MUFI Rating & Risk – Actuate ActuateOne
MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability
Vendor: Actuate (Select For Vendor Profile)
Actuate builds tools for developers as well as applications all based on the BIRT open source platform. Actuate offers BIRT Designer/Studio – which is an application development environment, BIRT Visualization Platform, and BIRT Analytics – which are the self-service applications, BIRT Content Services, and BIRT iHUB onDemand, their SaaS offering. As such Actuate is not entirely in the same category as many other BI applications or set of applications as it is partially a development environment.
Actuate offers easy to download versions of quite a few of its applications, although we wish they would offer a trial of their BIRT On Demand, as this is much easier to test rather than having to install some different applications.
ActuateOne offers performance capabilities that are one of the best in the BI category. However, Actuate does not have the same marketing budget as most of the BI Heavy software vendors that it competes against, so while SAP, Oracle, and IBM produce a steady stream of (usually misleading) BI performance achievements, Actuate is far lesser known for its performance. You have to talk to ActuateOne users to gain this insight. ActuateOne is a respected solution, particularly among those technical knowledgeable in the area – which is always a good sign as these individuals have the hands-on experience and are less susceptible to vendor marketing hyperbole. However, ActuateOne’s dashboard and report capabilities are the weakest areas of its BI platform – which strangely enough is most frequently how Actuate tends to compete. To us, this is a flawed sales strategy, and buyers should not be misdirected by the fact that Actuate does not seem to know how to showcase its application capabilities during the sales process best. Although this is currently the “hot” area of the BI market, you have to have the functionality to compete effectively. ActuateOne is not only exceeded by Tableau and QlikTech in this area but even by other BI Heavy software vendors like Birst.
ActuateOne’s natural strengths and weaknesses make us use to wonder if Actuate should redirect its sales focus more on its BI Heavy capabilities. This does present a marketing challenge, as it means discussing their capabilities that are less demonstrable during the sales process. However, if they put out the marketing effort, the buyers that they did obtain would more likely be high-quality implementations as the buyers would be buying and using ActuateOne’s closer to its core strengths.
Actuate is based upon BIRT, which is an open source project and has an active community of developers. Actuate’s customer satisfaction is high. Even so, Actuate is one of the few small BI software vendors that have suffered declines in sales over the past few years. Of course, most of the recent growth in the BI market has been in the BI Light area. It seems very likely to us that Actuate is losing business to other small software vendors. However, we see this as less related to product quality than to the fact that Actuate’s management has not yet recognized how to best position its application, which is to stop marketing Actuate’s applications against BI Light software vendors and go after more of the BI Heavy software vendors. Actuate could be a good combined solution with any of the BI Light applications. This would be an appealing BI solution architecture for buyers looking for a high degree of flexibility and customizability.
According to our TCO calculations, Actuate is one of the best BI Heavy values in the market. Unlike MicroStrategy, SAP or IBM, which will be aggressive in attempting to convince buyers that they are a one-stop shop, Actuate will be more flexible in fitting in wherever the buyer sees fit to use them. With the right resources, Actuate can be more efficient than most of the other BI Heavy vendors and can do so at a lower cost. Therefore, we consider Actuate to offer a very compelling combination of flexibility, BI Heavy functionality, and cost.
Actuate is offered as either on-premises or SaaS, called BIRTonDemand.
All scores out of a possible 10.
Vendor and Application Risk
Actuate ActuateOne is a relatively low-risk implementation. Experienced consultants can do very impressive things in ActuateOne. The biggest risk that we see concerning ActuateOne is concerning how the application is used. Actuate presents their products as covering both BI Heavy and BI Light applications – and while they do, we don’t think this is their best use. Instead, we recommend a combination of AcuateOne along with a BI Light application. A buyer that followed this approach would be in a perfect position to both have an efficient and powerful backend and a front end with high user adoption.
Likelihood of Implementation Success
This accounts for both the application and vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.
Risk Management Approach
Buyers must work with the application, thoroughly analyze it and determine its fit within their BI reporting infrastructure.