Suite Evaluation

How SpagoBI covers Gartner’s BI definition

Gartner defines business intelligence (BI) as an umbrella term that spans the people, processes and applications/tools to organize information, enable access to it and analyze it to improve decisions and manage performance. BI platforms enable users to build applications that help organizations learn and understand their business. Gartner defines a BI platform as a software platform that delivers the 14 capabilities listed below. These capabilities are organized into three categories of functionality: integration, information delivery and analysis. Information delivery remains the core focus of most BI projects today, but we see an increasing need to focus more on analysis to discover new insights, and on integration to implement those insights.
More details

SpagoBI score: 13 covered, 1 partially covered, 0 uncovered.

It is worth noticing that SpagoBI offers various additional functionalities to the 14 capabilities defined by Gartner, including:

  • Geographical engine (GEO/GIS) supporting the cartographic representation and spatial view of business data
  • RT Console: supporting the real-time monitoring of technical and business interest indicators
  • BAM: CEP engine for gathering simple and complex events in real-time, to be displayed on monitoring consoles and on analysis cockpits. Afterwards, the RT data is enriched with and related to historical data in order to develop extended BAM analysis.
The detailed descriptions of Gartner’s requirements and SpagoBI capabilities follow.

SpagoBI’s coverage definitions:

  • Covered: the requirement specifications are supported by the functionalities of the suite
  • Partially covered: the requirement is not supported by any specific functionality, but it can be covered using other functionalities of the suite
  • Uncovered: the requirement specifications are not supported by the functionalities of the suite.

Integration

  • BI infrastructure - All tools in the platform should use the same security, metadata, administration, portal integration, object model and query engine, and should share the same look and feel.
SpagoBI: covered. SpagoBI Server manages security, metadata, administration, portal integration, object model and query engine as well as SpagoBI Studio and Meta.

  • Metadata management - Not only should all tools leverage the same metadata, but the offering should provide a robust way to search, capture, store, reuse and publish metadata objects such as dimensions, hierarchies, measures, performance metrics and report layout objects.
SpagoBI: covered. Business metadata can be searched using SpagoBI full text search engine. Technical metadata can be exported in XMI format. Analytical documents templates and layouts can be used to show different data (according to the security settings) and exported in XML format.

  • Development Tools - The BI platform should provide a set of programmatic development tools and visual development environment - coupled with a software developer's kit for creating BI applications - for integrating them into a business process, and/or embedding them in another application. The BI platform should also enable developers to build BI applications without coding by using wizard-like components for a graphical assembly process. The development environment should also support Web services in performing common tasks such as scheduling, delivering, administering and managing. In addition, the BI application can assign and track events or tasks allotted to specific users, based on pre-defined business rules. Often, this capability is delivered by integrating with a separate portal or workflow tool.
SpagoBI: covered. SpagoBI Studio assists developers in building analytical documents providing a graphical interface. SpagoBI SDK allows to access SpagoBI core functionalities from external applications using Web Services or Tag Libraries.

  • Collaboration - This capability enables BI users to share and discuss information and / or manage hierarchies and metrics via discussion threads, chat, annotations either embedded in the BI platform or through integration with collaboration, analytical MDM, and social software.
SpagoBI: covered. Any analytical document can be annotated by users. Notes may have a private or public scope and be shared among authorised users. Analytical documents can even be sent to others by email with a personal note. Moreover, a specific SpagoBI engine (the analytical dossier) allows to build Office documents that collect SpagoBI documents under the control of a workflow. A driven process enables the involved users to enrich its portion of documents with personal notes that will be used in the result. Thanks to this specific engine, users can share additional information and integrate the data knowledge with their private one.

Information Delivery

  • Reporting - Reporting provides the ability to create formatted and interactive reports (parameterized) with highly scalable distribution and scheduling capabilities. In addition, BI platform vendors should handle a wide array of reporting styles (for example, financial, operational and performance dashboards) and should enable users to access and fully interact with BI content delivered to mobile devices.
SpagoBI: covered. SpagoBI provides many reporting engines fulfilling all typical reporting functionalities. People using SpagoBI on mobile device can interact with a specific application that sets up a remote connection with SpagoBI Server and shows authorized documents over the specific mobile device, by means of portable (web-based) technologies.

  • Dashboards - This subset of reporting includes the ability to publish formal, Web-based reports with intuitive interactive displays of information, including dials, gauges, sliders, check boxes, and traffic lights. These displays indicate the state of the performance metric, compared with a goal or target value. Increasingly, dashboards are used to disseminate real-time data from operational applications.
SpagoBI: covered. SpagoBI provides many engines to build dashboards, which can be used separately or jointly, in order to obtain composed views: the report engine, the chart/dash engine with dials, thermometers and speedometers that use thresholds, the KPI engine with targets and thresholds specification, graphs and maps, and finally the Composite Document engine for combined and interactive cockpits.

  • Ad hoc query - This capability enables users to ask their own questions of the data, without relying on IT to create a report. In particular, the tools must have a robust semantic layer to allow users to navigate available data sources. These tools should include a disconnected analysis capability that enables users to access BI content and analyze data remotely without being connected to a server-based BI application. In addition, these tools should offer query governance and auditing capabilities to ensure that queries perform well.
SpagoBI: covered. SpagoBI fully covers ad-hoc querying providing two graphical ad-hoc query engines: the Query by Example (QbE) and the Smart Filter. Disconnected analysis and query governance are not available yet.

  • Microsoft Office integration - In some cases, BI platforms are used as a middle tier to manage, secure and execute BI tasks, but Microsoft Office (particularly Excel) acts as the BI client. In these cases, it is vital that the BI vendor provides integration with Microsoft Office, including support for: document formats, formulas, data "refresh" and pivot tables. Advanced integration includes cell locking and write-back.
SpagoBI: covered. Any SpagoBI analytical document can be exported into various Office formats (.doc, .rtf, .csv, .xls). As far as OLAP is concerned, the XMLA engine allows to access any OLAP server supporting the XMLA standard, such as Microsoft Analysis Services. SpagoBI worksheet engine allows to build pivot tables via browser using the same paradigm as excel and the results can be exported into Excel. Advanced integration is not available yet.

  • Search Based BI - Applies a search index to both structured and unstructured data sources and maps them into a classification structure of dimensions and measures (often leveraging the BI semantic layer) that users can easily navigate and explore using a search (Google-like) interface. This capability extends beyond key word searching of BI platform content and metadata.
SpagoBI: covered. SpagoBI search engine can search for any business or technical metadata attached to analytical documents.

  • Mobile BI - This capability enables organizations to deliver report and dashboard content to mobile devices (such as smartphones and tablets) in a publishing and/or interactive (bidirectional) mode, and takes advantage of the interaction mode of the device (tapping, swiping and so on) and other capabilities not commonly available on desktops and laptops, such as location awareness.
SpagoBI: covered. SpagoBI fully covers mobile BI providing with engines specifically designed to publish data in the format of flat tables, pivot tables and charts. The user can easily navigate through these data by using the interaction mode of the device, while connected to the SpagoBI server. Disconnected mode support and location awareness are not supported yet.

Analysis

  • OLAP - This enables end users to analyze data with extremely fast query and calculation performance, enabling a style of analysis known as "slicing and dicing." Users are (often) able to easily navigate multidimensional drill paths. And Users (sometimes) have the ability to write back values to a proprietary data base for planning and what if modeling purposes. This capability could span a variety of storage architectures such as relational, multi-dimensional and in-memory.
SpagoBI: covered. SpagoBI provides three OLAP engines (Jpivot/Mondrian, Jpalo and XMLA engine) that fully cover standard OLAP requirements in terms of drill, slice and dice capabilities. Write back is not available yet.

  • Interactive visualization - This gives the ability to display numerous aspects of the data more efficiently by using interactive pictures and charts, instead of rows and columns. Over time, advanced visualization will go beyond just slicing and dicing data to include more process-driven BI projects, allowing all stakeholders to better understand the workflow through a visual representation.
SpagoBI: covered. SpagoBI provides more than one engine fulfilling this requirement: the Composite Document engine, the Worksheet engine and the GEOEngine that also manage graphical design, such as a process schema.

  • Predictive modeling and data mining - This capability enables organizations to classify categorical variables and to estimate continuous variables using advanced mathematical techniques. BI developers are able to integrate models easy into BI reports, dashboards and analysis.
SpagoBI: covered. SpagoBI integrates Weka data mining tools, providing, among others, algorithms suited for predictive modelling, such as: regression trees, bayes and neural networks.

  • Scorecards - These take the metrics displayed in a dashboard a step further by applying them to a strategy map that aligns key performance indicators to a strategic objective. Scorecard metrics should be linked to related reports and information in order to do further analysis. A scorecard implies the use of a performance management methodology such as Six Sigma or a balanced scorecard framework.
SpagoBI: partially covered. SpagoBI does not include a specific scorecard engine. The KPI engine can be used to partially cover this requirement.
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Created by Cristina Klein on 2011/10/13 11:40
Last modified by Cristina Klein on 2012/02/17 16:24

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