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Actuate enters analytics arena

Actuate's newly released software seeks to help power users answer the "why" questions through unstructured analysis.

Actuate Corp. bills its reporting software as being able to serve 95% of a company's business intelligence needs. The South San Francisco, Calif.-based vendor now says it can cover the other 5%, with an analytics application being released today.

Actuate Analytics includes the Cube Viewer, an interface that enables users to analyze cubes and define reports; the Cube Designer, a wizard-driven tool to define OLAP cubes step by step; and the Option for iServer, a server component that creates scheduled cubes, caches on demand and delivers reports to the reporting applications.

It's aimed at "power users who want to ask the 'why' questions" and do unstructured analysis, said Mike Thoma, Actuate's vice president of product marketing. Actuate aimed for the same user interface as its other applications, and the company says the software offers ad hoc querying capabilities through its enterprise reports and Microsoft Excel.

Some key features of the new release are one-click access to data cubes where hyperlinks are supported, secure and personalized cubes for user-specific content, a customizable interface, and mobile analysis.

Keith Gile, an analyst with Forrester Research, Cambridge, Mass., said time will tell how well the features perform, but Acutate has a strong record of scalability with its reporting suite.

"[Analytics] is not an area Actuate has been a significant force in," Gile said. "The competition is very strong in analytics and weak in reporting. I think it's a good move for them."

Actuate Analytics will be available in a limited production version at the end of December and is scheduled for general availability at the end of January. Pricing starts at $15,000 per CPU. The Cube Designer costs $495 per developer.

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