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ADVIZOR Solutions announced this week that it had released version 4.0 of its business visualization software, which includes a new Analyst Edition and enhancements to the Developer Edition.

The Analyst Edition allows users to shorten their “time to discovery” by exploring business data through its interactive visual display. Based on 12 ADVIZOR Visuals, the Analyst Edition’s wizards and point-and-click user interfaces bring data display, interaction, authoring and deployment to a whole new level.

The process of building BI (business intelligence) reports involves three layers. The first is the collection layer, which usually takes place in an accounting system, including general ledger, sales processing, customer management and so on.

The next layer is data storage and connectivity, then the front-end layer provides tools to present it. The presentation layer also can allow for budgeting and forecasting along with BI reporting.

Douglas Cogswell, president and CEO of ADVIZOR Solutions, positions his company in the front-end layer, saying, “We take business intelligence and display it in ways that human beings can understand—and interact with in an interesting way.”

Cogswell said his company isn’t involved in the collection or storage aspects of producing BI reports, but is more focused on the display and allowing the user to understand the underlying relationships.

“There is a growing need to interact with data in a more visual manner, to improve the overall value of data analysis and exploration,” said Kurt Schlegel of the META Group. “This coincides with the trend toward more intuitive, self-service business intelligence solutions.”

ADVIZOR provides hierarchical views of the data and lets the user intersect across charts and show the interactions among different areas of the business. The firm was spun out of Bell Labs in 1999, after 10 years of research focusing on how human beings react to visual data. The concept of the research done at Bell Labs is allowing large amounts of data to be displayed on a screen, then letting the user to drill down to the relevant details.

The data flows into the ADVIZOR product from various sources and is cached in memory. The user will utilize the data connector, bringing the data into memory, or an administrator can load the data on a server so others can access it. Once the data loads into the memory pool, the ADVIZOR analytical engine does the slicing and dicing on the data in the pool.

Click here to read about IBM’s latest business intelligence work.

Users can export the results to other programs, such as BO or Excel, if further work is desired. The user doesn’t have to know where the data came from or is going. The selected data is highlighted, but users can still see how it relates to the whole dataset.

“We’re connecting to large databases and warehouses,” Cogswell said. “An analyst may have budget data in Excel spreadsheets, and can bring that into our system along with actual performance and manipulate it. Our core intellectual property is how we allow users to interact with the data.”

Version 4.0 of the Developer Edition is designed to be scalable and open, increasing overall performance and display clarity with thin-client deployments. The Developer Edition supports OEM and corporate customers who want customized, imbedded visualization functionality in analytical applications or dashboards.

ADVIZOR works through partners and systems integrators. Customers buy the solution from a member of their partner network, which Cogswell says is strongest in London, New York, Chicago, South Asia and Mexico. Existing customers include firms in the life sciences, health care, pharmaceutical and financial services industries.

Earlier this month, ADVIZOR Solutions announced support for BusinessObjects XI, the new version of the Business Objects BI platform.

“We’re a software company, and we try to figure out what questions the customer is trying to answer,” Cogswell said. “We want to get the appropriate information to the human being who is asking the question, so that the answer makes sense.”

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