Ipedo Offers a New Take on EII

If EII is indeed on the cusp of going mainstream, technology pure-play Ipedo is a name you might want to remember

This week, EII pure play Ipedo Inc., business intelligence giant Business Objects, and EDGAR Online Inc., a provider of information to the financial services industry, announced a hybrid financial reporting solution.

The three companies were ostensibly promoting the emerging eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), but the announcement was also a coming out of sorts for Ipedo’s XIP platform, which provides an EII complement to Business Objects’ business intelligence brawn and EDGAR Online’s information repositories.

Call it a case of good timing. Last month, Ipedo delivered XIP 4.0, a substantially revamped version of its flagship EII suite that features what the company claims is the industry’s first “dual-core” EII solution.

“The big differentiator is that we’re dual core—we have XQuery and SQL. This allows us to process and do XML very well, along with SQL data stores, like SQL Server,” says Tim Matthews, vice-president of marketing and co-founder of Ipedo. “We feel we have the data span pretty well nailed with the SQL and XML core, and we feel that we have performance pretty well nailed, and we feel that this is something we do better than anyone else.”

Before XIP 4.0 and its dual-core engine, Matthews concedes, Ipedo’s EII suite was typically tapped for use in non-BI applications. The reason, he says, is that business intelligence programmers are more comfortable with SQL than XML.

“We’ve see a pretty clear bifurcation in the market for EII between people doing business intelligence and reporting and people building portals and Web applications,” he observes. “We were really good for Web applications and really appealing to developers who liked the idea of a reporting language that was more expansive than SQL, but people who were more accustomed to doing SQL, they didn’t want to change their client front-ends. They just wanted to trick the client, if you will, that it was a virtual database they were connecting to.”

To some extent, the hybrid solution Ipedo, Business Objects, and EDGAR Online announced is a testament to Ipedo’s growing business intelligence aspirations.

To quickly recap, Ipedo’s XIP pulls XBRL-tagged financial information from EDGAR Online’s I-Metrix suite, processes the financial data and business context, and delivers it to BusinessObjects XI, via Crystal Reports or BusinessObjects Web Intelligence. The three partners also played up the financial-performance-management aspect of the hybrid offering, noting that customers can base management dashboards, scorecards, and performance-management applications on the information once it’s stored in XI.

As an SEC-sanctioned way to electronically report financial information, XBRL has the potential to take off, says Matthews.

“The SEC is beginning to accept tagged, XML-based filings for quarterly or annual filings,” he says. “We allow people to intelligently process these inbound messages, which no other competitor in the rules space can do, invoke EII, invoke [business rules], where you can say, ‘If something [a condition] is true, I want you to go out and invoke previous data.’”

This week’s announcement highlighted Ipedo’s XIP working in tandem with Business Objects XI. There’s a reason for that, concedes Matthews: Ipedo certifies XIP 4.0 for use with Business Objects XI and Crystal Reports XI, and the company has tested XIP against both products, in some cases custom-coding integration between the platforms. Nevertheless, Matthews stresses, XIP can work with BI solutions from almost any vendor.

“We can support other vendors, such as Hyperion and Cognos. We haven’t done the level of testing and integration work that we’ve done with Business Objects to try to simplify connections, but primarily most of those sources, and I’ll even include statistical tools like SAS and others,” he comments, adding that XIP can interface with just about any JDBC- or ODBC-compliant business intelligence tool. “We even have a way to pull in data through Excel and Word—through a partnership with a conversion company. But as Microsoft continues to bring out their XML-capable Office suite, that becomes easier and easier.”

XIP is a 100 percent Java-based product, says Matthews, so it’ll run on any platform for which there’s an available JVM. Ipedo has also received inquiries from companies wishing to OEM XIP, so it’s possible that product might soon pop up in some familiar product lines. “All the wires are hanging out, so to speak,” he concludes. “It has a complete set of APIs on top, it’s all Java, so it can work standalone or can run on someone else’s application server.”

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.