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AlphaBlox upgrades analysis apps

AlphaBlox will roll out a new version of its suite of Web-based applications that allow users to assemble business analysis applications.

AlphaBlox next week will roll out a new version of its suite of Web-based applications that allow users to assemble business analysis applications to be sent to users across an intranet or the Internet.

The AlphaBlox Analysis Suite 2.0 application is a set of components that can be assembled into analysis applications without coding, according to the company. The package is intended to cut the time it takes for development of custom decision support applications.

"One of the major things we have done is switched from being a client to server-based product," said Ken Nicolson, vice president of marketing at AlphaBlox.

Frank Gillett, analyst at Forrester Research, said this is a good move by the company. "You can't have good analysis applications unless you are on a server. In the past it had a fat client. Now they have lightened the load, making the process easier on the browser and the PC."

Analysis Suite 2.0 consists of AlphaBlox Analysis Server and AlphaBlox Application Studio. Analysis Server is a modular system written in Java for assembling, deploying, maintaining, and administering custom Web-based applications, while the Application Studio simplifies assembly by offering out-of-the-box analytical technology within configurable templates.

"One of the advantages of this product is the enhancement of the Application Studio for building analytical applications," said Steven Garone, and analyst atInternational Data Corporation. "They created the option of writing the application as Java or HTML, which will make deployment of the application a lot easier."

AlphaBlox's eBlox technology enables broad deployment of analytical information by enabling the application building components, called Blox, to present information based on user profiles. For instance, users of "narrowband" networks or extranets can receive information in HTML format, while users of intranets or broadband networks can receive interactive Java applets, without any coding or modification to the application.

Analysis Suite 2.0 supports multidimensional data sources including Hyperion Essbase OLAP Server and IBM DB2 OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) Server. Unlike other analysis application providers, which simply extract data from the OLAP source, AlphaBlox directly attaches to the OLAP engine to expose its full capabilities, the company claims.

The enhanced OLAP support is due to AlphaBlox's new partnership with Hyperion, to be announced next week. AlphaBlox Analysis Suite 2.0 is going to be tightly integrated with Hyperion Essbase Server.

"They are developing a close relationship with Hyperion, which is very good," said Garone. "They have focused on a core product and are building partners around that. That is key."

Although pricing for Analysis Suite 2.0 was not released, the previous version of the product is priced at $50,000 a package.