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11/3/2008
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SaaS-Based BI Vendor Offers State-by-State Election Dashboard

Comparing past election results to Census data, Birst business intelligence environment looks inside state voting patterns.

How did your state vote in past presidential elections by age, race, education, income and occupation? Success Metrics, the company that recently launched Birst, a software-as-a-service-based business intelligence system, has developed a state-by-state voting analysis using its self-service dashboarding and reporting environment. The online analysis compares 2004 election results by state and Congressional district with data from the 2000 Census. The results are fascinating, and will make for interesting points of comparison with this week's election results.

Perhaps most revealing is the analysis of those all-important swing states. In Ohio, for example, Ohio voters with higher education and income levels largely supported George W. Bush in 2004, but will these "elites" break for McCain, who has positioned himself as the candidate fighting for "Joe the Plummer?"

Ohio Election Results

Also of interest for desk-chair political watchers is the state-by-state charting of presidential voting since 1900, which reveals the rising and falling political fortunes on both sides of the aisle in landslide years including 1964, 1980, 1984 and 1996. The role of the Electoral College is also apparent, with states like Ohio (above) and Florida (below) being close swing states for the winner in tight election years such as 1976 and 2000.

Florida Election Results

Founded by veterans of Siebel Analytics, Success Metrics launched Birst in September, billing it as a light data mining and analysis solution in the cloud. Eschewing the application-specific approach popular with most other SaaS-based BI offerings, the vendor says users can build a Birst-based data mart to analyze any type of data, including finance, operations, marketing, customer service, and sales information. The environment also accepts columnar data held in Excel and leading databases.

Birst offers two ways to build out dashboards and reports, explains Paul Staelin, a Siebel veteran and vice president of operations at Success Metrics. "Birst will automatically create a Quick Dashboard for you once the data mart has been created, and you can edit that dashboard and associated reports using a simple, drop-down interface," he says. "We also have an ad hoc interface for slightly more sophisticated users that gives you full access to the entire logical model. You basically point and click to add columns and format reports."

Birst services start with a free account that permits analysis of up to 10 megabytes of data and sharing among five users. Birst Basic and Birst Professional cost $99 and $199 per month, respectively, and offer additional features and storage up to 100 megabytes. Birst Groups and Birst Enterprise services bring storage into the terabyte range, with features including data aggregation and predictive analytics.

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