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PivotLink makes its BI software available as a Google gadget

PivotLink has released a Google gadget version of its Software-as-a-Service-based business intelligence software, allowing workers to embed customized visualization tools on Google Apps pages.

PivotLink has released a Google gadget version of its flagship Software-as-a-Service-based business intelligence suite allowing users to display custom-built dashboards, pivot tables and other data visualization tools within Google Apps pages.

The PivotLink Gadget, which the San Francisco-based company developed over the last several months with the open Google Web Toolkit, gives companies the ability to share BI and analytics with more employees throughout the enterprise, as well as with partners, suppliers and other outside entities, said Nan Froisland, director of product strategy.

It will also help workers gain greater insight by allowing them to embed PivotLink-based visuals next to contextual information like breaking news or market activity, for example, on a personalized iGoogle page, Froisland said.

"This capability of brining information into the Goolge environment and putting it side by side with other business information is a strategic benefit," Froisland said.

Jeff Kaplan, managing director of Think Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in SaaS and cloud computing, said the announcement by PivotLink "demonstrates how rapidly this marketplace is evolving and how serious Google is in having an impact not just in small businesses but large enterprises as well."

That's because, as Froisland described and Kaplan agreed, the PivotLink gadget has just as much functionality and can handle just as much data as PivotLink's traditional SaaS-based applications. It is not, in other words, a slimmed down version aimed at SMBs with less data than the typical large enterprise. The same goes for many other business application-based Google gadgets, Kaplan said.

"It's unfortunate that Google calls these things gadgets because it has kind of a 'toyish' connotation when in fact they are really aiming to prove they are enterprise class," Kaplan said.

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DMA, a foodservice distributor based in St. Charles, Ill., that helps regional distributors manage national accounts, has been testing the PivotLink Gadget since the beginning of the year, according to Jim Szatkowski, vice president of data services at DMA.

The gadget allows DMA staff and its customers to embed supply chain and budget data, which the company was already analyzing with PivotLink's SaaS-based BI software, into iGoogle pages for easy access. They can also lay the data side-by-side with weather-related data and other information that can affect transportation costs.

"To be able to have our Web-based reporting tool presented in an iGoogle page was a great thing," Szatkowski said, especially for DMA executives who routinely used iGoogle and other Google apps to monitor and run their business.

Kaplan said he expects more enterprise application vendors, including business intelligence vendors, to make their software available as Google gadgets as the importance of Google as a distribution channel becomes more apparent.

"All of these companies recognize that Google is becoming an important force in the marketplace and could easily displace Microsoft in a lot of businesses long term with Google Apps," Kaplan said.

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