ShowCase Releases New Version of EIP – Again

Customers who adopted ShowCase Corporation’s Enterprise Information Portal (EIP) last May have already seen significant updates to the business intelligence product since its initial release – and should expect to see more before the year is out, says Rod Reicks, product manager for ShowCase (Chicago).

“Moving forward we anticipate probably one more update of our EIP this calendar year, probably by December,” Reicks says.

IntraNet and ShowCase entered an agreement last Devember that gives ShowCase rights to sell Xpedio as part of its STRATEGY data warehousing and business intelligence EIP product suite.
The recently introduced EIP version 4.0 will integrate Xpedio 4.0, a Web content management system from IntraNet Solutions Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn), and Reicks said the reason the new version of EIP came so soon after the product’s initial release was so that it would coincide with IntraNet’s release cycle. Reicks said ShowCase views IntraNet’s rapid product development cycle as a valuable asset.

“They’re on Internet time up there,” Reicks said of IntraNet. “They’re really trying to stay ahead of the curve in terms of portal and content management technology.”

IntraNet and ShowCase entered an agreement last December that gives ShowCase rights to sell Xpedio as part of its STRATEGY data warehousing and business intelligence EIP product suite. The previous release of Xpedio had been available since August, but was not fully integrated with the ShowCase product until May, when EIP was first introduced. Then, when IntraNet Solutions released another updated version, ShowCase chose to make an updated version of EIP available, incorporating the new functionality in Xpedio. “It had some really nice enhancements that we didn’t want to make our clients wait for,” Reicks says.

EIP is designed to enhance the functionality provided by ShowCase’s STRATEGY alone and to better facilitate B2B Web commerce by offering Xpedio’s Web content management capabilities for real-time contribution, management and distribution of information. Xpedio 4.0 features expanded searching and indexing, business personalization and Web site development and publishing capabilities.

The integration of Xpedio 4.0 into ShowCase EIP will provide such enhanced features as improved security and business personalization, cross-server search capability, developer preview functions, workflow functionality and improved notification, among other features. ShowCase’s goal, according to Reicks, is to allow system administrators to have easy access to and Web publishing capability for every business document.

“What is unique about our approach, at least among business intelligence vendors, is, … all of those other portals focus exclusively on publishing structured content,” Reicks explains. “The ShowCase EIP on the other hand, in addition to doing all that, we allow people to manage unstructured content – say I’m using a Word document, for example – right along with the business intelligence data. That is, unstructured content apart from your structured database systems. With other vendors, they’re only giving you access to about 20 percent of your business data. … These other products are missing a huge part of the market.”

In addition to offering extensive consulting services to help customers quickly migrate to the new version of EIP and Xpedio, Reicks says there are primarily two reasons why customers have not shied away from the product, even though they were informed of this year’s expected rapid release cycle. For one thing, Reicks says, since customers were warned up-front that a new release was close behind, they were given the option of installing a pre-release version of EIP 4.0 in June to make the transition easier when the new version became generally available.

The other factor in easing the migration to 4.0 was the software itself, according to Reicks. The software is Web-based, so it can be easily downloaded to client machines. In addition, Reicks says, those customers who installed the pre-release version should be able to move quickly to the official release, since few changes were made from the beta.

“Working with IntraNet solutions, it’s not like working with Microsoft – when they release a beta, it’s ready to go – there’s very few changes between the beta and release,” Reicks says. “And since it’s Web-based – it’s not like you’re going around and installing new software on a 1000 desktops. … The number of machines they needed to upgrade are minimal.”

The next version of ShowCase’s STRATEGY product will be available by the end of the year, and therefore, Reicks says, another release of EIP is likely soon after. Pricing for the integrated solution begins at $100,000.

Related Editorial:

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