An EBIS is an end-user tool, supporting common BI usage through ad hoc database query, basic report generation, online analytical processing (OLAP) viewing and light analysis. The key criteria that we use in assessing EBIS tools include scalability, usability (for example, multiple user styles) and manageability (for example, common infrastructure).
In contrast, a BI platform is more of a development platform for creating custom BI applications.
Important criteria include modern platform architecture (for example, modularity), third-party extensibility (for example, application programming interfaces and development paradigm), BI features (for example, OLAP, analytical/modeling and graphical presentation) and suitable vendor support programs.
Leaders in the EBIS market include Cognos, Business Objects and Information Builders. Wellknown BI platform vendors include SAS Institute, Hyperion and Microsoft (see “Magic Quadrants for Business Intelligence, 1H04”).