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10/30/2012
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Actuate Acquires Quiterian For Big Data Tools

Quiterian Analytics will integrate with ActuateOne product suite, bringing advanced and predictive analytics to Actuate's BI software.

Actuate's recently announced acquisition of Quiterian, a business analytics provider based in Barcelona, Spain, will allow Actuate to sharpen its big data focus by bringing predictive and social media analytics, as well as visual data mining, to Actuate's business intelligence software product line.

In a phone interview with InformationWeek, Actuate senior VP of marketing Nobby Akiha and Quiterian CEO and founder Josep Arroyo discussed strategies of the combined company.

To prepare for the new era of big data, Actuate wanted to beef up its analytic capabilities to address massive data sets. "That's why we think this recent acquisition of Quiterian makes a lot of sense," Akiha said.

One of Spain's top analytics vendors, Quiterian has more than 100 customers, including Metro Madrid, Orange, Ricoh, Vodafone and Volkswagen Finance.

Many of Spain's public transportation agencies -- Arroyo claims his company has 80% of the market -- are Quiterian customers as well.

"We have all the trains, subways, buses and so on. They produce large volumes of data, and we are able to upload this information immediately at the rate of 60 gigabytes per hour" said Arroyo. "So we have a lot of experience in incorporating data very rapidly. And we can do advanced analytics on that."

[ Behind big data is a high degree of innovation, tangible benefits, venture capital and hype. See Big Data Meets BI: Beyond The Hype. ]

The merger will soon spawn a new product called BIRT Analytics, which combines the ActuateOne suite with Quiterian Analytics. In addition to business intelligence and data discovery, BIRT Analytics will offer data analysis, visualization and information delivery tools, the companies said.

BIRT Analytics gets its name from the Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) Project, an open source effort founded by Actuate when it joined the Eclipse Foundation in 2004. The project, which provides BI and reporting tools for rich client and Web applications, has an estimated user base of more than 1.5 million developers worldwide, according to Actuate.

Actuate sees the Quiterian acquisition as the next step in its big data push. It hopes that the Spanish company's predictive analytics and data mining capabilities will enable BIRT developers to create powerful new applications.

"We think it's a perfect fit in terms of what we're trying to accomplish, and in terms of providing value-add to our customers," said Akiha. This synergy includes an easy-to-use front end for less technical users, and Quiterian's "analytic horsepower to do some powerful analysis of the data," he added.

"We are excited because we combine well, culturally and technologically. We can offer a complete cloud platform for big data, advanced analytics and high performance," said Arroyo.

The initial release of BIRT Analytics won't introduce a host of new features, but rather will combine the current capabilities of the Actuate and Quiterian products.

"We are not going to bring any specific functionality other than the functionality we already have. But we will have a complete platform for integrating, very quickly and easily, large volumes -- we're talking about billions of records -- from different sources," said Arroyo.

The Quiterian staff will join Actuate immediately and will stay in Barcelona. Arroyo will become Actuate's VP of BIRT Analytics and will oversee the company's data mining and analytics strategy.

The Quiterian merger isn't Actuate's first acquisition. Less than three years ago it acquired Toronto-based Xenos Group, maker of an online document management system.

"That allowed us to go after data in document archives. So we're able to extract information from archives of customer statements and invoices. We take a pretty expansive view of big data," said Akiha.

Actuate, headquartered in Silicon Valley, Calif., has also formed partnerships with major big data players such as Cloudera, EMC, Hortonworks and Pervasive, he said.

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