David Menninger's Analyst Perspectives

Infor Gets Assurance Rating for Analytics and Data Value Index

Posted by David Menninger on Jul 7, 2021 3:00:00 AM

We are happy to share some insights about Infor Birst drawn from our latest Value Index research, which assesses how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements.

VR_VI_Analytics_and_Data_Logo-2We 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 Infor Birst 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. Infor Birst’s overall performance rating is 62% in the Value Index, with a customer experience rating of 66.1% and a product experience rating of 61.3%.

Infor, a large international software applications vendor, has been providing BI software since acquiring Birst in 2017. It was categorized as a Vendor with Assurance, ranking 13th overall in this Value Index evaluation. Infor performed its best in Manageability and Validation.

Ventana_Research_Value_Index_Analytics_and_Data_2021_Vendor_Overall_Chart_Infor@2xInfor Birst has flexible deployment options with on-premises, private cloud and public cloud offerings, with an in-memory data store or in-source databases with live data access. A caching layer is available to enhance performance. Birst supports a network of connected BI models, making it easier to share information across the organization while managing it centrally. Birst also includes machine language-based analyses and insights, referred to as Smart Analytics.

More information and tools to help prospects project costs and benefits would help with TCO/ROI. Infor would perform better in Adaptability with options for integration into business processes and applications. Better support for a variety of roles in an organization and natural language query capabilities would help improve Infor’s Usability rating.

Collaborative tools can enable a diverse group of participants to coordinate their activities and share knowledge. To be most effective, collaborative capabilities should cover the entire data and analytics process; only this way can participants understand the provenance of data as it is analyzed. Collaboration in Infor Birst consists of emailing or sharing analyses, making annotations on visualizations and posting visualizations via URLs to third-party collaboration tools. Better support for notifications, the ability to post to discussion groups and the ability to assign tasks and track them to completion would help improve Birst’s Capability ranking.

Analyses are easier when analytics are embedded in business processes and applications, in part because the application collects and assembles data. Our research shows that data preparation can be the most time-consuming step in the analytical process. Infor offers Birst developers web services application programming interfaces for embedding content and managing applications. It also provides REST APIs for custom connectors and JavaScript APIs for custom visualizations. Better access to and management of business models would improve Infor’s Capability score, as would additional visualizations and more natural language processing.

A mobile workforce seeking to conduct business in any location at any time expects analytics platforms that can deliver rich mobile access to analytics. Infor Birst Mobile is available as a native application on iOS and Android devices. It takes good advantage of the device capabilities for touch screen interactions with visualizations and annotations. It also offers the ability to interact with selected charts and data while offline. Better support for collaboration and wearables would improve its Capability score.

This assessment was based on Infor’s analytics products available in December of 2020. Since then, Infor has released Versions 7.7 and 7.8. These recent releases include a number of administrative enhancements. The administrative console has been redesigned and now supports comparing workspaces and objects, for instance from one version to the next. There are workflow and orchestration improvements for lifecycle management, and Birst can now be integrated with Infor Document Manage to centrally manage and store Birst offline reports and dashboards. The most recent release updates are highlighted here.

Organizations should evaluate data and analytics requirements including collaborative, embedded and mobile capabilities to ensure existing solutions are meeting the organization’s needs. If existing solutions are not satisfying those requirements, organizations should consider whether Infor Birst 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.


David Menninger

Topics: business intelligence, embedded analytics, Analytics, Collaboration, Data Governance, Data Preparation, Information Management, Data, natural language processing, AI and Machine Learning

David Menninger

Written by David Menninger

David is responsible for the overall research direction of data, information and analytics technologies at Ventana Research covering major areas including Analytics, Big Data, Business Intelligence and Information Management along with the additional specific research categories including Information Applications, IT Performance Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence and IoT, and Data Science. David is also responsible for examining the role of cloud computing, collaboration and mobile technologies as they affect these areas. David brings to Ventana Research over twenty-five years of experience, through which he has marketed and brought to market some of the leading edge technologies for helping organizations analyze data to support a range of action-taking and decision-making processes. Prior to joining Ventana Research, David was the Head of Business Development & Strategy at Pivotal a division of EMC, VP of Marketing and Product Management at Vertica Systems, VP of Marketing and Product Management at Oracle, Applix, InforSense and IRI Software. David earned his MS in Business from Bentley University and a BS in Economics from University of Pennsylvania.