Information Advantage Brings Web Portal to BI

The name DecisionSuite Eureka! resembles Yahoo! from its tone right down to the exclamation point. The similarity is entirely intentional by business intelligence software provider Information Advantage (Eden Prairie, Minn.,

The idea is to build on the Web portal design in use by online services such as Yahoo! Inc., (Santa Clara, Calif.,, America Online (Dulles, Va., and Excite Inc. (Redwood City, Calif., Rather than present users with e-mail, forums, search engines and online shopping malls, DecisionSuite Eureka! plugs users into business data in the enterprise.

The portal is designed to access corporate data and tools, including ERP, operational data stores, multidimensional databases, data warehouses, data marts, query and reporting products, OLAP, and legacy business intelligence systems. Information Advantage says DecisionSuite Eureka! will allow business users to securely explore and analyze content.

"In a sense it turns the way business intelligence is deployed upside down," says Rick Parker, vice president of marketing for Information Advantage. "The historical way that [business intelligence] was purchased was: I go study my data sources. I get extraction solutions, deploy it to a handful of power users. Then, after the power users get used to using it, I start moving it out to traditional users. Now you’ll give it straight to casual users."

DecisionSuite Eureka!, expected to be released in December, will be the first product from Information Advantage since it merged with IQ Software. The companies announced the deal in June and closed Sept. 24 under the Information Advantage name.

Analyst Mitch Kramer of Patricia Seybold Group (Boston) says the product is the first to translate the portal concept to business intelligence. "It takes an approach that people really understand by virtue of other Web portals, and it applies that to decision support," Kramer says. "At the same time, it also integrates what otherwise might be a pretty diverse product line from the merger with IQ Software."

Information Advantage had offered relational OLAP and other business intelligence tools while IQ Software had specialized in enterprise reporting. Information Advantage’s Parker says the product will link more than just the companies’ integrated products: "We do even products that are competitive to our own."

The suite consists of three parts. My Eureka! allows users to personalize the gathering, organization and exploration of business intelligence. Eureka! Server provides Web-based services to allow an organization to create the business intelligence Web portal. Eureka! Workbench provides tools for optimizing performance of the other components.

While Seybold’s Kramer says it is prudent for Information Advantage to grow beyond ROLAP tools before Microsoft Corp. enters the OLAP market with Plato, he says the business intelligence portal is an idea with potential. Other companies with diversified business intelligence portfolios such as Cognos Inc. (Ottawa, might find a similar approach effective, Kramer says.