Can do with WebFOCUS, but it's not as easy as it looks!
March 29, 2014

Can do with WebFOCUS, but it's not as easy as it looks!

Pamela Sprague | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

8.0.05 on Windows 7 Server 2008 R2 and Apache Tomcat/7.0.42

Modules Used

  • Deverloper Studio, Admin Console, WebFOCUS, ReportCaster, InfoAssist

Overall Satisfaction with Information Builders WebFOCUS

We're establishing a formalized, standardized BI environment for Healthcare Decision Support, aka Healthcare Economics. Currently we have a portal prepared to offer reports, charts, dashboards for Clinical, Operational, Financial, Administrative business domains.

Over time, we hope to use this product across the entire Nevada organization. Up to now, reporting has been developed by a number of disparate groups without a single source of truth. Now building a data warehouse, performing ETL and standardizing reporting requirements.

We want to empower analysts, supervisors and managers, medical staff and executives to answer their own questions. We are doing this by using WebFOCUS InfoAssist for advanced users to develop their own reporting tools. Developers use Report Painter to generate dashboards, infographics, etc.
  • Drag and drop functionality for creating quick, complex, parameterized reports/charts, dashboards, portals.
  • End users do not need to understand back end structures or database languages (SQL) to query their data
  • If you are willing to learn how to write FOCUS code, you can do anything imaginable with the product. Easy access to the underlying code.
  • Very complete and complex security system allowing for granular access. This is very important in healthcare as HIPAA laws must be observed. Our discretion is critical to our success.
  • Though we haven't yet taken advantage of Mobile capabilities, fully expect to make clinical and operation data available via smart phones and tablets.
  • The learning curve is not very steep. Generally, analysts and developers can create productive tools within several hours of uninterrupted practice.
  • Disconnect between new world knowledge base and 'old school' employees. Sales system engineers and training personnel know and understand the latest technology (to some degree). Long time employees who are in tech support, consulting and after-sales system engineering are apparently NOT required to stay current with the latest version. Too many times, we've been told that we could solve our problem by writing code. We are NOT a development shop.
  • Documentation is unimaginative and incomplete. We learned that there are ways to do things that are not recorded anywhere. For example, when using the change control management (export/import) tool to set up production for development, must first and separately export the security/groups/roles/rules configuration before any of other components.
  • We were not told about the enterprise domain templates available to quickly establish security/groups/roles/rules and a simple portal. Learned the hard way.
  • The organization is very East Coast centric. Technical Support becomes sparse after 2:00 West Coast time. The Summit appears to always take place back East and at hours that are painful for those traveling from other time zones.
  • We are not yet a success story. Though we've been implementing WebFOCUS for over a year, we have very few products in our Production portal. Of course, this is not all the responsibility of Information Builders, but we were ill-advised by our 'training coordinator' in our training of staff and coming up to speed with the tools has been very slow.
  • Once skilled analysts and professional IT staff achieve a grasp of the products, they are able to very quickly create polished and well-received products.
  • The DW/BI project has helped us to establish standards and protocols of communication that will allow us to more quickly meet knowledge transfer requirements
The reason we chose WebFOCUS is because it seemed the easiest to use to create great reporting products. Also, we really liked that the code is transparent and readily available. We were confident in Information Builder's longevity and believed that ultimately, our staff would prefer working with it's integrated, drag and drop tools over Microsoft's less cohesive approach.
Unless our executive suite change the direction in which we are going with our BI environment, we will continue with WebFOCUS. We believe the product is evolving in the direction in which we want to evolve.
How are you prepared to assist us during initial implementation?
What educational tools are offered, without charge, to bring us up to speed with your products?
How long (in weeks, months) have your Technical Support staff been working with the latest products?
Can we count on 'our' System Engineer making regular and routine visits to show us new and improved way of using the products we own?