Amazingly versatile, however it does carry a significant learning curve to maximize that versatility
Environment to automate regular reporting and to expand and enhance the availability of data to my organization.
Numerous export formats, versatile software which offers a savvy developer several avenues to accomplish the requirements of their audience. The Active Format is a very unique offering allowing developers to give users the ability to drive their own analysis from reports through sorting, filtering, charting and being able to export their work.
FOCUS itself has a steep learning curve that is very dependent on the capabilities of the entity that is going to implement and use it. Your environment will carry a heavy influence on how successful the implementation will be. Management will need a measure of patients and need to invest in users to learn, documents and carry that intelligence throughout the organization.
WebFOCUS as the go-to app for data dissemination
My users throughout the state of New Jersey are finally buying into the fact they can create 'what-if' scenarios and modelling with the data I'm preparing for them.
Accessibility to data regardless of where it is stored. Easeat which to disseminate the reports I generate. Ease of use of the Security Package whereby I can allow or disallow access to data, folders or a single call of a report.
We seem to always be on the cutting edge of the product and what we want to do. Sometimes it seems like we are the first to come up with a particular question. But an answer is always forthcoming even if it is not instantaneous.
As a long-time developer and dev manager, I have a very high opinion of WebFOCUS. It's complexity is due to it's depth and breadth. I know that no matter what challenge my team encounters, we can solve it with WebFOCUS.
My team at a federal agency has used Information Builders platforms for more than 10 years to manage and report on financial data. The single biggest advantages that the WebFOCUS products share is their flexibility and adaptability. The ability to create anything and connect to everything is huge.
The flip-side to WebFOCUS's tremendous flexibility is its maturity and complexity. The platform has existed for so long and attempts to accomplish so much that the ramp-up for new developers can feel daunting.
Not user friendly, terrible customer support, limited customization
My experience has been to find ways to use the product as little as possible. By that meaning using it for getting basic data on the back end, then coding the front end of the reports myself. This way I am able to create the reports and dashboards with more functionality, modern styling and have them be responsive for viewing on multiple platforms (Desktop, tablet, phone).
This works good for the average adhoc user that will doing basic, single database reporting.
The forum they have has been very helpful. I have found out more answers from other users than I have been able to find in their docs or from their tech support.
There are so many bugs in this product. I have multiple cases open with their tech support that have been open for months. I currently have a case that has been open for 9 months that they still cannot figure out. Usually the response is something along the lines of that it will be fixed in a later release. Then, in my experience, when updating to a later release the one bug is fixed, but more are introduced and we're back to square one of rebuilding our reports that have broken during the upgrade.
Product lags when trying to do complex queries over multiple databases.
Documentation is very weak and vague, if/when you can actually any documentation at all.
Feature Rich & East to Use
We are helping our clients with modern ways to look at their data to make real time business decisions that continue to propel their businesses to the next level. WebFocus has provided every thing we have needed to create what our company calls raving fans.
From self-service to complicated analytic reporting needs, the WebFocus platform has fulfilled every need our company has demanded. The transition of modernizing our business platform as the WebFocus platform advances has been relatively smooth process.... and they have always been right there to guide and help with any difficulties we have encountered.
I do not have any cons with my experiences with WebFocus.
IBI has allowed us to allow our clients to peer into our billing system, to give information around collection data, member account demographics, etc. Providing that transparency to our clients assist greatly in the very important relationship between ABC Financial and our clients.
The full suite on the platform allows us so many options for our clients, including standardized visualizations, custom/self-service visualization options, and modern automated options through ReportCaster (In-document analytics, InfoGraphics, etc.).
At the moment, there is nothing our business needs that IBI cannot provide.
It is very user friendly as you can drag and drop for beginners
If you are more interested in doing the code manually you can do that as well
Customer service is great there is always willing to help you (I recommend going premium! Twice as fast)
Great functionality and are always adding more functionality to the product
Can be very buggy sometimes
Can be slowed sometimes compared to other reporting tools
Webfocus from a developers perspective
I have had a good run over 30 years using their products.
I find them to be the best tool to address various business scenarios using IT.
The available features and the ease of which they can be used to build a report application.
The cost to maintain. The various adapters needed to support in house applications quickly add up.
Faster decision making, ability to understand trends more easily in clients' supply chain, more accurate decision making.
Extremely flexible and capable of handling any visualization needs.
Almost too many ways to be able to do things. Requires time to understand the 'best' way to accomplish a given task.
Real feedback based on real life experience
Customer support is really great. Nice people.
OK, this will sound like a promo - but this is real feedback based on real life experience using various BI and FR tools over the years.
Over the last decade Finance/BI has inherited many ops tasks as traditional IT departments push to migrate BI and financial reporting to “user self-service”. (Keeps their headcount down and mine up!)
WebFocus has all the ‘sexy’ stuff that software vendors are promoting. Great, but I am a production shop and 90% of what we do is just day-to-day critical. WebFocus provides the three critical components I need from a BI software package:
InfoAssist helps us manage through staffing churn. I don’t need to hire BI staff with WebFocus experience as most Individuals with any kind of BI experience can launch InfoAssist and figure it out themselves.
Reportcaster: My staff can manage standard scheduled report distribution in Reportcaster. Once set up it’s easy to maintain.
Speed: “Instant” graphs and analytics is today’s expectation. We’ve got more data than we have time to do report development, so WebFocus gets us to the data for all the one-off reports and charts.
This is not really a con, but a heads up. WebFocus is a robust BI tool. Setup and security requires your IT Department's "buy in" to support the tool. Yes, it's a BI reporting package, and it can be used for just that, but WebFocus can do so much more - and sooner or later you'll want the 'more'
WebFOCUS is a workhorse. It handles the needs of our entire spectrum of users.
This software meets all of the enterprise reporting needs for our organization. From singe-click users to our most advanced super users.
WebFOCUS does it all in an single platform. From an entry-level single-click user to our most advanced super users running their own ad hoc queries. It is our enterprise reporting solution, and almost every department in our company uses it in one way or another. It is almost unheard of when we run into a reporting challenge that WebFOCUS cannot handle. It is extremely flexible and robust.
Flexibility comes with complexity, that is a fact of life, and a fact of this software too. When diving into more advanced features, there is a certain level of necessary complexity. Customizations are also a bit of a trap when it comes to future upgrades. We have learned the hard way that just because we can do something a certain way doesn't necessarily mean we should. A fully customized application will work beautifully in the current version, but will make upgrades an uncomfortable experience. Lastly, the GUI for WebFOCUS has not always been the sleekest visually. This is rapidly changing for the better, but historically has lagged behind other reporting vendors.
The suite of products is great, learning curve can be quite high.
Large insights to data trends which were otherwise not noticed. Efficiencies have been made to daily/weekly/monthly tasks by using excel sync's to bring in refreshed data that we couldn't not have mapped into our warehouse. By using this tool, we have created a very efficient report writing team that is spread across our organization and are data experts at an individual department level structure.
It's a wide open platform with endless customization options. We have yet to run into an issue that was not able to be met by the work done in webfocus. They're online presence is wonderful for tech support and forums which often find us most of our solutions to any sticky situations.
So many individual pieces in this suite of products, that it's sometimes confusing as to what you actually own, what you need to buy and what you are getting by with. Upgrades happen quite often, so if you don't have a dedicated system engineer to devote time for upgrades, you'll be bringing in your system engineer that was provided by IBI.
The Better Game in Town with room to expance
I can produce operational and financial reports much easier and quicker than the groups that manage and develop the source systems the data comes from.
It's very easy to connect different data sources and start mapping your data and building intelligent reports. I haven't found a relevant data source, yet, that WebFOCUS can't connect to. The latest versions of the product make user interaction extremely intuitive and put a lot of power in the hands of end users to create their own dashboards and reports from managed data sources. With the full AppStudio development tool, extremely complicated scenarios can be analyzed and developed by your developers and published to the users.
Until very recently, there was not a good method for Source Control of WebFOCUS content. For any company that has their BI fall under SOX Audit controls, this might be a little difficult to deal with.
Build Robust and Easy-to-use Customer Portals
The company I work for has many existing reports in OLAP and other formats. They purchased WebFocus to begin building out and modernizing client portals, with more visually-appealing charts and graphs in dashboard layout. On top of this, my team and I were all brand new to WebFocus. Within a few months of implementing WebFocus, and partnering with a couple of WebFocus consultants (whom are top-notch by the way), we successfully launched our first client portal on the WebFocus platform. I joined the team earlier this year, so I wasn't involved in the evaluation process, but from what I hear of the other tools that were evaluated, we would have already surpassed their capabilities early on in our project.
From what I have seen so far, WebFocus is a very powerful BI tool, with probably more capabilities than we have would ever think of using. We've yet to reach the limits of the tool, and believe me when I say that we have tried.
The WebFocus format and language is a little different than what I already knew. So there is a learning curve. However, with some training, and the will to learn, it gets much easier in a few months.
The strength is in mining data
The main use for me is to create dashboards. Dashboards being data represented in a graphical interface for quick-hitting analysis, especially by C-level personnel. WebFocus has its own proprietary language, which is basically a version of SQL. This knowledge can help when it comes to constructing more detailed queries that cannot be achieved with the GUI. One of the strengths of WebFocus is that it can integrate with numerous DBs, including relational and hierarchical DBs. I've used Focus (the MF and PC version prior to WebFocus) and have seen this tool evolve into its current incarnation which is suited for the internet (web page) world.
The focus (no pun) on grabbing data and messaging it into meaning information. Specifically, the tools to achieve that are in one place and helpful in constructing pages to analyze data, such as dashboards. I like that I can take a deeper dive into queries by crafting my own WebFocus queries (knowledge of Focus 4GL required).
WebFocus does take some training to put together meaningful reports and dashboards. Some aspects are easy to use without any exposure, but IBI promotes their training courses for a reason. This may be a con in that most people expect to create content immediately. To get to the next level, you will need to take more courses. Some tools are hidden and could be more straight-forward.
Reliable, Robust, User Friendly, and Flexible.
Robust Reports and Charts; Business users can easily develop reports
- As an IT professional, I find WebFOCUS to be a powerful reporting tool which meets very diversified demands within my organization.
- Allows non-developers to quickly create reports and charts without a lot of technical know how.
- The applications can handle processing large amounts of data in a short period of time. - Technical support staff is knowledgeable and turnaround time for resolving issues is excellent. - Creating ad hoc reports in InfoAssist allows business users to quickly analyze data.
Have experienced a few hiccups when upgrading from one release to another, but with the assistance of their technical support team, we were able to resolve issues promptly.
Great product, very flexible and powerful
I like the fact that WebFocus is able to solve a lot of problems. It is the type of reporting tool where if you want to accomplish something, there is a way to do it in WebFocus, complicated or simple. Email distribution is by far one of my favourite, we can customize reports to be sent out, embed them in emails, make multiple attachments. Active PDF is also very powerful too.
Ease of use is a main struggle point for the software. I find its hard to teach a new user how to use the power user tools at this point in time. Having attended their user conference, I have seen some new improvements and redesigns in the next release that will change my mind on this point. Ease of use is very important for user adoption.
WebFocus is easy to use, powerful, and intuitive
WebFocus has all the features that our small/medium sized company needs. We've been able to build complex dashboards/portals, and the tools are easy to work with.
The ability to easily switch between a graphical interface and a text editor. I usually start the build of a new report with the GUI. It allows me to see what I'm building as I add columns, titles, and features. However, when I'm troubleshooting a report, I tend to use the text editor, which allows me to look directly at the code. When working in the editor, changes can be made quickly, and large chunks of code can easily be cut and pasted to expand the functionality of the report.
The software is fine. If I can a con, it would be some of the junior customer service folks that weren't able to resolve certain issues. Overall, however, the senior folks at Info. Builders have a wealth of knowledge.
Information Builders Builds Relationships
Information Builders is not just a company and it doesn't sell just products and services. They are a partner who ensures that you succeed and they will not talk you into a product that you don't need. When you have a question or concern someone is always more than willing to help you out... with enthusiasm and competence. The product is dynamic and robust to ensure that the business needs are met - technically as well as in usability.
Information Builders was a little slow to innovate into the 21st century until recently. The past version of WebFOCUS felt like it was still in the early 2000's, but with the release of WebFOCUS 8 they are relevant and innovating the in analytics space.
Information Builders is truly a partner for success. They are always willing to work with you to implement successful solutions and continuously listen to specific customer needs. Many of the features in new releases are directly related to customer reque
Information Builders is an innovative company and their products continue to improve. Given the success, experience and age of the company, they have proven to be a trustworthy business partner.
The WebFOCUS product can handle most if not all reporting requests, functionality is wide spread. If the product needs to be improved then IBI will partner with you to find a solution and/or improve the offering with new features.
Depending on the user the learning curve can be a bit high; users should start with the basics and build from there. Even with that though, a user should be able to gain momentum by having success early on.
WebFocus - a heavier, more robust SQL
AppStudio is so much better than DevStudio. I can see many benefits to using this software. We allow users to pull exactly the data they need without having to write or understand SQL. This makes out backend more secure, and makes the whole process smoother for the user.
We use AppStudio to create and maintain procedures (.fex). I really like the diversity in commands. You are able to join and manipulate data more than with raw SQL. I also like the option to use their GUI or their raw text editor.
It is confusing. Although they allow use of a GUI to make the software "easier" to use, there are many things that can ONLY be accomplished using the base FOCUS code. In addition, many times you have to pass over the data multiple times in order to actually get what you want out of it.
I have worked with WebFOCUS for almost 20 years and I have watched it grow into the tool it is today.
I like that you can combine data from all sources into one single report or chart and the user will not know how many data sources were used or notice any lag time from retrieval
The composers still crash when working in them and it is not easy to modify a page once it is created. Also you cannot get to the code behind and there is still old control code left over after they have been removed from the pages. This can cause browsers to get confused and pages to slow down when loading
Best Customer Support in the Industry
Fantastic, involved, motivated customer support team
Infographics are the best new feature to come along in quite awhile
Reporting Server is very fast - generally sub-second query time for a lot of queries, regardless of data source; server time is also minimal
Relatively easy to host multiple, separated applications with separate user groups and roles
Data adapter management
AppStudio software still needs an overhaul - unintuitive and ungainly (3GB???)
AppStudio licensing (vs Reports Developer) - reduce that to one version
it is an excellent company
I was able to create fast dashboards.
I become a very experience developer using the app studio.
I like the new look of App Studio . it can do many powerful things. I loved the html composer and the easy way to create the new portals. In a few minutes you can create powerful dashboards.
infoassist since I did not used it so often.
Sometimes the workarounds do not work.
Most of the things are documented but sometimes some specific things we need to search in google to find the answer.
sometimes takes too long to solve an issue.