Actuate provides a capable and extensible analytics platform capable of addressing most needs. It’s mainly based on open source technology and if you use the free open source BIRT project then it will cost you nothing, although this only covers data visualization and reporting. The full blown platform from Actuate addresses much more including dashboards, predictive analytics and self-service BI.
The technology components are:
- BIRT Designers – BIRT Designer (free-form reporting software), BIRT Designer Pro (enterprise level reporting with interactive features), BIRT Studio (self-service ad-hoc reporting and visualization for business users).
- BIRT iHub Visualization Platform – a scalable visualization creation environment.
- BIRT Analytics – not a full analytics toolset, but some pre-packaged algorithms to perform common tasks (customer segmentation for example).
- BIRT Content Services – the management, storage and delivery of content (Process Manager looks after access to disparate data sources).
- BIRT iHub on Demand – cloud based BI platform (dashboards, ad-hoc reporting).
While Actuate does provide tools for business users, it is more geared toward the developer. This makes the environment highly extensible, but fairly high skill levels are required (Java and the Eclipse IDE). So it’s more a development environment than a plug-and-play toolset.
All-in-all Actuate provides a rock-solid BI environment with good scalability, extensibility and reasonable functionality. Developers generally like it and find its facilities more than enough to meet most business requirements.