Business intelligence software is increasingly mobile, becoming available via smartphones and tablets and now enabling planning and what-if scenarios to determine the impacts of changes that might be made to improve performance. InetSoft, which has been providing business intelligence tools for more than 15 years, has advanced its technologies to address these trends. The company recently announced version 11.2 of InetSoft Style Intelligence, adding many new capabilities. Among them, the software now allows users to modify data within its Viewsheet data worksheet and provides database write-back to support a range of needs. It also lets users export and manipulate data within Microsoft Excel and then import it back into Style Intelligence for further use.
I got a chance to review these capabilities in scenarios including reviewing sales leads and cleaning up data to change the status of specific leads in order to see how sales quotas and projections are completed. Setting up these situations is straightforward. An analyst can define fields using the software’s Visual Composer and can extend data further through scripting in Style Studio.
InetSoft’s Style Studio is one of the easiest-to-use business intelligence tools. You can model data relationships using the Data Block feature, then easily build out a Viewsheet of analytics and present it using the Visual Composer assembly and presentation environment. This approach helps analysts reduce data preparation time. That can be an important advantage, as our business analytics benchmark research found that organizations spend two-thirds of their analytic process time in such data-related activities. InetSoft users also can assemble and deploy dashboards or reports quickly reducing the time to get the analytics and information in the hands of the business.
InetSoft added support for HTML5 last year with Style Intelligence 11.1, and it can support browsers on Apple iPads and Android devices. Its tablet application is not just a dashboard to visualize analytics; it provides interactive controls such as sliders and checkboxes for data discovery, functionality like what analysts get from desktop BI tools.
With version 11.1 Style Intelligence became a BI product for distributed enterprises, with support for a multitier development and deployment environment. Analysts can easily save and push out new versions of reports for review and approval. They can build derived metrics and calculate fields based on intelligent aggregates that the software automatically recalculates in any analytic view. These metrics could be sourced from various data sources, and analysts can drill down within charts and crosstabs to the underlying data. Analysts have come to expect this type of capability as they look to build upon what they know how to accomplish with spreadsheets, but in simpler, sharable and secure ways.
We have been covering InetSoft for years. Its 11.1 and 11.2 releases continue to expand its software’s sophistication for creating planning and what-if scenarios. Its drag-and-drop interactive visual assembly of analytics within a Web browser and data discovery enable business users to move from conventional business intelligence software that depends on IT assistance but still securely access enterprise applications and systems to get the data they need. In a future release, I would like to see InetSoft embed more collaborative capabilities to help individuals share notes and actions that are found within the data but this is something that all BI providers need to do more of in their products.
InetSoft’s advancements align with our business intelligence research agenda for 2012. If you are looking for an easy-to-use and -assemble business intelligence technology that can work across a distributed enterprise and on mobile platforms, take a look at InetSoft’s latest release.
Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer