Reporting to data mining this tool does it
Updated September 30, 2015

Reporting to data mining this tool does it

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

7.7.03 / 8.0.08

Modules Used

  • Developer Studio
  • Application Studio
  • ReportCaster

Overall Satisfaction with Information Builders WebFOCUS

WebFOCUS is used across the organization as a user development tool. Its purpose is to allow departments an easy way to design, create, schedule, and distribute reports and data stored in various types of tables. It is a tool that users are able to install themselves with an instruction sheet and pretty quickly be able to connect to and report from various data sources with a minimal amount of training for the amount of ability of the tool.
  • Allows users to connect to and combine data from various sources
  • Allows users to create HTML launch pages even if they don't have previous experience in developing web pages. Users can tie a launch page back to a report that they wrote for their workgroup to share data access.
  • Saved queries can be scheduled to send the results so that data is automatically emailed in various formats (text, spreadsheet, Word document, etc.) as often as needed.
  • Exception reports can be scheduled so that the necessary person is emailed only when needed.
  • The newest versions of WebFOCUS have an unnecessarily complicated security layout that makes configuration difficult to accomplish without bringing in the vendor for installs.
  • This software tries to cover too many bases allowing you to switch from writing code manually to creating reports using only GUI tools. This sometimes complicates screens and functionality where the two methods don't always work well together. -though its nice to have the choice.
  • The sales force is not as top notch as many software companies
  • Business Objects SRC,Crystal Reports
Business Objects -WebFOCUS is more centered towards the user accessing data without an administrator setting up reporting objects or setting rules on data access. Access is more free form and allows the user more freedom (for better or worse) to design and create the report they want.
Crystal Report -WebFOCUS is more intuitive and easier to use and has more powerful capabilities.
This software is deeply engrained with my organization and has become a tool that would not easily be replaced without spending more money and resources to get the same results. License cost is comparable to other report writing tools and the capabilities are greater than the competition without having to buy multiple apps to do the same thing.
Our organization has about 100 developers distributing reports to an audience of several thousand. In addition there are hundreds of report launch pages on the company's intranet that were created by the various departments that use the tool. The tools is leveraged by finance, engineering, marketing, labor relations, operations, and technical services.
This tool has the ability to connect to more types of data than any I've seen. We use this tool to connect to types of data that other tools can't to read and then reformat the data so that other tools will have access. I would say that connectivity is this tool's single strongest feature.
After connecting to most any format of data, this tool can distribute that data through 1)a built in library with archiving 2)ftp or secure ftp to any server you network has access to (this allows results to do things like updateing websites through the scheduler as often as you run a job) 3) Email where data can be shared through the internal external emails in multiple formats as inline reports or attachments. Security works with your system or it has internal setting -tricky to configure.
Data visualization is fairly robust, though not to the level of Tableau. The benefit is if you have to choose one tool to do reporting, WebFOCUS can be set up to do powerful visualizations and does not require a standalone server to accomplish it. Newer version (version 8 and up) utilize html5 for the latest and web visualizations.
The cost and configuration make WebFOCUS more appropriate for organizations where there are multiple developers/users. This software is particularly good in cases where you have multiple data sources in varying types of databases where you need to be able to reach them (and even combine data) using one tool. This tool is able to format results to a higher degree than the average query tool.

Information Builders WebFOCUS Feature Ratings

Drill-down analysis
10
Formatting capabilities
10
Integration with R or other statistical packages
6
Report sharing and collaboration
8
Responsive Design for Web Access
9
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
8

Using Information Builders WebFOCUS

Finance
Marketing
Engineering
Labor Relations
Operations
1 - To support this tool it requires an in depth expience with it and a working knowlege of the operating system it is installed on, webservers and some html, working knowlege of conneting to data sources that will be used. Query writing skills and concepts of efficient ways to configure and assist users to make good queries.
  • Additional mobile reporting with the html5 capability.
  • Report Library would be useful at storeing required documents and version control.
  • Visual analytics in the newer version look promising.
  • Finance getting regularly scheduled reports and documentation
  • Operations getting near real time batch exception reporting
  • Marketing seeing trends and customer information
  • Sourcing accessing stock levels and purchase orders
  • alerts going out to pagers by utilizing phone to text combined with exception reporting
  • writing to tables in batch processes
  • automating information updates such as webpages

WebFOCUS Implementation

Plan ahead on what data will be accessible and the type of security required on the database and if you will want to use security that is built into the software. It is worth consulting with the vendor on what your plan is and how they recommend you proceed in order to get results you are happy with.
Change management was minimal
  • Security in the newer version is complicated on how to access secured data though the scheduler.
  • Good data with proper indexes on a robust database are necessary for efficient reporting.
  • Getting users that have not seen the software before started requires some initial training.

WebFOCUS Training

It's hit and miss, the last class was overcrowded and people were having trouble connecting which took up much of the time. Instructors vary

WebFOCUS Support

For some areas the local office will not have the expert in the area available and the answer will have to come from the main office. This is not a big deal, but can mean waiting on a call/email from the expert that they notify of the ticket. It is a private company (not small but private) so your tickets can lead to changes in the next release of the software.
ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
Immediate help available
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None
Yes - We use premium support that allows access to local representatives and the ability to open tickets with the home office. The home office tickets are assigned a severity level and are responded to based on that; I rarely use the highest level, but it gets fast response. Tickets will go to an expert in the area and they can call or even WebEx directly to your PC.
When we were doing the last upgrade, which was a major change, Information Builders sent a representative out to come on site and help with the install at no change. Local reps will share their email and often their cell numbers to be available to fix any issue that may arise. Many of the reps have years of experience with the product/company.

Using WebFOCUS

It's a complicated tool, but it's able to perform more reporting functions and do a better job at it than any other tool on the martket that I've seen. I technically savy person who has never used it before can be getting some reports out in the first day and the tool with grow with you as you need to do more complicated tasks.
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Consistent
Feel confident using
Familiar
None
  • Drag and drop functionality on creating a report
  • Formatting a report with fonts, colors, size, output formats
  • Point and click webpage design
  • Joining tables
  • Customizing connectins between reports and webpages
  • Going back to GUI after manually editing a report or vice versa

WebFOCUS Reliability

Tracking availability formally for almost two years and we are at 99.8%