Information Builders WebFOCUS Review

Information Builders
Product:
Vendor:
Founded:
Headquarters:
WebFOCUS
Information Builders
1975
New York, NY
Ownership
Customers:
Deployment Model:
Free Trial:
Private
30,000
Cloud, On-Premise
Yes
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WebFOCUS At A Glance

Good: IT does not have to choose between native and web apps, ability to customize portal pages, menus, and page layouts, ability to not run on server power when processing data.
Bad: Runs with a scripting interfaces instead of an IDE, no ability to publish reports directly to SharePoint
Bottom Line: Information Builders WebFOCUS 8 is a scalable business intelligence tool that provides quick insights for the entire company by utilizing in-memory processing and reducing the complexity of the reporting and analyzing processes.

Product Overview

WebFOCUS 8 empowers employees to use corporate data to guide real-time decision making, investigate new market opportunities, discover hidden trends, and increase the efficiency of operational processes.

In addition to its unique scalability power, Information Builders also stands out for its state of the art mobile solution. A number of apps on the platform have revolutionized the way BI can be leveraged using a smartphone or tablet.

The platform does not force IT to choose between native and web apps, but rather combines the advantages of each into a single platform that can be accessed anywhere. The technology includes features such as the WebFOCUS App Studio, where web apps can be built and deployed to run on any browser, tablet, or smartphone. It also includes something called Mobile Faves, an app for iOS and Androids that allows for simple organization of and access to reports and dashboards. WebFOCUS Magnify, the other key feature to Information Builders’ mobile offering, is an enterprise search engine which provides an interactive search, both structured and non-structured, with a drill-down feature included.

Information Builders features a unique access portal which they tout as being inspired by the best of several programs: Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression Studio, and more.

The portal includes a GUI (intuitive graphical user interface) which allows for easy creation of customizable portal pages, menus, and page layouts. Users do not need to learn web development skills to implement these tools, and the content can be adjusted across a company’s departments.

Information Builders has recently launched a new solution called the WebFOCUS Auto Linking that automatically detect related data among dashboards, reports, and other WebFOCUS platforms. Its benefit is to help users find data and analytics related to the information they are looking for without having to re-do reports. And any user can work with this platform, regardless of their technical know-how.

Features

One of Information Builders’ most notable features is its “non-persistence,” or its ability to run without server power when not accessing or processing data. This means that much less hardware is required.

WebFOCUS also features server multi-threading, which means that multiple users can share the same resources without overloading servers.

Other features include data manipulation technologies, clustered servers, queue management, dynamic resource allocation, and query monitoring and governing, the last of which empowers administrators to monitor the average length of time it takes for a query to process, the number of rows of data that are returned, and more.

Below are some additional features offered by Information Builders:

  • Ad Hoc Analysis?
  • Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)?
  • Predictive Analysis?
  • Profit Analysis?
  • Trend Indicators?
  • Ad Hoc Reporting?
  • Automatic Scheduled Reporting?
  • Customizable Dashboard?

Target Market

Information Builders operates across a variety of industries. Banking, government, healthcare, and telecommunications are just a few of their sectors. Below is a list of some of the company’s key clients:

  • Wayne State College
  • Pro Alliance Corporation
  • TJA Partners LLC
  • First Rate Investments
  • US Transportation Command (DOD)
  • Social Security Administration
  • Office of Personnel Management
  • Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
  • LifeWatch
  • NDS

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Implementation/Integration

Information Builders offer two packages for implementation services:

  • Insurance Performance Foundation – Designed more for the insurance industry, this package include three suites of report templates (claims, underwriting, and policy administration). These templates will be implemented by Information Builders, along with integrating existing data and systems.
  • WebFOCUS Reporting Factory – This package is designed to implement WebFOCUS into the customer’s systems. Its Systems Development Life Cycle starts at business case preparation and goes from planning to system development to implementation to maintenance/support to end of life. For companies working with offshore WebFOCUS resources, there is a smaller process: Requirements, Specifications, Develop and Unit Test, and Unit Test Acceptance.

There is also a Solutions Assessment program that benefits key decision makers figuring out how Information Builders work best for them. Information Builders utilizes three types of interviews (technical, business analyst, and executives) and provides an assessment on issues, such as criteria of success, ROI, incorporate quality, and best practices for implementation.

Customer Service & Support

Information Builders’ customer support network is highlighted by Focal Point, an online community of forums and other resources where experts post answers to common issues and make themselves available to address user questions.

Beyond Focal Point, Information Builders has an extensive education program to help acquaint users with the software. They offer classes both online and in-person at training centers around the world. They also offer certification programs for individuals looking to become experts at WebFOCUS, either for individual use, as educators, or as IT leaders.

Pricing

Information Builders does not publicly release their pricing information. Please contact them directly for a price quote.

Shortcomings

WebFOCUS’ developer interface has been criticized for being difficult to deal with, as it runs with a scripting interface instead of a more user-friendly IDE.

Some users have had issues with publishing reports, as it does not have an API that can publish directly to SharePoint with a single sign on.

There are not an overabundance of WebFOCUS specialists and there may be many areas that lack individuals with the neccessary skills anywhere locally.

Screenshots

Information Builders Screenshot 1
Information Builders Screenshot 2
Information Builders Screenshot 3

About

Not to be confused with competitor InfoBuild, Information Builders was founded in New York in 1975 as a software company offering a variety of services. Information Builders became known as a business intelligence vendor with the development of their first database system product, FOCUS. In 1997 that evolved into the creation of WebFOCUS, a more advanced web-oriented program that has since spawned eight reiterations. Information Builders launched iWay Software in 2001, focusing specifically on products related to data integration and SOA (service-oriented architecture).

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