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RealTime IT News

Pluck-Your-Own-Data for the C-Level Crowd

Developers at business intelligence and performance management software maker Curl Corporation have launched the latest version of the company's Client/Web Platform -- and with a USA Today theme in mind.

The pitch with this version: it's a graphics-rich dashboard, brimming with real-time information, and built from the truckload of data that C-level executives -- CEOs, CIOs, CTOs -- are trying to sort through in order to inform their decision-making.

Call the platform a "USA Today" version of a corporate dashboard -- enterprise-level data visualization, presented in easy-to-read blurbs with lots of pie charts and other graphics that help render meaning to a company's data.

Curl's Client/Web Platform 3.0, made up of the Curl for Corporate Directors and the just-released corporate performance management (CPM) applications, is billed as a rich-client software suite that provides business intelligence dashboards and other analytic tools created by third-party vendors and maintained within the corporate database.

Users can view metrics using customizable displays and tables focusing on the department, product or any number of other criteria.

The company, founded in 1998 by former principal research scientist at MIT, Dr. David Kranz, has been quick to adapt its software to work with third-party infrastructure vendors like Oracle, SAP and Siebel. With version 3, executives get faster results from queries into their company's database, databinding functionality and GUI toolkit enhancements.

The overarching design theory behind the Cambridge, Mass.-based company's software is its "occasionally-connected" strategy. While all software vendors allow for a dashboard that works for a user perpetually plugged into the network, it doesn't allow them to do the same analysis while on the go.

Curl's software, however, enables users to download the information they need and take it on the road, as long as they deploy the software vendor's proprietary compression technology.

"The people that are using dashboards are highly mobile, so the notion of being forced into an 'always on' kind of paradigm on a server just doesn't fly," said Chris Lesar, Curl's vice president of marketing.

"It's a way to allow the user to determine what data is pulled down to the desktop so that they can unhook from the desktop and continue to do some geographical analysis for example."

Out of the box, the Client/Web platform connects with ODBC-based databases and users can customize how the information is presented to them using XML and OLAP tools. But although it seems tailor-made to Microsoft's ODBC access method, officials say the Web-distributed software works just as well in Java's J2EE environment as Microsoft's .NET .

Availability for Curl's CPM and Web/Client Platform 3.0 is expected in mid-December.