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December 7, 2006

Information Builders expands device support for mobile BI

Information Builders Inc is extending the reach of its portable business intelligence products to mobile handheld devices like PDAs and smartphones.

By CBR Staff Writer

The company announced that its WebFocus Active Reports software, which lets users analyze and report on BI data in an offline mode, will run on a variety of mobile devices that support the Opera Mobile browser. These include Treos, Dell PDAs, HP PDAs, smartphones and Samsung devices among others.

New York-based Information Builders launched Active Reports at the start of this year to expand the reach of its WebFocus BI platform, specifically to target more business users.

The software is cross-browser compatible and can be used in both connected and disconnected modes of operation to pull up reports, scorecards or specific key performance indicators. For instance, users can perform classic BI manipulations on data like sort, rank, filter, aggregate, subtotal, chart, export and other functions without being connected to a WebFocus server.

Unlike other mobility options available on the market, WebFocus Active Reports do not require Java plug-ins or other software to be installed on the mobile device. Nor does it require any specialized servers or reformatting to deliver reports for specific devices.

Delivering BI information to mobile devices is not new. Most BI vendors already offer some level of mobile access to their office-anchored BI products.

Active Reports made its debut at the start of this year. But Information Builders, and other BI vendors, have recently been tweaking the portability capabilities to make them more usable – specifically taking advantage technological improvements in mobile data infrastructures.

In September Information Builders bumped up the rendering performance of Active Reports offering users more flexible graphing, charting and Microsoft Office export capabilities.

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In the same month Canadian BI firm Cognos Inc took the wraps off a new rich mobile client called Go! Mobile that integrates BI data into mobile and handheld devices. Links to Blackberry devices and other Windows Mobile and Symbian devices are planned for 2007 when the product is expected to be released. Cognos also announced in November that is will aim Go! Mobile at SAP data as well.

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