Visualization represents a major driving force behind the increased use of business intelligence applications. And until recently, this was also an argument for why BI software should be used on premise. After all, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application is by definition based on a browser, which will never provide the same level of visualization as a rich local client.
But much of that thinking is about to head by the wayside as more providers of SaaS applications move to add support for next-generation Web interface powered by development tools such as Adobe Flash Flex or Microsoft Silverlight.
Birst claims its BI application delivered as a service, which uses Adobe Flash Flex, not only make it easier to distribute BI data, but also to discern what is happening in that data through the use of next-generation visualization tools.
Birst CEO Brad Peters says he knows other SaaS providers will be embracing Adobe Flash Flex or Microsoft Silverlight to make their wares more appealing to their users. But in the meantime, Peters said Birst will have a distinct advantage, not only in terms of overall presentation, but also because it's designed as a service that can work with local data so nobody has to spend hours loading data into a system before anybody can actually use it.
As for the changing face of Web applications, for now advances such as Adobe Flash Flex or Microsoft Silverlight are associated mostly with consumer applications. But as applications such as Birst show, a revolution in the way business applications are presented as a service is in the offing as well