Web application-server firm Actuate Software Corporation, based in San Mateo, Calif., is giving couriers a run for their money. Their Actuate Reporting System, currently in its v3.2 incarnation, distributes fully annotated, secure corporate financial reports over the Internet.
"We've designed this for large organizations, that need to deliver sensitive information to clients," says Al Campa, vice president of marketing at Actuate. "And they have to deliver quite a lot of documents." As an example, says Campa, "Let's take Citibank . . . they have customers all over the world." The problem is, he says, is that there are so many customers to send statements to, adding to handling and postage costs - and customers only receive the information, generally, once each month. By the time it arrives, it is out of date.
"Wouldn't it be great if, instead, that information were available 24 hours a day? The concept here is push the application and the data outside the company walls to the customers to let business operate more efficiently. (Via Web enterprise reporting.)"
Actuate recently announced support of XML (extensible markup language) reports, a standard enabling language for e-commerce, which is picking up in popularity. Other features of their Reporting System include Report Cast, which is useful for companies that need to deliver financial statements or other business-specific documents to many users globally. "When you have thousands of users accessing reports all over the world, Campa points out, it is much harder to the find specific reports you need. So instead, our users can set up Internet channels . . . and can tag documents to be cast out only to selected groups." Only the headline, a URL link, explains Campa, is actually pushed out to people. When the user clicks on the link, the rest of the report is pulled down. Actuate has settled on server-based pricing for it's business model, their server starts at $5,000 for 10 users, and tops off at $20,000 for an "unlimited" amount of users.
For more information on Actuate Software's Reporting System, see www.actuate.com