Actuate Business Intelligence Review

San Mateo, CA
Deployment Model:
Free Trial:
Cloud, On-Premise
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OpenText At A Glance

Good: Runtime feature that combines BIRT with any application, reports produced by any user, no need to input or maintain code.
Bad: Need to obtain new license when adding new users or altering server components, lack of available resources on software.
Bottom Line: BI tool that is based upon open source BIRT and the Eclipse platform.

Product Overview

BIRT is comprised of two main parts. The first is its well-publicized report designer that is based on Eclipse, and the second is a runtime feature that melds BIRT reports with any application.

Producing reports has long been associated with a complicated, time-consuming, resource-consuming process that backs up IT and delyas projects. Actuate’s BIRT software aims to change that by designing tools that are meant to be used by all-users, from technologically savvy developers to average end-users seeking insights from data.

Actuate features three different kinds of reporting tools which address that issue. The tools have an intuitive Web-based design and delivery metaphor, which includes a grid-table-cell-based sheet that is designed for simplicity. The product has a drag-and-drop interface, and does not require users to ever input or maintain software code by hand, saving time.

BIRT now works with mobile devices via its PowerDocs for the Salesforce1 Mobile app. This app, accessible by Android or iOS devices, automatically generates ERP or CRM data (such as customer information or sales information) for analytical purposes.

In late 2014, Actutate has debuted its Android Wear functionality. Data resides in the updated BIRT iHub which then transfers into visualization that is displayed on the Android Wear smartwatch or other smartphones.


Actuate offers three kinds of reporting tools, which each allow developers to integrate data sources and design their own reports with customizable insights.

BIRT Designer is a free-form reporting software working in an open source integrated development environment.

BIRT Designer Pro offers enterprise-level reporting which includes special features for business reports and interactive applications.

BIRT Studio is a self-service tool, which includes ad-hoc reporting capabilities and a visualization tool specifically designed for non-experts.

Below we have included a more extensive list of Actuate’s features:

Target Market

Actuate works across sectors, from healthcare and government to finance and manufacturing. Below are listed some of their key clients;

  • City of Chicago
  • City of Dallas
  • British Royal Air Force
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • California State University
  • HSBC
  • Franklin Institute Science Museum
  • SunGuard
  • JP Morgan
  • Taleo

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Actuate offers its Fast Start Services for deployment – such services include BIRT development and deployment, operational dashboards and visual designs, analytics, and applications integration. Fast Start Services are for companies that want fast implementation and ROI and is done in a 10-day timeframe at the company’s office.

There is also the Optimization Services offering that includes options as: technical assessment, staff augmentation, and resident architect services. Optimization Services are for companies that have more complex Actuate installation requirements.

Customer Service & Support

Actuate offers customer support on three main levels: by offering support plans online that allow users to navigate through issues on their own, an Open Source Project Support package that must be subscribed to, and a number of global support centers where users can directly contact an Actuate professional to address their needs.

In addition, Actuate offers training seminars for their products, which can be accessed online or in person. There is an active community user group for Actuate, and users connected to this can share ways to brainstorm issues and streamline the efficiency of the product.


Users can access the free version of the BIRT Desigers edition, and Acutate offers free trials of its other products. However, it doesn’t publicly release pricing information so please contact them for a quote.


Licensing seems to be a consistent issue with Actuate. Some users have described the process as almost adversarial. A new license is constantly required at every turn, whether server components are being altered, or users are being added. On top of this, the actual cost of these licenses has also been cited as a point of concern.

Some have pointed to the lack of available resources on Actuate’s products for those seeking to learn more about it. There are not many books or study materials available publicly, and users have to request this from Actuate.


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Actuate Corporation is an analytics, reporting, and customer communications software company that is perhaps best known for the creation of the open source data reporting project, Eclipse BIRT. Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Actuate’s most notable products include BIRT Analytics for predictive analytics exercises, BIRT Designers, BIRT iHub for developers, and Customer Communications Suite. Actuate has offices throughout the United States, in addition to international locations in Paris, Toronto, London, Barcelona, Tokyo, Singapore, Fribourg, Frankfurt, and Sydney.

In early 2015, Actuate has been acquired by Open Text Analytics.

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