True analytical reporting must be dynamic if users are going to turn to it to help them predict business performance in ever-changing markets.

Mario Morejon, Contributor

January 11, 2005

3 Min Read

For practical and analytical business reporting, small to midsize businesses must capture and use data from their procurement practices, sales journals and supply chain in realtime to get the best perspective of their businesses. True analytical reporting must be dynamic if users are going to turn to it to help them predict business performance in ever-changing markets. Ideally, every user with influence on a business decision should be able to access analytical reports in realtime and explore them as needed.

Databeacon has one of the best Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) suites for SMBs with limited IT resources. Databeacon's Smart Client provides a self-service OLAP infrastructure that constructs bundled data-marts and transmits them via the Web, allowing users to extract information with little help from IT.

Smart Client's OLAP reporting technology can be used on the desk-top, allowing users to work in a semi-independent distributed environment. Users can design and build their own search and report results on their desktops without affecting other users via compacted mini-datamarts called cube files. This unique architecture shifts the work of modifying and maintaining data cubes from a company's limited technical staff to its business users.

Databeacon works with many different databases and file formats. The server-side tool produces cubes that are independent of any back-end database or special file system. These cube files are highly compressed, typically less than 1 Mbyte in size, and virtually maintenance-free. The software can build these data cubes at a rate of about 25,000 rows of data per second. Since the average midsize company only processes 100,000 to 200,000 rows per cube, the tool can respond to data requests in realtime.

The OLAP technology can also show changes in realtime so users can view data as it is extracted from transactional databases. Because Smart Client works over the Web, cubes are time-stamped with expiration dates during the data-extraction process. The data cubes can operate independently and offline for easy access. Best Before Dates force users to execute another instance to receive fresh data if information has changed, even if the clients are not connected to the Web server.

Because cubes are executed locally, Smart Client's responsiveness surpasses even the most expensive OLAP engines on the market. Cubes do not need to be processed on centralized servers, so expensive upgrades are not required even as the number of users and cubes increases.

According to Databeacon, this technology is one of the first software clients that works with Microsoft's .Net framework and does not depend on local installations for its versioning procedures. .Net provides a zero-touch client that allows users to click on a link and automatically download clients without changing any security certificates. The automatic deployment process is as easy as accessing Web content, virtually eliminating the need for IT support.

Databeacon provides extensive pre- and post-sales marketing and technical support. The company provides dedicated account management teams, public-relations support, Webinars, and joint-selling and prototype-building opportunities. The average reseller margin is 30 percent, but partners can earn up to 50 percent based on sales. Databeacon Smart Client Standard is priced at $4,495 for five users.

Click here for CRN's Databeacon Smart Client thumbnail review.

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