Actuate cited for having excellent data access, information delivery, scalability, integrated development environment (IDE), BI knowledge management, and reporting and querying capabilities
“Actuate is a top choice for scaling to millions of reports and users,” wrote Boris Evelson, a Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst, and the lead author of the Wave report. “Forrester found that Actuate had excellent data access, information delivery, scalability, integrated development environment (IDE), BI knowledge management, and reporting and querying capabilities.”
According to the report, “It’s not the individual capabilities that differentiate the Leaders, but rather the completeness, comprehensiveness, and integration of the entire BI architectural stack. In addition to increasingly popular features like analytics, data visualization, dashboards, and data exploration, the Leaders also provide the pixel-perfect, industrial-strength report writers that companies still need.”
The report states, “In 2013, Actuate closed one of the gaps in its portfolio, business user self-service analytics, by acquiring Quiterian [rebranded as BIRT Analytics™].”
The report also notes, “The Eclipse Foundation’s BIRT, the basis of Actuate’s platform, is used by more than 3 million developers and is open source — so it lends itself nicely to embedded BI and try-before-you-buy use cases.”
Forrester Research is one of the premier independent research firms in the industry. The report evaluated core capabilities such as advanced data visualization, analysis/OLAP, exploration and discovery, dashboards, performance management, and predictive analytics, as well as reporting and querying. It also evaluated embedded BI, integration with Microsoft Office apps, and portal integration, among other key areas included in the analysis of more than 30 vendors and ranking of 11 BI vendors.
Rankings were compiled against 72 criteria, as a result of Forrester product evaluation surveys of 94 user companies, and interviews with 10 vendors. Selection criteria included having at least 100 in-production customers and presence in more than one major geographical region; being one of the top 11 vendors by revenue; and being “frequently mentioned or asked about in the context of BI.”
Report Findings: Strengths of Actuate
Actuate scores placed the company in sixth position among the 10 vendors in the ranking for “Current Offering” based on Actuate’s development and deployment products built on BIRT iHub™ and its self-service analytics solution for business analysts, BIRT Analytics.™. Actuate also received the highest score possible for “Database Access Mechanisms” and for “Scalability.”
Additionally, Actuate was cited in the following areas:
Scalability: “Actuate is a top choice for scaling to millions of reports and users. Massive scalability — interactive reporting applications producing output consumed by millions, not just thousands, of users — is Actuate’s sweet spot. Its top use cases involve distributing complex, interactive online statements to customers of large financial services institutions.”
Big Data: “Open source BI tools have been around for years, but big data and Hadoop are now re-energizing these products. If you have limited budget, want to reduce your dependence on commercial software vendors, and want to leverage the expertise of millions of software developers around the world, look to [products including] Actuate BIRT…”
Self-service: “Business users are no longer satisfied with just discovering and analyzing data; they’re also asking for the ability to perform basic data manipulation tasks like integration, matching, and deduplication without having to wait for enterprise batch extract-transform-load (ETL) and data cleansing cycles. …Actuate acquired functionality from Quiterian that it now offers as BIRT Analytics.”
Cloud Deployment: “Got data, want information, but don’t want to deal with installation, configuration, integration, tuning, optimization, maintenance, and support? Large vendors such as Actuate… offer very attractive choices for such use cases.”
Key Forrester takeaways from the report:
- Best-Of-Breed Versus Suite Is No Longer A Major BI Platform Selection Criterion
- In the modern world, BI platforms can be embedded into a broader enterprise software suite and still be open and best of breed.
- Factors Other Than BI Functionality Often Lead BI Platform Selection Choices
- It’s not just about tool functionality; tight integration with enterprise ERP, ETL, portal, and desktop office applications can often break the tie when selecting a strategic enterprise BI platform.
- A Single Enterprise BI Platform May Be A Vision But Is Seldom A Practical Reality