Enabling the Intelligent Enterprise: 2005 Editors' Choice Awards - InformationWeek

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Enabling the Intelligent Enterprise: 2005 Editors' Choice Awards

Our seventh annual take on The Dozen most influential vendors driving the intelligent enterprise. Plus, we name 48 Companies to Watch in 12 categories including enterprise apps, BI and special "vanguard" company selections.

Information Strategy | Enterprise Applications | Application Integration | Business Intelligence | Performance Management | Business Execution | Customer Intelligence | Information Management | Application Management | The Vanguard | On-Demand Leadership | Unstructured Intelligence

Business Intelligence

This category covers primarily data access, querying and reporting tools. Ah, but there’s so much more: Enabling enterprises to improve the speed and depth of their decision-making requires analytics, including OLAP and data mining. Plus, as BI moves out into more “operational” contexts, the technology must work within business processes and different user interfaces and desktop applications.

Consolidation is the big BI trend: and like a game of musical chairs, no vendor wants to be the one left standing. Among the handful of solid top players, each one has significant strengths and faithful users. (Note that we decided to highlight some familiar BI names in the Customer Intelligence, Performance Management and Unstructured Intelligence categories.)

Despite the consolidation fervor, technology buyers would be wise to check out smaller innovators. BI isn’t a field that can ever hit stasis; it serves decision-making. Everyone still learning what works best for decision makers when it comes to analyzing, visualizing and sharing information.

Business Objects

The proof had to be in the pudding. The company's 2003 acquisition of Crystal Decisions brought out plenty of doomsayers. What in fact seems to have happened is a Crystal infusion. Crystal's technology contributions shine brightly in Business Objects XI and give the company momentum again in the enterprise BI race.

Companies to Watch in 2005

Information Builders. Business intelligence isn't much without underlying data integration. Combining the two is IBI's strong suit. The private company reports robust customer growth, especially among organizations looking to consolidate.

MicroStrategy. Product innovation is the secret to MicroStrategy's loyal following. Prestigious customers are now getting in gear with MicroStrategy 8, which sports an adaptable user interface.

Qliktech. As memory costs decline, Qliktech's fortunes could rise. The company breaks the mold of preset cubes, aggregations and views to let users be more creative in their analyses.

ProClarity. The business savvy of ProClarity's analytic applications gains a new dimension in Analytics Platform 6: speed.

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Performance Management

BI’s expansion is fueled by a desire to leverage information to improve business performance. Financial metrics dominate the field of performance management—and traditional planning and forecasting processes are in dire need of a makeover. However, broader management metrics are becoming part of enterprise scorecards. Technology buyers have a varied selection of products from which to choose; innovative smaller vendors continue to make progress, while established BI and enterprise application vendors shape their software suites to hit key verticals

Cognos

Racing quickly to the forefront of enterprise reporting, Cognos' service-oriented ReportNet has been a big success. Brought together with the company's analytic software, Cognos makes the short list when companies look to consolidate onto an enterprise BI platform.

Yet, all of this has been but a prelude to a decided turn toward performance management (PM). Marrying its strength in Web-based BI with new releases for planning and consolidation, metrics and scorecards, Cognos is positioned to be the pied piper of operational PM.

Companies to Watch in 2005

arcplan. Drawing on a large set of native gateways, arcplan offers speedy data access. Drag-and-drop customization enables business users to set up their own PM analysis.

Applix. Financial planning in most organizations is a slow, error-filled distraction. Applix enables companies to fix the whole process.

Hyperion. It's tough to beat Hyperion for financial PM. The company's BI platform and analytic applications are popular solutions for addressing corporate governance accountability requirements.

Outlooksoft. Prospering as the full-featured PM package on the Microsoft platform, Outlooksoft is keeping customers interested with new predictive analytics.

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