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Endeca Latitude is a new Business Intelligence (BI) product from Endeca Technologies (news, site) aiming to provide organizations with the ability to not only find the information they’re looking for, but to also understand it -- and make intelligent daily decisions based on that.

Not all BI Technologies are Created Equal

Paul Sonderegger, Endeca’s chief strategist, says many of thetraditional BI technologies are not delivering for the majority oforganizations. They’re too cumbersome, not user-friendly, withtraditional reports (that usually go to too many people) inspiring morequestions than answers.

The challenge that Endeca Latitude islooking to solve revolves around not only finding the information, butalso being able to understand it and use it.

The typical landscape of BI technology supports three basic activities: reporting, exploring and predicting.

What is Endeca Latitude All About?

There are three main principles behind Endeca Latitude:

1. No Data Left Behind

The MDEX Engine technology (you've seen it before in a SAP deal) allows users to work bothwith structured data and unstructured content. What the engine does isconduct search, do navigation and analytics.

Supportive ofindustry standards such as XQuery, XML and SOA, the MDEX Engine andLatitude don’t use a predetermined schema, every content gets its ownschema. This means there are more possibilities to work with data thatdoesn’t conform to how you once modeled your content.

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Endeca Latitude, where the Information Transformation Layer can be used as a framework to get structured data and unstructured content into the engine, or plug in other ETL tools.

2. Ease-of-Use

While this idea above of (too) many schemas may sound a bit messy,Endeca aims to solve this with ease-of-use for end-users. The DiscoveryFramework, part of Endeca Latitude, is a library of components forsearch, guided navigation, visualizations and analytics – all to makeusers happy.

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Learning Opportunities

Endeca Latitude dashboard and Discovery Applications

Agile Delivery

Latitude’s approach is to unifydiverse data sets quickly, for the first time to see data sourcestogether and collaborate with the business and IT to uncover truerequirements of the project to foster higher adoption.

Even thoughSonderegger is good at marketing the product, his comparison of atraditional BI dashboard to Endeca Latitude as a family photo and theHarry Potter movie is cute.

What Makes Endeca Latitude Different

According to Sonderegger, what makesLatitude different is the interaction, where discovery applications areconstantly in motion and information is displayed using a facetedapproach.

In the heart of the product is a hybrid search-analyticaldatabase, trying to catch those in the BI field with simplicity ofsearch and power of Business Intelligence. Next step is to createapplications on top of Endeca Latitude.

It’s enlightening (if notexpected) that Endeca Latitude works not just with data in a datawarehouse, but also with other enterprise apps and third-party dataproviders.

Endeca Latitude is a product to check out if BI is whatyou breathe every day, but find that your requests for new views of datago into the backlog. As always, it’s a good idea to cross check withother BI technologies in the field to make sure your selection will suityour needs.