InetSoft Webinar: Comparison with Reporting Systems Like Cognos or Business Objects

This is the continuation of the transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft on the topic of "What are the Benefits of a Visual Reporting Solution?" The speaker is Abhishek Gupta, product manager at InetSoft.

There is a question. Here’s one. How does this compare with reporting systems like Cognos or Business Objects?

We hear that a lot and we generally find that most of our customers already have obviously reporting tools like Cognos, Business Objects, or Microsoft Reporting Services. These are being used mostly to produce information in a structured formatted way. It can create a lot of indexes so you’ll have some drill down and cross table analysis, but they do not have strong ad hoc visual discovery capabilities such as you saw today.

We would say we complement very well those type of products by providing the data discovery and analysis functions. When it comes to reporting and scorecarding we are also strong there, and the advantage of our platform is its agility in dealing with new and disparate data sources.

Back to the data discovery ability, being able to do this sort of speed of thought ad hoc analysis which is querying anywhere across all kinds of databases and tables without having to go back to have work on the database to prepare the data is big benefit.

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Visualize the Results of What If Modeling

On the analytic side we make it easy to visualize the results of what if modeling. If you take the example of the school fund raising, maybe you’re trying to find large donors, and there are factors and other tables that aren’t in the data warehouse, you can easily bring them into our BI system and mash them up with the data warehouse data.

We have got lots of built-in functions for metrics calculations, so again you don’t need to add those into the data warehouse. In our world you can quickly calculate the metric in the activities table and copy it back to the core table on the model to see if that matters. So that whole ability is just much more flexible, and I would use the word flexible and end-user oriented for doing this kind of discovery and analysis as key differentiators.

Another question, we actually have several versions of this question, but it’s all about how hard is it to set up one of visual analyses that would allow you to get the answer that you need to know?

Okay so there are a couple of answers to that. If you’re an individual user running Excel or Access where you have got a table or two, you could actually use our free SaaS-based visual analysis tool Visualize Free. It takes five minutes to load up your data and another 5 minutes to create a basic exploratory chart. If we have more time I could show you how you would do that. It’s very easy to load a table and set the charts up and do analysis.

There is a question. Here’s one. How does this compare with reporting systems like Cognos or Business Objects?

If you’re departmental user and you got you know 100 tables in an Oracle data warehouse, and there are some core tables, there’s a budget descriptive, there are budget fact tables, and those tables need to be linked and joined, and there are metrics that have to be calculated, that might take you a week or two to be set up and have usable visual analyses and dashboards created.

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Faster Than a Typical BI Platform

There is also the option for us to do a service project with that. It’s a lot faster than a typical BI platform because our whole approach to accessing the data is more flexible and dynamic.

Okay, great. We actually have Rachel, she has raised her hands so let’s unmute her.

Rachel: Okay. I also sent a question in online so you can ignore that. You make some nice comments on how to help us compare Cognos and Business Objects, could you do the same for TIBCO Spotfire? How would you say you compare or contrast to a Spotfire type of approach?

Spotfire is in a category of visualization products or vendors. They’ve got a great visualization capability, comparable to ours. We’ve come at the markets from different angles. I’m trying not going to speak for them per se, but their history has been coming at it more from pharmaceutical research areas. We’ve come at it from more of a general business problem approach.

We have a lot in common, and we do compete against each often. We are also very strong in dashboarding & production reporting. They can be used for dashboards, but don’t have the reporting maturity. The back-end data mashup capabilities is certainly a big difference.

Rachel: All right, thank you.

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