Integration Capabilities to Consider with BI Tools

Loraine Lawson

Jaspersoft made headlines in January for redesigning its business intelligence suite to be more accessible to a broader range of users beyond your typical BI specialist.


Jaspersoft 4.0 is built using the standard Web technologies: JSP, JavaScript and HTML/CSS. For a more detailed look at how that works, I suggest you check out this IT World article. More to the point, this redesign translates into a solution that is easier to customize, easier to integrate with other Web technologies and can be deployed anywhere-including in private or public clouds and as a SaaS, according to ReadWriteEnterprise.


Jaspersoft's CEO Brian Gentile calls this "embedded BI," and during a recent interview, he told me that he believes this approach will be the key to helping BI reach a broader audience beyond the BI specialist. Couple the easier interface with the ability to embed BI into Web applications, plus an open source approach, and you can see why Jaspersoft 4.0 would appeal to small- and mid-sized organizations.


Underlying this redesigned version, I learned, was a focus on application integration.


"A hundred percent of the release is designed and specified for superior application integration," Gentile said. "What we've done is we've fundamentally built our architecture with great flexibility in mind. ... There's a huge advantage in this modern architecture and flexible design-great integration or embeddable. It makes for a very powerful modern BI platform and the fact that it's available as a commercial open source product gives this very broad distribution and a very big profile in the marketplace."


Not surprisingly, integration is a huge component of any BI solution; although, usually, the focus is on data integration rather than application integration. For instance, most BI tools offer some sort of ETL as part of their solution. For example, Jaspersoft has an OEM with Talend's ETL tool.


But when it comes to evaluating BI solutions, there are other integration-related capabilities and add-ons you should consider, according to a January Information Management article:

  • Data warehouses
  • Metadata management
  • Data cleansing
  • Real-time data replication


One other item in that article piqued my interest: It calls the idea of a single, enterprise-wide BI solution a "pipe dream," suggesting instead you focus on standards, rather than a single vendor. I see the point, but wonder if in reality, that will translate into little silos of BI across the organization.


If your focus is on squeezing more value out of existing investments, rather than finding a new solution, you might also check out data integration expert Rick Sherman's guest piece on TechTarget. The title, "Improving BI performance without breaking the bank," says it all, but he also explains how you can optimize use of ETL processes, data virtualization and caching to better support BI.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Mar 2, 2011 4:53 PM jamikejah jamikejah  says:

Thanks for the very informative article. I learned a lot from it.

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Mar 3, 2011 11:59 AM sharath sharath  says:

Jaspersoft 4.0 would give you better options and its good in its way.


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