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Intelligent Enterprise 2009 Editors' Choice Awards

Intelligent Enterprise names 'The Dozen' most influential vendors in enterprise IT for 2009. Plus, we highlight 36 'Companies to Watch' in five categories.

2009 Intelligent Enterprise Editor's choice: Companies to Watch

COMPANIES TO WATCH: BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

Actuate. This vendor made lots of good moves with its recent Actuate 10 release, adding an Ajax-based viewing environment, JavaScript APIs for developers, and Flash-based widgets and gadgets. What's more, Actuate 10 makes the most of the open-source Eclipse BIRT project. Actuate is poised to take advantage of growing interest in open-source BI alternatives.

Attensity. This firm's on-premise and SaaS-based offerings help companies read the "voice of the customer" buried in surveys, e-mail messages, call center exchanges, Web forum comments, blogs posts and other high-volume interactions. Attensity provides an automated way to understand customer intent and expectations to improve customer satisfaction, reduce churn and anticipate market shifts.

Clarabridge. Another text-mining leader, Clarabridge is focused on voice-of-the-customer/voice-of-the-market analysis. In one of our favorite case studies of 2008, Gaylord Entertainment described its use of Clarabridge software to analyze and understand Web-based hotel guest surveys within hours so it can quickly take action to improve services and win back guests who had complaints. It's cutting-edge technology with a real ROI story.

Information Builders. While other BI vendors simply partnered with SPSS to add analytics, Information Builders shrewdly chose to build on top of the popular open-source R programming language. The move promises to pay dividends in 2009 and beyond. Meanwhile, the company's proven products include scalable and affordable alternatives such as its under-rated WebFocus Active Reports technology, which binds data and interactive viewing into a single, cross-platform file format.

Inforsense. Treating BI as a process, InforSense provides an intuitive, workflow-based environment for predictive analytics and visual-analysis. Data integration and collaboration features are built in, and a repository lets you capture and share proven approaches. It's also services-based, so you can build composite analytic apps and deliver predictive services. Pharma and biotech firms are among those taking advantage of repeatable and auditable analytic processes.

Pentaho. Open-source BI is gaining traction, and Pentaho seems to have the most momentum. With projects including Mondrian OLAP, Pentaho Reporting Engine, Kettle ETL, Weka data mining and the core eponymous BI Suite, Pentaho has all the key BI components covered. It's a well-managed company with a solid technology base.

SPSS. Every BI vendor now wants to compete on analytics, it seems, so SPSS is the partner of choice for SAP Business Objects, IBM Cognos and others. That speaks volumes about the depth, breadth, affordability and market acceptance of SPSS analytics and data mining products.

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