A Shift in the World of Business Intelligence

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1 Search Powered Business Analytics, the smartest way to discover your data A Shift in the World of Business Intelligence Comparison of CXAIR to Traditional BI Technologies A CXAIR White Paper

2 Copyright All rights reserved. The contents of this document and all associated computer programs and documentation are copyright and may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of Connexica Ltd. Recipients are responsible for keeping the document in safe custody, in either electronic or printed format. This document does not constitute an offer or a contract or the basis of a contract and Connexica Ltd. reserve the right to change all or any part of this document without notice. This document may refer to features that are not available in the version of the software you are using. This may be because your organisation has not contracted for certain products or features, the software features are not enabled, access to the features has been restricted by your system administrator, or the standard software has been customised. This document is not warranted to be error-free. If you find any errors, please report them to Connexica Technical Publications department at: Connexica Ltd

3 Version History Version Date Author/Editor Details of Change Version /09/2007 Richard Lewis First version of document. Version /09/2014 Chris Lewis Visual overhaul and editing. Connexica Ltd

4 Contents 1 Technology Comparison CXAIR Features versus Business Value Some Meaningless Comparisons?...10 Total cost of ownership Return on investment Performance Assumptions Conclusion...16 Connexica Ltd

5 1 Technology Comparison CXAIR provides a fundamentally different approach to information retrieval and management reporting. Consequently, comparing CXAIR to traditional Business Intelligence products such as Business Objects, Cognos or Micro Strategy cannot be done by a blow by blow feature comparison. For example: CXAIR does not provide pixel perfect printed reports that are scheduled and distributed to senior managers and information analysts. CXAIR does not download universes of data to the client when a report is run, that can then be used to drill up and down through the data. Neither does it perform preaggregations and store those aggregations in a database for subsequent querying. CXAIR does not provide complex report designers and SQL editors that enable developers to create report definitions that can then be published out to the user community. CXAIR doesn t do these things because it doesn t need to. Users can get answers to their own questions themselves, whenever they want, without having to prepare report templates, or having to wait to receive batch reports, or for nightly data loads to be completed to provide them with up-to-date data. CXAIR was written because existing Business Intelligence tools are too complex to manage and use for non-it professionals. Connexica Ltd

6 CXAIRs self-service analytics lets users get answers to their questions real-time, as result lists, charts, tables, Crosstabs, spreadsheets, Venn diagrams, dashboards etc., faster and with less cost and effort than any comparable technology. Connexica Ltd

7 2 CXAIR CXAIR is the fastest, most intuitive, cost effective business analytics solution available anywhere in the world today. Rather than conform to the legacy concepts of relational and OLAP technologies, CXAIR harnesses the power of search engine technology to deliver a new generation of analytic and enquiry tools. Put CXAIR alongside any other Business Intelligence tool and look how they compare. CXAIR makes the whole concept of Business Intelligence child s play. BI should not be difficult, BI should not be restricted to the analysts BI should be available to everyone. BI should not be a science, it should be simple, fast and cheap to deploy. By looking at the weaknesses of traditional BI and focusing on the strengths of today s incredible technology advances, Connexica has thrown away the old blue print and replaced it with a new standard: Make information available to everyone in a form that allows them to be more productive and more responsive to their customer and business needs. Remove the need to rely on the IT department to answer ad hoc enquiries. Make sure people can get answers to their questions directly, easily and quickly. Ensure that the company is not tied to an expensive IT infrastructure which scales linearly with their IT spend. Do not inhibit business growth by increasing IT budgetary demands. Connexica Ltd

8 3 Features versus Business Value Every BI tool vendor in the market today goes head to head on features and functionality. Vendor tools that contain the most features can, in the context of a paper comparison exercise, appear to provide better value; however the reality is the more features a technology has, the more complex it is to use and deploy. The most important thing to consider is whether or not the technology can fit in with the culture of the business and provide a real return on investment. Connexica believes that the most reliable way of assessing a technology is to see how it would fit in your organisation and whether or not it would solve real world business problems by saving time, money and resources. Is the system easy to install and deploy across the organisation? Can people get the information they require themselves? Can mobile workers access information when they are away from the office? Can this information be shared with other people that need to see the same information? Can information contained in multiple systems be available through a single interface? Do people only have access to information they have a legitimate right to see? Can people get answers to their questions immediately? Can people with limited IT skills use the system effectively? Can we segment our corporate information in a manner that benefits the business? Is the information used by the organisation up to date? Are the costs of installing and maintaining the system low? Connexica Ltd

9 Can the system be deployed quickly to generate an immediate return in investment? Is the system saving or generating the business money? CXAIR has been designed to satisfy the need for organisations to have rapid, joined up access to their information assets through a medium that is both easy to use, but most importantly, able to provide accurate answers on demand. CXAIR provides users with real-time, sub-second responses to questions that need answers, now. Connexica Ltd

10 4 Some Meaningless Comparisons? As we have already mentioned, it is not fair or realistic to do a blow by blow comparison between CXAIR and other Business Intelligence tools. However, this is exactly what we have tried to do to further illustrate the fundamental differences in the way that CXAIR works over other world renowned BI technologies. In the following analysis, we have looked at the costs of installing, running and configuring a sample SME organisation with the following characteristics: The organisation needs to provide facilities to query and report on data currently held in 5 separate systems from a single point of access. The initial roll-out will be a departmental proof of concept which will consist of the initial setting up of the system on a server, training and on-site consultancy to configure the POC against 2 of their systems. Depending on the success of the POC, the organisation plans to roll out the solution department at a time with the final deployment being for 150+ users. The organisation has a small IT department that is responsible for the day to day running of the network and providing PC support. The organisation also has a small IT support team responsible for answering ad hoc information enquiries from other parts of the company including the production of sales figures, stock numbers and general performance data for the business. Total cost of ownership Based on the characteristics of the sample SME organisation described above, the total cost of ownership for delivering a proof of concept and upgrading to a full enterprise licence differs considerably when comparing the costs of CXAIR to an enterprise Business Objects based solution. Connexica Ltd

11 Assuming the roll-out is to provide full blown BI capability to all users, the CXAIR implementation provides a cost saving of $456,000 over 3 years. In the first year CXAIR provides a comparative cost saving of $272,000 over a Business Objects based alternative. The 3 year TCO for a CXAIR enterprise license, proof of concept and deployment to 150 users is approximately $288,000. Based on the assumptions included at the end of this document, a Business Objects based alternative would cost in excess of $744,000. In addition, for a CXAIR enterprise deployment the number of users is not limited to 150 as the sample server configuration would be capable of supporting in excess of 500 users with no noticeable drop in performance. Increasing users in the more traditional BI environment would incur additional hardware spend and user licenses, rapidly ramping up the cost of delivering BI to the entire organisation. Connexica Ltd

12 Return on investment Return on investment is difficult to demonstrate generically as depending on the type of business, industry or organisation, the metrics for determining ROI change. From a general information retrieval perspective, Bill Gates founder of Microsoft claims that today's information workers are effectively being squeezed between a rock and a hard place - the rock being "information overload" and the hard place being "information underload". He said that many companies are struggling to manage what he calls "a deluge of data" with inefficient software tools and processes. He noted that it costs information workers on average $18,000 each year to find information, resulting in lost productivity: "We're flooded with information, but that doesn't mean we have tools that let us use the information effectively." With the volume of digital data expected to double in the next couple of years, Gates said the problem would only get worse: "That makes solving information overload/underload a critical task." Based on the profile of the sample SME organisation it is clear that the ability for everyone to access information quickly and appropriate to job function will dramatically reduce costs and drive a demonstrable ROI through cost efficiencies alone. It is often said that in an average organisation only 5% of the organisation will use Business Intelligence tools on a regular basis. The reason for this is often the cost of licenses and most importantly the complexity of the technology and lack of accessibility to the people in the business that need the information most. CXAIRs search-based technology is designed to be used by everyone in the organisation. Assuming only a 50% adoption of CXAIR and a 50% reduction in time spent looking for information, this would (based on the figures from Microsoft) provide an organisation with 150 staff a $675,000 cost saving per annum. Connexica Ltd

13 Compare this to organisations using traditional BI tools such as Cognos or Business Objects and you find that increasing the availability of BI to a further 20% of users will save $180,000 per annum, per 100 users. In an organisation with 1000 employees this would equate to a year on year saving of $1.8 million per annum. Empowering staff to self-service daily information requests, removes the need to involve the IT department to help answer ad-hoc data enquiries, freeing up this resource, removing delays in making decisions and reducing costs. Hiring skilled resources to write reports will typically cost in excess of $2000 per day. Removing the need for this resource saves the business in excess of $400,000 per annum per head-count. These cost benefits are demonstrably achievable through the adoption of CXAIR over traditional BI tools such as Business Objects, Cognos or Micro Strategy. Performance It is difficult to compare the performance of CXAIR with other Business Intelligence tools as there is a fundamental difference in the way that CXAIR queries and returns data. Fundamentally, CXAIR is extremely fast. Unlike traditional reporting tools where complex reports end up as scheduled reports that run during off-peak times, CXAIR is able to return vast amounts of data in milliseconds. In many cases during performance tests for CXAIR, tests returned millions of hits in less than 1 millisecond - simply unachievable using traditional Business Intelligence tools. Traditional tools rely on relational or OLAP databases for query performance time before adding on the additional overhead of data rendering and report delivery. With CXAIR, data is mirrored in a superfast index that is optimised to return extremely large result sets. Relational databases are optimised for inserts and updates and struggle to return large amounts of data quickly and without burning loads of CPU and IO time. Connexica Ltd

14 Time in Milliseconds Number of Queries per Second In this comparison, CXAIR is compared to test results from an independent source, VERITEST who performed a series of tests on Business Objects XI using the highly optimised Adaptive Data Sharing configuration. The tests were looking at the number of reports that could be returned from a 4 CPU server with between 0 and 120 active (not concurrent) users over a 30 minute period. Each report was returning 43,000 records which were considered to be representative of a listing style production report. The tests showed that in a highly optimised configuration, BO was able to process 725 reports per minute for 120 online users. Comparative tests using CXAIR on an index containing over 170,000 documents / rows showed that CXAIR was able to complete over 1000 queries per second or 60,000 queries per minute. CXAIR is able to support average query times of a maximum of 1.25 seconds for in excess of 500 concurrent users. In the context of Business Objects this is the equivalent of 1000 reports per second in an environment with in excess of 5000 active users of which 500 are running concurrent query requests Clients 900 Average Query Time Average Number of Queries per Second Connexica Ltd

15 As mentioned previously, you cannot compare directly the performance of the 2 products as Business Objects is obtaining the data for rendering into a report where as CXAIR is providing the results of the query directly to the end user. The results do show however, how much faster and scalable CXAIR is to a Business Intelligence tool such as Business Objects. CXAIR achieves this incredible throughput due to its utilisation of search engine technology, lack of reliance on the underlying database technology and the methodology adopted in the design of the user interface and query interfaces. Assumptions During the collation of these comparisons, the following assumptions 1 have been made: All tests relate to Windows 2 based deployments. For the total cost of ownership comparison, figures are based on list pricing and assume full enterprise functionality in both the CXAIR and Business Objects models. The number of man days, labour costs and items used to demonstrate the relative cost of CXAIR to Business Objects are estimates obtained from partners experienced in deploying enterprise BI solutions to the SME market. 1 All figures used in this comparison are subjective as they describe sample costs based on a typical implementation of CXAIR and figures collated from Connexica business partners on the equivalent numbers for a non-cxair alternative. Competitor numbers have been taken from experiences implementing comparable solutions using Microsoft and / or Business Objects XI. Performance figures for Business Objects XI have been obtained from an independent test report generated by VeriTest and available on the Internet at 2 CXAIR supports Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows CXAIR is also available for Linux and UNIX, as well as ios. Connexica Ltd

16 5 Conclusion CXAIR is a paradigm shift from traditional Business Intelligence tools. By concentrating on self-service, speed and ease of use, Connexica has developed a suite of tools that deliver Business Intelligence in a new way. By analysing how people work and making information, pertinent to their job role, more available, organisations are able to deliver Business Intelligence to the entire organisation not just 5% of the organisation. CXAIR is faster than other BI tools. Implementing CXAIR will speed up the decision making process and help ensure that decisions are based on sound, consistent, up-to-date information. CXAIR returns a lower TCO than other market leading BI vendors and an improved and demonstrable return on investment by reducing the burden on the IT department. Search Powered Business Analytics, the smartest way to discover your data Connexica Ltd

17 Contact Us Connexica Ltd Unit D Dyson Court Staffordshire Technology Park Stafford ST18 0LQ Tel: +44 (0) Fax: +44 (0)

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