment within Roambi Flow. Then, through placement of Roambi Analytics or its reports into the slides, users can present supporting content as part of the presentation. Roambi also supports embedding hot spots in link images, such as maps, to charts. As well Roambi’s security prevents access to a presentation or data from those who are not authorized. This expansion will make Roambi more popular with business analysts who use Microsoft Office to create and email presentations.
This is a refreshing approach to helping businesses assemble and deploy richer information to mobile devices, and it comes as businesses increase their use of tablets, which are often the primary computing vehicle for many classes of employees. In fact, our business analytics benchmark research found that 38 percent of organizations demand analytics and metrics be available via mobile technologies. With Roambi, they can deliver this information in presentations without help from the IT department, which reduces the time it takes to get information to those who need it. Roambi exceeds the capabilities of many other technology vendors in the business intelligence space, who focus on publishing charts from existing reports within an IT-managed environment; today, that does not provide the flexibility or depth of content that many organizations need. If Roambi could add support for collaboration from within its deployed applications and also add Android mobile technology support they could grow even faster.
As organizations realize that Microsoft Office and its business intelligence tools do not meet their emerging information needs or suit how their business analysts operate, they will look for tools like Roambi Flow and Roambi Present to help engage their mobile audiences. As organizations look to brand and deliver their own custom information applications, Roambi ESX will help them quickly reach a large and growing mobile audience. Roambi continues to advance the technology that businesses need to meet their pressing cycles for both accessing and publishing information and analytics digitally across mobile technologies. It establishes a new standard for mobile information platforms with its interactive and visual discovery tools and its process to assemble and deploy publications, presentations and applications.
Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer
Informatica has announced a major release, version 9.5, of its software platform, which will be generally available in June. The company’s data integration technologies will support the new generation of computing that includes big data, cloud computing, mobile and social media. These computing environments, which our firm has defined as key business technology drivers for this decade, have a compelling impact on the data that enterprises create and use. Being smart about integrating and utilizing significant volumes of data is essential; continuously copying and storing duplicate versions of data is not the best path forward.
I recently assessed Informatica’s business and technology strategy. It supports a range of big-data environments, including Hadoop, in-memory processing and appliances, which our benchmark research found to be top priorities of companies using the technology. Informatica helps IT organizations get to these larger volumes of data through an expanded set of data replication capabilities that can clone data for use in specialized Hadoop environments. Informatica will support in July an early release of a common visual data development environment using Hadoop technologies including HParser, PIG, HIVE, MapReduce and HDFS not just for integration with the data but also in tasks such as cleansing, parsing, transformation and identity resolution. Informatica is also partnering with Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR to integrate with their distributions of Hadoop. As data on a large scale becomes more common in processing tasks from production to near-line access and archiving, Informatica has improved its partitioning to ensure that only what is needed is used and stored. All of these steps help ensure the proper integration of big-data technologies like Hadoop which according to our benchmark research found that 80 percent of organizations using Hadoop having confidence in supporting big data compared to 55 percent of all other approaches.
To support smarter integration of data, Informatica has improved data discovery, which now can determine physical and logical structures for supporting a variety of integration techniques. Informatica also completed the integration of data validation technology it acquired in 2010 and can process data as it is moved across development and deployment environments in this option. To ensure consistency and common identification of information, the product supports new dynamics in master data management (MDM), which include a data timeline to help users understand changes to a customer’s information over time.
Integrating data from other applications across cloud-based applications is an obstacle in 82 percent of organizations, according to our benchmark research on business data in the cloud. Informatica has expanded integrated access to cloud computing environments. It can deploy embeddable cloud services that users can select from a catalogue and configure to integrate into scheduled jobs and monitored. It recently announced the release of a cloud connectivity framework to help customers and partners develop interfaces to applications and services in cloud environments. This step was part of the Informatica Cloud Spring 2012 release, which positions the company’s software as an integration platform and as a integration as a service technology. The company says it is now averaging more than 1 billion transactions per day.
Informatica has increased its ability to mask data, model data risk, classify data through discovery and apply policies and monitor usage to ensure that proper levels of governance are applied. The federated data services in version 9.5 let analysts define and connect logical data objects to disparate sources of data. Supporting the real-time needs of an organization is part of what we call operational intelligence.
Informatica’s support for the variety in types of big data demonstrates its commitment to IT environments that deal with transactional and event-oriented data, which are becoming just as important as traditional business dataand for the data created in business transactions. Informatica also helps analysts who engage in data-related tasks from access to cleansing by providing new tools, including the Data Integration Analyst Option. This is critical, as our business analytics benchmark research found that analysts spend two-thirds of their analytic time in data-related tasks and any help for them is very welcome.
Informatica and Kapow Software have partnered together to extend its integration to the Web and semi-structured content. I recently assessed them and this integration is a critical component to get information from an organization’s cloud computing and web applications technology environment.
Informatica’s smart use of data integration technology can help IT organizations reduce their operating and technology costs. Informatica’s expansion of data integration technologies through acquisitions to include governance, quality, virtualization and master data management was a smart move. Our benchmark research on trends in information management found many organizations expecting to initiate or plan projects for an expanding set of these technologies in the coming 18 months. Informatica’s products address a broad span of data needs inside and outside of the enterprise. Release 9.5 supports a range of big-data needs and helps ensure that Informatica can compete in the new wave of investments focused on increasing the usefulness of data from cloud computing to big data.
Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer