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Jackbe Moves Further into Real-Time Intelligence

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JackBe has been in the mashup and application development business for some time and I have covered them on several occasions. The most latest was: Jackbe Releases Presto 3.0 and opens internal Enterprise App Store. They recently announced enhancements to their newly launched Real-time Intelligence platform for the enterprise.. This is part of a number of new features within Presto 3.1, their real-time intelligence platform. Last week, I spoke with John Crupi, CTO and Chris Warner, VP of Marketing about their 3.1 release and other new features.

John and Chris said what originally started as an enterprise mashup platform has now evolved into a real-time (business) intelligence platform. This makes sense to me for several reasons. First, they are moving from an enabling technology to a business outcome.  Second, this business outcome is becoming increasingly strategic and third, many of the pundits are predicting that real-time will be an increasing focus of business intelligence.  They paraphrased an analyst at Gartner, “using up-to-date information, getting rid of delays, and using speed for competitive advantage is what the real-time enterprise is all about.”

They provided some useful contrasts between traditional BI and the new real-time BI.  First, the focus in real-time BI is on what is happening right now versus going back into a data warehouse to see what happened in the past. And in Real-Time BI there is greater support for self-service, collaborative decisions and low dependency on IT support to obtain the data.  While data sources can include a data warehouse in the new real-time BI, they move beyond that as a limitation to also looking at what is happening right now on the Web and elsewhere.

Rather than using predetermined, static data models, real-time mashups can be created on the fly to explore new sources as they arise. Often speed is more important than completeness to make timely decisions. Rather than have “perfect be the enemy of good enough” Presto can quickly pull together the right content for decisions on demand and allow experts to fill in what remains. They have also created a number of data visualizations and can make use of third party tools for more. Presto 3.1 is not designed to replace traditional BI reports and dashboards, but make better use of them. I like this.

Another part of the new real-time BI is delivering intelligence (in the form of Apps)  wherever it is needed, One focus of the new Presto 3.1 release is to provide secure, real time access to information to mobile devices.  Apps can run on any mobile device (Blackberry, Android, iPhone, iPad, Tablets), as well a SharePoint webpart or in an enterprise portal, often without any code changes. They have modified the UI to accommodate the smaller screens. They also have a new mobile version of their App Store (still in beta, as they say) that runs as a native app to provide a better App browsing experience. And they are leveraging HTML5 for Web distribution of the apps themselves. This allows for more dynamic applications. Here is a sample iPhone app showing DC crimes scences.

Here is an example of data visualizations on the iPad.

Another aspect of Presto 3.1 is enhanced support for SharePoint 201A0. SharePoint is becoming a dominant player in document management (and corporate portals). They have made it easier for SharePoint to be both a source and a destination point for Real-Time BI. The latter is especially important, as it can be difficult to get content into SharePoint outside of manual cut and paste methods. Jackbe made Presto3.1 a peer with SharePoint 2007/2010 so it is now easy to have content flow in both directions. This also enhances security. They see SharePoint remaining a major player in the market so they have worked hard to enable better connectivity between the two worlds, those in SharePoint and those outside it.. It is generally less expensive to make use of the capabilities within Presto 3.1 to enhance SharePoint content for business intelligence purposes than to resort to custom development.

Jackbe has also created a ‘Free Starter Edition’ to let organizations give Presto  a try with little risk. It is full-featured and available for up to 5 connected users. Support comes through the Jackbe community (www.jackbe.com/dev). This is a smart move. It is interesting to see the evolution a technology that remains one of the building blog blocks of enterprise 2.0. I look forward to what they do next.

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