Monday, March 31, 2008
Information Builders, the independent leader in production business intelligence (BI) systems, today announced the release of WebFOCUS for Google Maps, the first rapid mashup application in the business intelligence market. WebFOCUS for Google Maps provides an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) for rapid development of geographically aware composite applications and does not require any training or coding by developers.
Today's global enterprises operate businesses that are geographically dispersed and influenced. The relationships that arise from this type of "borderless business" can be complex and difficult to interpret, but by overlaying maps with operational data and reports such as those created using WebFOCUS, , users can gain a clearer indication of performance and quickly identify local and regional trends, such as volume of service calls made to a specific call center or number of stores with low inventory on certain items.
In a recent report, Gartner identified interactive visualization among key emerging trends that "help overcome this skills gap in both the construction and consumption of analytical applications." According to the report, "interactive visualization will be quickly accepted over the next two years as a common front-end to analytical applications, driven by the ubiquity of rich Internet applications. Interactive visualization, with its attractive display, should be more widely adopted by those users who aren't accustomed to the grid style of analysis and reporting offered by relational databases and spreadsheets." 1
By capitalizing on the trend of creating Web application hybrids as a way to mix and match software from different sources, WebFOCUS for Google Maps takes interactive visualization into the mainstream BI direction. According to ProgrammableWeb, Google Maps is by far the most popular application programming interface (API), with 50 percent of mashups using it. However, most current examples are more for fun, contests, and creative use than for business purposes. Information Builders is the first business intelligence company to take mashups and create a business application, taking the time and pain of development away from the user.
"As an Information Builders customer, we continue to be impressed and encouraged by the company's efforts in developing new, innovative technologies," said Jim Honerkamp, CIO
The Hillman Group. "Mashups are currently dominating consumer and customer facing sites. By bringing the power of these consumer friendly applications to the enterprise, Information Builders can help organizations significantly speed up the adoption of geographically aware applications."
Combining the power of WebFOCUS for Google Maps gives users flexibility to enrich maps with analytic content. WebFOCUS can drive what is displayed on a map, use location indicators to visually convey operational trends, and navigate the map from a related report to zoom in and out of critical areas. Users can leverage Google Maps to pre-filter and drill down to WebFOCUS reports containing all the details on one or more locations of interest.
Key features in WebFOCUS for Google Maps include:
GUI-driven development – Developer Studio's HTML Layout Painter now includes the ability to insert and configure Google Maps to WebFOCUS procedures with little training and no coding.
Dashboard integration – Use the HTML Layout Painter to produce Web-based reports with multiple reporting outputs; have a Visual Discovery component, an Active Report, and a Google Map all in one dashboard view.
Conditional map styling – Leverage WebFOCUS conditional styling to enhance Google Maps by color-coding data presented on the map, based on business expectations.
Interactive map navigation – Besides the various default navigational methods exposed by Google Maps, WebFOCUS report drill-down links can be employed to navigate an associated Google Map.
Robust selection tools – Uses unique WebFOCUS functionality to select multiple points to drill down or filter reports.
Parameter prompting – Uses launch pages to call WebFOCUS for Google Maps reports or use Google Maps to pre-select data to filter drill-down reports.
"We are constantly looking for new ways to innovate and stay ahead of market trends," said Gerald Cohen, founder and CEO of Information Builders. "The popularity of mashups coupled with the growing trend around GIS applications, led us to the concept of a rapid Web application development for WebFOCUS. Since Google Maps is a free and widely available service, by putting the power of WebFOCUS behind it, we can literally bring geographic business intelligence to the masses."
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