We are happy to share some insights about Board International drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.
Earlier this year we published the Ventana Research Value Index: Analytics and Data 2021, the distillation of a year of market and product research efforts. We then developed three additional Value Indexes on analytics and business intelligence focusing on mobile, embedded and collaborative capabilities. Because each is a critical aspect of modern BI, we developed specific criteria to provide an in-depth look at features geared specifically to mobile, embedded and collaborative use.
In all of our Value Indexes, we utilize a structured research methodology that includes evaluation categories designed to reflect real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal and vendor selection process for analytics and business intelligence. We evaluated Board International and 17 other vendors in seven categories: five relevant to the product and experience – Adaptability, Capability, Manageability, Reliability and Usability – and two related to the customer experience – Total Cost of Ownership/Return on Investment and Vendor Validation. To arrive at the Value Index rating for a given vendor, we weighted each category to reflect its relative importance in an RFP process, with the weightings based on our experience and on data derived from our Benchmark Research on Analytics and Business Intelligence. Board's performance rating in the Value Index overall is 70.3%, for customer experience 73.1% and product experience 69.8%.
Board International, a Swiss-based vendor of BI and corporate performance management systems and tools, was categorized as an Exemplary Vendor and ranked eighth overall in this Value Index evaluation. While based in Switzerland, the company operates internationally with offices around the world. Board performed its best in Validation and was a Value Index Leader in Reliability and Validation.
Its product, Board 11, is available on-premises or in the cloud with unified planning and analytics. It uses an in-memory multidimensional data model in conjunction with an optional hybrid architecture that can load indexes in memory but retrieve data values as necessary. It is one of only five of the 18 products evaluated able to change data values and recalculate results on the fly and write results back to the database. There is no distinction in the product between data used in planning versus data used across any of its analytics. As a result, it provides a simple and smooth transition between the two types of analyses.
Our assessment finds room for improvement in the product’s Adaptability. Additional application programming interfaces and support for more customization would enable better integration with other applications and processes in an organization. Board would have performed better in Capability if the product offered more collaboration and advanced analytics.
Collaborative tools can enable a diverse group of participants to coordinate their activities and share knowledge. Our research shows that nearly four in 10 organizations are using collaboration to support analytics processes, and more than one-half said they expect to use these capabilities in the future. As a product that supports planning analyses, Board provides data sharing and collaboration around changes to values in plans. Using built-in features, organizations can create a task-management framework for submitting and tracking the status of plans. Board web clients also provide a chat feature to enable messages between users that can incorporate screenshots. Board’s Adaptability rating would be improved with additional APIs.
To optimally use data in both tactical and strategic ways, organizations need analytics that are embedded in business processes and applications. Embedded analytics make analyses easier to perform and more accessible to line-of-business personnel. Board 11 recently introduced a set of REST APIs for accessing and interacting with data in the system. It also supports custom connectors. Embedding of individual displays is available via URL references. Board would have performed better in Capability with additional APIs and support for more customization. These would enable better integration with other applications and processes in an organization.
For analytics to be effective, they need to be available to line-of-business personnel as needed in their normal course of conducting business. Today, that means providing rich mobile access to analytics that support a mobile workforce seeking to conduct business in any location at any time. Board 11 provides native mobile capabilities for iOS iPads and Windows tablets, although the HTML5 rendering in its product makes it possible to view information on smartphone browsers. Board offers the ability to change data values and recalculate results on the fly. These tasks would be more difficult to perform on small-screen devices, hence the focus on tablets. The mobile applications provide offline support, and information can be saved to the device for offline processing and usage. Additional APIs and support for more customizations would enable better integration with other applications and processes in an organization.
This assessment was based on Board International’s analytics products available at the end of December in 2020. In April 2021, Board Spring 21 was released, adding 30+ new connectors for business application, cloud and big-data sources. Some of the other new features include R integration that offers real-time results, and a new REST API that allows organizations to run integrations with systems and workflows across their landscape. Another major update is the recent release of Board 12 that includes performance improvements and new administration features. Main highlights include unbalanced hierarchies, data view enhancements, an Excel add-in and improved dataflow.
Organizations should evaluate data and analytics requirements including collaborative, embedded and mobile capabilities to ensure the existing solutions are meeting the organization’s needs. If existing solutions are not satisfying those requirements, organizations should consider whether Board can help meet those needs.
This research-based index is the most comprehensive assessment of the value of analytics and BI software in the industry. Technology buyers can learn more about how to use our Value Index by clicking here, and included vendors that wish to learn more can click here. Read the report here.