Actuate this week announced BIRT Analytics, and thereby puts itself firmly into supporting a range of business analytics needs from data discovery and visualization to a range of data mining and predictive capabilities that allows itself new avenues of growth. Actuate has long been a staple of large Business Intelligence deployments; in fact the company claims that ActuateOne delivers more insights to more people than all other BI applications combined. This is likely true, given that Actuate is embedded in major consumer applications across industries worldwide. This announcement builds and utilizes its advancements into big data that I already assessed last year that can help it further expand its technology value to business and IT.
Tools such as BIRT Analytics can change the organizational culture around data and analytics. They put the power of data discovery and data visualization into the hands of tool-savvy managers as well as business analysts. While Actuate has allowed highly functional and interactive dashboards in the past, BIRT Analytics brings the usability dimension to a different level. Usability is of the highest importance to 63 percent of organizations for business intelligence software, according to our next-generation business intelligence benchmark research, and one where BIRT Analytics and other tools in its class really show their value. The technology allows not just for visual data exploration, but also for new sources of data to be connected and analyzed without a predefined schema. This fits well with the current world of distributed computing, where everything can no longer be nicely modeled in one place. The software can gather data from different sources, including big data sources, flat files and traditional relational databases, and mash these up through visually appealing toolsets, allowing end user analysts to bypass IT and avoid much of the data preparation that has been a hallmark of business intelligence in the past. In fact our recent business technology innovation benchmark research shows that only a little more than half of companies are satisfied with their analytic processes, and 44 percent of organizations indicate the most time-consuming part of the analytics process is data-related tasks that Actuate is addressing with their ability to handle data efficiently.
Some of the advantages of the BIRT Analytics product are its fast in-memory engine, its ability to handle large amounts of data, and the more advanced analytic capabilities in the system. The company’s web site claims it offers the fastest data loading tool in the industry with the FastDB main memory database system and an ability to explore 6 billion records in less than a second. These are impressive numbers, especially as we look at big data analytics, which often runs against terabytes of data. The usability of this tool’s analytics features is particularly impressive. For instance, set analysis, clustering and predictive capabilities are all part of the software, allowing analysts who aren’t necessarily data scientists to conduct advanced data analysis. These capabilities give tools like BIRT Analytics an advantage in the market since they offer simple end-user-driven ways to produce market segmentation and forecasting reports. These advancements help Actuate provide new benefits of its BIRT Analytics that according to our benchmark research on predictive analytics, 68 percent of organizations see predictive analytics as a source of competitive advantage.
Actuate already ranked as a hot vendor in the 2012 Ventana Research Business Intelligence Value Index thanks to its enterprise-level reliability and validation of its deployments which this release will help it even more in its ratings. In the short term, BIRT Analytics will certainly boost Actuate’s market momentum and allow it to compete in areas where it would not have been seen before and help it expand its value to its existing customers.