In an effort to expand its offering and deliver a more comprehensive set of solutions to customers, Cortell, a local provider of enterprise business intelligence, planning and financial consolidation software and services, has taken on the Palo range of products from Jedox.
Palo is a unique, open source based offering that delivers optimised planning, reporting, analysis, dashboard, consolidation and so on using Excel and web-based formats, for a more intuitive user experience.
"This product is unique for several reasons. Firstly Palo offers two different products in two different versions, namely Palo for Excel and Palo Suite, both of which are available at two different service levels, Community and Premium. This means that users can select the solution that contains the components they need at a service level to suit budgets," says Max Ottavini, director at Cortell.
"Secondly, Palo offers a free 30 day trial download of full featured components of the Palo Premium tools so that users can evaluate the product without any capital outlay whatsoever.
"At Cortell we will be focusing on delivering the Premium editions of these tools to the African market, as they incorporate a service scope, which has always formed part of our core offering and commitment to our customers, including support, software assurance, maintenance, 'hot fixes' and service releases on both tools," he adds.
Palo for Excel is a central planning, analysis and reporting tool that enables the user to extend the capabilities of both Microsoft Excel and Open Office Calc into a cost effective business intelligence (BI) solution.
Palo for Excel includes an Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) Server Database as well as the Excel or Open Office add-in, enabling the user to build a complete, flexible BI solution on top of a well known interface.
The Community edition offers this basic functionality, while the Premium edition offers all-in-one silent installation, multi-processor support and third party access as well as support services.
"The advantage of this tool is that it avoids the traditional problems associated with spreadsheets," Ottavini explains. "It does this by allowing users to take advantage of Palo's central data storage logic, ensuring that multiple dimensions of data can be viewed and analysed simultaneously, without the user having to leave the comfort of a familiar user interface."
The Palo Suite is a full featured offering that enables users to expand the planning, analysis and reporting tools of Palo into a powerful, enterprise-wide solution. It combines the core applications of OLAP Server, Palo Web, Palo ETL Server and Palo for Excel into a comprehensive and customisable BI solution.
"Palo Web, which forms part of the Palo Suite, offers an easy to use web interface for all actions to be carried out, including user rights management, administration and creation of web-based reporting, OLAP database modelling, ETL process monitoring, planning, analysis and reporting.
"Palo Suite can even be delivered as a Software as a Service (SaaS) so that all functionality is delivered via the web. The advantage of this is that there is no installation needed, and the solution offers a high degree of scalability without hardware and maintenance costs," Ottavini says.
As with the Palo for Excel product, the Palo Suite is available in both Community and Premium editions. The Premium edition offers support and services and contains extra components such as SAP connectivity, third party access and a graphics processing unit (GPU) accelerator that delivers greater speed and performance on queries. This GPU is also available in the Amazon cloud.
"The Palo platform is based entirely on Open Source, and works with a variety of operating systems, including Windows and Linux, offering greater flexibility and agility in a BI tool. The power of Palo was recognised late last year, when it gained top marks in its first ever participation in the BI Survey, claiming multiple top positions in a variety of categories against leading BI products from around the world," says Ottavini.
"We are confident that this product will deliver enormous benefit to businesses in Africa through its flexible, agile delivery and Open Source offering, both of which are uniquely suited to this market with its budgeting and connectivity challenges," he concludes.