Not surprisingly, many vendors serve this market, including the larger companies that you would expect, along with smaller players that have unique offerings and value additions.
Lets take a survey of some key offerings in the business intelligence space, their claims to fame, and what they have to offer.
Additionally, the Enterprise Information Management (EIM) module provides a foundation for querying and analysis using techniques like extract/transform/load (ETL). SAP BusinessObjects also integrates the venerable Crystal Reports product, used for years in businesses worldwide to create reports.
As you might expect, SAP has also stepped into the cloud with a software-as-a-service (Saas) offering, called Business Intelligence OnDemand, hosted entirely on the Web by SAP.
The full enterprise suite of IBM Cognos 8 includes financial reporting, business intelligence, and extended mobile functions.
Within the BI arena, the Cognos offering is comprised of the following: Report Studio, a Web-centric report designer; Query Studio, a product designed to produce on-demand reporting with an instant preview function; Analysis Studio, a multidimensional cube analysis tool; Metric Studio and Metric Designer, which allows you to create, query, and report on key performance indicators (KPIs); Event Studio, which helps to design, and then send, alerts to business decision makers based on certain scenarios becoming true
The top-of-the-line offering from the company, Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g, includes most of the standard BI toolset facilities, including dashboards, scorecards, notifications and alerts, queries on both a regular and ad-hoc basis, and mobile access. The product is built on a Web-based foundation that can consume and be consumed by Web services active in other parts of an organization.
Oracle also boasts a suite of financial performance management applications, mainly based in the former Hyperion product. These tools assist with decision making around strategic finance, capital asset planning, data quality management, and performance scorecarding.
And of course its very popular SQL Server product includes SQL Server Reporting Services, and new integration between SQL, SharePoint, and Excel 2010 allows users to create reports and analyze large sets of data using the desktop tools with which theyre already comfortable. The Microsoft suite of tools is not as full-featured and mature as some of the other players in this space, but the company is heavily investing in its offering. One distinct advantage is that if youre already a Windows shop, you probably have a lot of the pieces of the puzzle already.
See a recent video interview with Michael Tejedor, Senior Product Manager, Business Platform Division at Microsoft.
The SAS BI offering is comprised of its Enterprise Business Intelligence portfolio, which pulls in data from a variety of business systems and uses analytics tools on that data to perform common BI tasks. Also included is its Business Visualization product, which provides graphical and chart-based displays of BI data.
What does this mean for you? A commercial open source company, Pentaho directly influences the open source products that make up its suite through financial support from the revenues it generates from support and management services for larger businesses. The developer community working in those core projects numbers close to 8,000. Pentaho operates on a subscription model, so all updates and functionality are included as long as an agreement is maintained.