Information Builders WebFOCUS Review

IBI Can Be Expensive, But BI Done The Right Way Can’t Reasonably Be Done On The Cheap

What is most valuable?

The simply intuitive end user experience, as well as the data animation/visualization features of Information Builders Incorporated’s (IBI's) Business Intelligence (BI) system (a la Hans Rosling, of TED Talks) are a high priority for us.

Additionally, the drag and drop functionality that IBI does better than any of its competition takes away a lot of the custom graph and report work previously delegated to the folks in IT or in Finance. Leaders using IBI can quite easily do it themselves. This is a big win for both IT and it's end users because better graphs and more well thought out reports are the result, along with more time for the IT leaders to focus on their primary area of expertise, IT systems.

How has it helped my organization?

We searched high and low for the above-mentioned functionality in a product that was available to us on-premise (this is a must for us, because we simply can’t afford to use a SaaS/cloud-based solution due to the security/risk factors inherent in the oil industry), and looked at Domo, Qlikview, Tableau, SAP, Birst, SiSense, among many others before we stumbled onto the Information Builders’ BI solution at one of their lunch and learn events, in St. Petersburg, Florida.

What needs improvement?

IBI has now added the data animation/visualization features mentioned above. This is a must for our company, and we and IBI believe they will revolutionize the BI space.

Here’s the thing …

Wouldn’t anyone agree that a data presentation that shows the relationship between factors in a moving/animated way would be more powerful/convincing than the typically static data presentations we have become accustomed to seeing/victimized by in all of those seemingly endless corporate performance meetings? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the results for an organization simply jumped off the page and it was relatively obvious what was going on/what needs to be done? The cool part is that this future functionality will be free from IBI as part of their regular BI solution offering!

For how long have I used the solution?

We are a greenfield operation and are designing all of our IT, BPM and BI solutions to be the best available today, working on a collaborative business partnership level with all of our vendors/business partners collectively. As such, no systems have been purchased, tested, implemented and deployed as yet.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

As mentioned above, deployment hasn’t occurred as yet. However, we have designed and built into our lab testing, implementation, and deployment processes a healthy professional services component that is designed to accommodate for any bumps and stumbles that may occur.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

There were many meetings held at our offices, we also participated in their Customer Summit, in Orlando this summer where we met lots of good, solid professionals and customer-based professionals with whom we were able to learn and grow, as well.

Technical Support:

Fabulous so far

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We had been positioned to go with Domo, but because of the problems with purchasing Domo as an on-premise solution at the time, we ran across IBI, and the rest is history! Even though Domo has now told us that they would offer their BI solution to us on-premise, we feel that the intuitive, user friendly aspects of IBI far surpass what Domo has to offer, and as such will be going with IBI as a result.

How was the initial setup?

BI is complex. Anyone who imagines otherwise isn’t looking at the entire picture of what’s involved. Although we haven’t as yet deployed (as mentioned above), we believe that IBI’s implementation and testing process will be both thorough and illuminating for our staff in IT and enterprise-wide.

What about the implementation team?

In-house is planned, with IBI professional services directly.

What was our ROI?

Since we are a high risk environment, we have calculated that any core business down time will cost us ~$18K per minute (or ~$1M per hour, with our core business process’s reset time projected at ~9 hours = ~$9M or more). Similarly, any efficiencies gained will be realized at those same rates (~$18K per minute, etc.). As a result, we are expecting that our select BI solution will pay for itself many times over in both disasters averted and efficiencies gained through our core business’s continuous process improvement efforts.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

TBD. We have a cost proposal for both the solution and professional services broken out, but needless to say doing BI the right way can’t reasonably be done on the cheap. I would say that there is an economy of scale where IBI would not be affordable for just any business, as it would be with any IT solution, but for our sized and type of company (~700 staff, revenues projected in the $Bs per year, and both end user experience and continuous process improvement as key business values), we have decided that IBI makes the most sense for us. Guess it all comes down to how much your company has at stake, and how imbedded continuous improvement thinking is within your company’s culture.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, see above. We looked at Domo, Qlikview, Tableau, SAP, Birst, SiSense, among many others before we stumbled onto the Information Builders’ BI solution.

What other advice do I have?

Participate in one of their lunch and learn events as we did, and see for yourself what IBI can do!

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
More Information Builders WebFOCUS reviews from users
Add a Comment

author avatarit_user78465 (CEO at a consultancy with 501-1,000 employees)

IT Central Station provides a much needed service for peer to peer collaboration, learning and support.

author avatarit_user96858 (Industry Analyst at a tech vendor)

Very versatile platform, I liked it but definitely costlier.

author avatarit_user210372 (Product Owner of Business Intelligence at a computer software company with 501-1,000 employees)

Hi John,

I noticed that you evaluated Sisense too; could you tell me why you did not go with them? Was it the presentation style that sold you on InformationBuilders?

author avatarit_user96858 (Industry Analyst at a tech vendor)

From analyst point of view dealing with lot of deployments, IB has more features. You can use different data sources, schedule report, generate documentation dynamically.

author avatarit_user78465 (CEO at a consultancy with 501-1,000 employees)


We went with Information Builders (IBI)because of the superiority of IBI's products and services over Sisense and all of the other Business Intelligence (BI) space competitors, specifically as regards our #1 corporate value, end user experience.

What this equates to for us is the absolute criticality of our need for cutting out the IT middle man in the day to day uses of our chosen BI tool, IBI.

Big value add ?

End users can configure, draft and redraft their BI reporting designs to their hearts' content using IBI.

And the real big thing for us in choosing IBI is their just-in-time, drag and drop design development functionality that truly any business owner can manage with limited guidance. This functionality is self-reinforcing because you can play around with it to your heart's content. If you don't like what you've done, no problem. Just try it again with whatever adjustments you or your team might recommend.

We plan to manage that process from time to time, live and collaboratively in teams and larger process improvement-focused groups. IBI will allow us to do just that.

See the benefits?

The final part of our end user experience requirements that truly clinched it for IBI over Sisense and the other BI space competitors was IBI's ability to develop a new custom set of data visualization/ animation features that we had inquired about simply based on our suggestions.

They accomplished this for us in relatively short order, and for all of their other established customers prior to our even purchasing it!!

No other BI vendor, including Sisense was able to accomplish this.

IBI's people are responsive, reliable and will truly go the extra mile for your organization to help your business leaders perform to the best of their abilities ... based on results!!!

author avatarit_user319164 (Senior Manager at a tech services company)

Instant analytic always required to take immediate decision. These are highly helpful for this.
heterogeneous and homogeneous Valuable information, collaboratively intelligence and real time solution development is always needed. SO IBI WEBFOCUS is best for it.

author avatarit_user354222 (Senior Software Development Engineer | Data Analyst at Amdocs)

Can't you explore open source tools options like R or Python?

author avatarit_user538284 (Lead Reporting and Analytics at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees)

WebFOCUS enables users to gain access to numerous databases and file systems through a Web browser, providing information to employees, managers and analysts. WebFocus provides secure access to data. Users can run reports from a portal, leverage advanced analytical functionality
such as ad hoc analysis or user interactive dashboards while accessing trusted data. Your only limitation to this product is your imagination. I have been able to exceed expectations on all projects using WebFocus Dev Studio and HTML Composer.

author avatarOrlee Gillis

Have you seen similar features in other BI Tools or are these advantages unique to WebFOCUS?