Informatica builds analytics platform

Drawing heavily on commercial practices for making customized information available anywhere and anytime, Informatica Corp. today launched its Analytics Delivery Platform, an Internet-based solution that government organizations can use to deliver critical information regardless of a user's physical location.

The Analytics Delivery Platform was developed with an emphasis on usability, said Bart Foster, senior vice president of marketing at the San Francisco-based company. Analytic "dashboards" across an enterprise deliver information integrated with alerts and enterprise communication tools, including Microsoft Corp.'s Exchange, and can be role-based to a manager's function within an organization.

The dashboards also can be personalized with charts, graphs, dials and reports, as well as shortcuts to commonly used documents, Foster said.

"We've stolen from the consumer Internet world with the dashboards, which are similar to a 'MyYahoo' page," he said. "We want to get into the hands of the decision-makers the information they want."

Geoffrey Stilley, director of federal sales and marketing at Informatica, said that although no federal agencies beta tested the new product, the company did get input from "most Cabinet-level agencies" and incorporated those comments into the design.

"We built their suggestions into it, which were ease of use, having the Internet built-in so it's seamless, and being able to generate reports on the fly," Stilley said.

The General Services Administration has expressed interest in the product to help manage its fleet of about 1 million vehicles, Stilley said. Via a personal digital assistant, "it could alert people driving the cars to get an oil change," he said, adding that the Navy is interested in using it to keep track of its weapons stores.

The Internet-based platform is based on the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) infrastructure, which supports all database platforms and Windows NT and Unix operating systems. The Informatica product delivers real-time analytics and alerts to users via the Web as well as wireless and voice recognition interfaces.

The current version was built on BEA Systems Inc.'s WebLogic, and application servers from IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc.'s iPlanet will be certified by early 2002.

Other features of the Analytics Delivery Platform include:

* Open application programming interfaces for further customization and integration with business intelligence and reporting tools. Informatica will certify business intelligence tools from Actuate Corp., Brio Software Inc., Business Objects, Cognos Inc. and MicroStrategy Inc.

* Full integration with enterprise authentication and communication tools, such as Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, Windows NT Domain, MS Exchange and IMAP4 e-mail standards. The platform uses multilevel security and data-level encryption using Secure Sockets Layer and Wireless Transport Layer Security.

* Web-based administration to enable administrators to manage and customize the delivery platform via any desktop browser.

Pricing, which starts at about $150,000 for a project, is done on a per server basis, as opposed to the traditional per user model. Informatica wants to keep costs as low as possible for agencies while promoting enterprisewide usage, Foster said.

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