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Panorama Launches Online BI Service

PowerApps is a Web-based hosted online analytical processing (OLAP) platform that offers application programming interfaces to create scorecards, dashboards, and reports from within Google Apps.

Panorama Software has launched an online analytical engine for business intelligence applications.

PowerApps is a Web-based hosted online analytical processing (OLAP) platform that offers application programming interfaces to create scorecards, dashboards, and reports from within Google Apps. The latter are Google's software-as-a-service answer to Microsoft Office and includes Web mail, calendaring, word processing, spreadsheets and wiki-building services.

"We are building the next generation of OLAP solutions for the new era of cloud computing," Eynav Azarya, chief executive of Panorama, said in a statement.

Panorama uses multidimensional expression (MDX) to query data hosted with Panorama, which also provides tools for uploading and managing data. MDX is a query language for OLAP databases, much like SQL is a query language for relational databases. MDX is also a calculation language, with syntax similar to spreadsheet formulas.

As the default front end, Panorama offers tools to customize its software for Google Apps. However, any MDX-supporting front-end application, such as Microsoft Excel, will be able to query data sitting on PowerApps, Panorama executives said.

In launching PowerApps, Panorama is looking to ride the SaaS wave in the industry. While not an answer to all IT needs, online applications are emerging as an alternative for some on-premise applications. Besides BI, SaaS alternative exist for sales force automation, customer relationship management and more.

Panorama PowerApps, announced late last week, is available for testing by registration. The service is expected to be broadly available by the end of the year, along with sample applications and code that showcase usage of the platform.

Panorama is one of the fastest growing companies in the BI market. In 1996, Panorama sold its OLAP technology to Microsoft, which made it the foundation of the BI platform of SQL Server, now called SQL Server Analysis. Panorama also sold MDX to Microsoft.

Panorama now focuses on creating front-end applications that run on the BI layer of other major vendors beyond Microsoft, such as SAP, IBM and Oracle. Microsoft competes with Panorama through its 2006 ProClarity acquisition.

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