Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

ActuateOne Advances Information Platform with Analytics and Business Intelligence

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:07:51 PM

Actuate has announced a major new version of its software called ActuateOne. Its technology is integrated in a single platform and set of tools for performance management, analytics, business intelligence (BI) and information applications; the product can be managed on-premises or in the cloud and is accessible via mobile devices such as the Apple iPhone and iPad. Actuate has been in the BI market since the 1990s; this release counts as version 11, which by itself represents a significant milestone for an independent company like Actuate.

ActuateOne brings a common design to its server, which is built on the open source foundation of BIRT. Available for download from the community, BIRT provides a platform that can be used for a variety of application development, from assembly to specific analytics. The platform has been expanded to integrate data more easily from external sources in what the community calls data objects. They can be leveraged in Actuate’s Visual Designer, which enables quick assembly of information for analytics in a range of applications and simplifies accessibility through mobile technology. These and other advances improve usability and reliability, which our benchmark research on information applications were found to be important or very important in 90 percent of organizations.

This release also has new in-memory analytics capabilities with BIRT Data Analyzer that enable quick analysis through dashboards or from Microsoft Excel. Along those lines Actuate has advanced its longstanding enterprise spreadsheet approach with the ability to transition smoothly from BIRT to Excel by manipulating charts, formatting, pivot tables, calculation and aggregates. This functionality is critical, as our research in analytics and business intelligence and performance management finds that business has become more dependent on spreadsheets than ever before. Actuate’s “embrace and integrate” approach to dealing with the prevalence of spreadsheets is realistic for any enterprise, as we recommend.

To support broad, scalable deployment across private and public clouds, ActuateOne has elastic clustering, data distribution, multitenancy and licensing for cloud deployments. These are critical features, as the advent of 64-bit data processing is able to meet the pressing needs of users for rapidly computing analytics and generating metrics. ActuateOne exploits the company’s existing clustering capabilities to support even broader deployments that can scale across the Internet, and companies in banking, communications and other industries are using them in customer-facing applications.

Actuate also has advanced its ability to assemble and deploy applications in the new category that we at Ventana Research have defined as information applications. These are rich in content and data and able to meet the expanding demand for access to information in any form. This approach of information accessibility is also seen in innovations in Actuate’s performance management application that dramatically simplify the process of accessing and using information that employees and management need to improve performance.

Also Actuate has been advancing its use of mobility in 2010, which I have already analyzed (See: “Actuate Goes Apple and Creates Information Platform for Cloud Computing “), and our research on mobility across business and IT shines some light on the importance of enabling business to have flexibility in access on mobile technologies. Actuate capabilities are easily found on the Apple App Store where I found it and have personally used the technology.

Unfortunately the market clout of the large providers IBM, Oracle and SAP among others might obscure the importance of this milestone for Actuate as a company and a product portfolio with a platform and tools that are unified for operating across business and IT. Also noteworthy is Actuate’s innovation with its Open Marketplace, and its acquisition of Xenos enables blending of content and documents to be accessed from within Actuate products with deeper integration coming soon. If you have not taken a look at the company recently, now is a good time because ActuateOne is an advancement that should not be overlooked.

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Mark Smith – CEO & EVP Research

Topics: Operational Performance Management (OPM), Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Information Management, Business Performance Management (BPM), Information Management (IM)

Mark Smith

Written by Mark Smith

Mark is responsible for the overall direction of Ventana Research and drives the global research agenda covering both business and technology areas. He defined the blueprint for Information Management and Performance Management as the linking together of people, processes, information and technology across organizations to drive effective results. Mark is an expert in technology for business from Performance Management, Business Intelligence, Analytics to Information Management across finance, operations and IT. Mark has held CMO, product development and research roles at companies such as SAP, META Group, Oracle and IRI Software. He has experience across major industries including banking, consumer products, food and beverage, insurance, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and retail and consumer services.