Business intelligence (BI) and analytics company Information Builders has launched a software as a service (SaaS) offering addressing cloud computing.

The company’s Cloud Hosting Services will be locally hosted to ensure that data is not stored outside the borders to meet enterprise security requirements. There will beover 10 data centres spanning every geographic region worldwide. The service includes disaster recovery procedures and annual compliance certifications.

Johan Jurd, MD of InfoBuild, a representiative for Information Builders in SA, says SaaS is sometimes referred to as “on-demand software”.

“SaaS business intelligence (BI) solutions are becoming popular for companies that need to share essential data across the organisation and the extended enterprise, but do not have enough resources to implement and maintain these systems in-house.

“However, besides the obvious advantage of eliminating the need to install and run the application on one’s own computers, as well as reducing the upfront commitment of resources and simplifying maintenance and support, there are two other often overlooked benefits,” he says.

“Firstly, with no significant initial investment to amortise, an enterprise that deploys a SaaS application, but turns out to produce disappointing results can pursue a different direction without having to abandon an expensive on-premise infrastructure.

“Secondly, businesses can provide external parties, such as vendors, customers or partners, access to applications and data while maintaining the security ofinternal applications,” he says.

Known for its enterprise-calibre capabilities, the WebFOCUS BI platform provides a foundation for organisations looking to build SaaS BI deployments. InfoBuild assists customers in deploying BI solutions using various SaaS models, including public multi-tenancy models, hosted dedicated models and private on-premise models, says Jurd.

“For local businesses wanting to deploy BI applications to a small number of users, InfoBuild provides a multi-tenancy SaaS offering based on the WebFOCUS BI platform. The multi-tenancy model is one of the pillars of cloud computing. With no up-front hardware or software costs and affordable per-user pricing model, businesses can implement both cloud and BI solutions.

“The WebFOCUS architecture is suited to multi-tenancy SaaS and cloud deployments because it is based on a scalable reporting server accessible from any Web browser. InfoBuild provide a pre-installed and pre-configured core set of software components.

“This gives users extensive flexibility to create and schedule their own reports using an ad hoc tool for query, reporting and analysis. It facilitates a logical and simple workflow, guiding users through every step, from building a query to publishing complex dashboards and reports with interactive charts and graphs.”

The WebFOCUS BI platform also allows users to customise reports, charts and dashboards for individual needs and access this information from any operating system or mobile device.
Cloud Hosting Services enables organisations to deploy the information management platform in either a shared virtual environment or through dedicated private resources.

“This enables enterprises to quickly implement Cloud Hosting Services and integrate the platform into existing infrastructure, regardless of whether it’s on-premise, cloud or a hybrid environment,” he says.

Complementing this is Information Builders’ iWay integration tools that enables businesses to manage both structured and unstructured information, ensuring real-time integration of data from numerous sources and formats.