Infor Acquires BI Analytics Firm 'Birst'

CIOReview Team | Thursday, 27 April 2017, 05:19 IST

Infor, a leading provider of beautiful business applications specialized by industry and built for the cloud, today announced it has reached an agreement to acquire Birst, Inc., a pioneer of cloud-native, business intelligence (BI), analytics, and data visualization. Birst is a unique, comprehensive platform for sourcing, refining, and presenting standardized data insights at scale to drive business decisions.

The Birst business intelligence platform connects the entire enterprise through a network of virtualized BI instances on-top of a shared common analytical fabric. Birst spans ETL (extract, transform, and load), operational reports, dashboards, semantic understanding, visualization, smart discovery, and data blending to form a rich, simplified end-to-end BI suite in the cloud.

Birst received among the four highest scores in four of the five use cases assessed in the 2017 Gartner Critical Capabilities for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms report, which examined products from 26 vendors, published March 2. Birst scored highest for the OEM or Embedded BI (4.15 out of 5) and Extranet Deployment (4.18 out of 5) use cases. It received the third-highest score in the Agile Centralized BI Provisioning (3.80 out of 5) use case, and it received the fourth-highest score in the Governed Data Discovery (3.59 out of 5) use case.

"The founders of Birst have a deep BI pedigree. This is much of the same team that built Siebel Systems BI, which is now Oracle's BI stack. They put the band back together, pivoted to the cloud, and built a modern BI platform with an understanding of future needs, experience with a wide variety of use cases, and commitment to the cloud," said Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor. "Now is the time to converge this cloud native BI platform with the world's first industry cloud company. We're going to define the next generation of analytical applications."

Over the last six years Infor has built one of the largest cloud companies in the world with 65 million users in more than 100 countries. An investment of nearly $3 billion in research and development to re-engineer industry specific applications for the cloud has generated double digit growth in cloud subscriptions. With a critical mass of cloud subscribers and petabytes of mission critical data in the cloud, Birst provides Infor a single, elegant platform for to render insights, discovery, correlations, and predictive analytics in a highly consumable user interface.

 "Infor is the perfect home for Birst, providing the global scale and resources to accelerate our short-term growth and also a common long-term vision for the future of data-driven businesses using advanced business intelligence, artificial intelligence, and machine learning," said Brad Peters, chairman and chief product officer at Birst.

Enterprise data is complicated, federated, and inconsistent. Birst has strong data aggregation capabilities including a networked semantic layer to standardize definitions across federated data sources. The company's Automated Data Refinement leverages intelligent unification technologies that can both map and model data from multiple different sources to define metrics once across all data repositories.

Customers running multiple ERP systems have asked Infor to build the enterprise analytic layer across the reality of a federated environment. ERP application companies rarely have the expertise or interest to build this aggregation layer. The business value is the ability to provide greater insights and correlations across functional domains.

BI companies provide the analytics platform but don't understand industry processes and potential insights. Application companies understand the processes and industries but have lacked the platform to render data and analytics. Infor and Birst represent the convergence of these worlds.  Large application companies end up acquiring BI products based on customer demand. Timing and fate allowed Infor to acquire a modern cloud BI platform as opposed to the legacy client sever BI products in use at legacy ERP companies. Last mile industry features have met last mile analytics.

Infor has also made significant investments and delivered a world-class analytical applications platform for budgeting, planning, and consolidations applications as well as a robust sales & operations planning suite. The Birst platform complements and further strengthens these best-in-class applications.

San Francisco-based Birst has more than 300 customers worldwide including American Express Global Business Travel, Kellogg's, Reckitt Benckiser, Schneider Electric, and Citrix. The company has approximately 260 employees.