Recommendation systems have been popular for years in social networks, online booksellers and other sites. Now, Toronto-based Panorama Software has unveiled a new version of its Necto business intelligence (BI) solution that incorporates a recommendation engine to help drive discovery.

The Toronto-based company said this is the first time that such recommendation functionality has been utilized in a BI system. Necto, launched in mid-2011 as the first socially-enabled BI solution, centers around a dashboard called WorkBoard, where collaboration and recommendations can take place.

In-Memory, Self-Service

The recommendation engine suggests relevant data, insights or possible people with whom to collaborate in the context of various data models. The idea is to generate discovery, not unlike the way a recommendation on Amazon will lead you to a book you might find interesting.

The new release enhances Necto’s collaboration capabilities by embedding them at each step of the decision-making process. The company said that when users are analyzing data, viewing a dashboard or building a new data model, they can use Necto to collaborate with others. This, Panorama said, allows groups with a common interest -- such as a product team, a company service, or a regional office -- to pool their insights obtained from various perspectives on data.

Other new features include a BI engine that runs in-memory for faster performance, and that allows for mash-ups of data from the Corporate BI platform and such other data sources as Excel, unstructured data or semi-structured data. Users possessing different BI levels of expertise can now model data with Web-based self-service tools.

BI Goes Mobile, Gets GEO Analytics

In addition, the new version offers native mobile applications and geo analytics for relating visual maps to analysis.


Panorama bills Necto as a Business Intelligence 3.0 solution. As with the latest generations of other kinds of enterprise software, BI 3.0 is characterized as having a collaborative focus, utilizing social workgroups, and featuring self-management by users rather than IT.

In its evolutionary description of BI’s generations, consulting firm CapGemini casts 3.0 as typically having socially-oriented user interfaces and, given its ability to work from any device, as being app-centric. In Panorama’s shorthand phrase, “Business Intelligence 3.0 = The Best of Enterprise BI and Data Discovery.” By contrast, BI 2.0 was Web-centric and enterprise- rather than collaboration-focused, and 1.0 was tool-oriented, IT managed, and focused on the community.

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