Thursday, 13 July 2017 11:22

Infor's Birst acquisition is bursting forth


Business software vendor Infor's acquisition of BI specialist Birst, which was completed last month, is beginning to bear fruit.

Birst is now part of Infor OS (operating service) alongside collaboration software Ming.le, the ION integration layer, the localisation platform, and other components.

Birst is a complete analytics system, from ETL (extract, transform, load) to dashboards. "We had to do the whole thing," said senior vice-president for BI and analytics Brad Peters (pictured).

The system has an enterprise focus for "complex data, complex processes", he added, and gets around the need to choose between centralised and desktop-based BI.

It also maximises end user self-service, he added.

A key feature is that Birst automates the processes of arranging data, making it ready for analysis, and giving it business meaning, as well as handling data connections to source systems and visualisation.

Users are free to combine their own data sets with corporate data, leaving IT "free to focus on manufacturing quality data".

Infor has used Birst internally with its HCM (human capital management) system to greatly improve first-year employee retention, said Peters. Other users include Schneider Electric, Citrix and Cisco.

Birst can already be used straight out of the box with Infor software, using Birst's ETL capability. It can be used for BI or operational reporting. It also works with Ming.le and Infor's single-sign on system.

By the end of the year — perhaps as soon as September — full integration with Infor's Xi platfor should be achieved, said Infor senior vice-president of technology Massimo Capoccia.

The company is considering replacing the existing Cognos-based reporting features in Infor software with equivalent capabilities based on Birst, he added.

Potential developments include using Birst technology for predictive modelling, said Peters.

Birst will continue to be usable with non-Infor software, he said: "We're going to go head to head with the other folks [BI providers] that are out there."

A free trial of Birst is currently available to Infor customers. In addition, a 40% discount on the price of the enterprise version is offered for a limited time.

Disclosure: The writer attended Inforum 2017 as a guest of the company.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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