Services for Organizations

Using our research, best practices and expertise, we help you understand how to optimize your business processes using applications, information and technology. We provide advisory, education, and assessment services to rapidly identify and prioritize areas for improvement and perform vendor selection

Consulting & Strategy Sessions

Ventana On Demand

    Services for Investment Firms

    We provide guidance using our market research and expertise to significantly improve your marketing, sales and product efforts. We offer a portfolio of advisory, research, thought leadership and digital education services to help optimize market strategy, planning and execution.

    Consulting & Strategy Sessions

    Ventana On Demand

      Services for Technology Vendors

      We provide guidance using our market research and expertise to significantly improve your marketing, sales and product efforts. We offer a portfolio of advisory, research, thought leadership and digital education services to help optimize market strategy, planning and execution.

      Analyst Relations

      Demand Generation

      Product Marketing

      Market Coverage

      Request a Briefing

        Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

        << Back to Blog Index

        Actuate’s Xenos Enterprise Server Dishes Out Mounds of Content

        For the past couple of decades Xenos' distinctive competence has been the transformation of print streams into content used to assemble documents. Its focus these days is in addressing the needs of organizations that have to handle high volume transactional output (HVTO) and all forms of enterprise content. The company, which was acquired by Actuate earlier this year, recently released their Enterprise Server Version 2.0.

        One of the more common applications of HVTO these days is the assembly and creation of documents from data and format definition into PDF format so that, for example, a customer of a bank, credit card or telecom company can go online, request a statement and view/download their statement or bill. The trick here, of course, is that millisecond response times are required to a society that has grown to expect (and demand) instant anything. By assembling these sorts of documents on demand, rather than creating them in advance for every customer (only some of whom will request one online), these companies save an enormous amount of storage space. In the past, once the document was requested and rendered into PDF format it would be stored in that fashion. However, over time saving documents this way has occupied an enormous amount of storage so the Enterprise Server can now store a rendering of the document as delivered by referencing repetitive elements (such as a logo, an announcement or a consumer message) that may be incorporated in the bill or statement. Although the cost of storage continues to plummet, content volumes in these sorts of organizations is growing at a faster pace as companies increasingly view their bills/statements as a marketing tool to build trust and loyalty, or to sell additional services. Other applications of the technology include a mortgage lender than can rapidly assemble a legally-binding offer document that does not require storage and saves 90% of the archive storage compared to saving the fully-rendered document.

        Another interesting application of the basic technology is in handling many-to-many data communications, eliminating the need to re-key data and without having the need to have a formal electronic data interchange (EDI) system acting as an (expensive) intermediary. In shipping, specific ships' manifests are created by different systems with different metadata and structures, yet they all have the same essential data elements. The ports into which they sail need to digest the contents of these manifests for customs, security and other purposes. Each port operator has their own systems and data structures. In the past, the shipping line might, say, fax the manifest to the port and the data would need to be re-keyed into the port's own system. Xenos has addressed this issue by creating what is, in essence, a Rosetta stone that extracts and parses the data from the various manifests and translates these into a data stream comprehensible to different port operators. It reduces processing time from hours to a fraction of that, saving both the shippers and the port time and money, and eliminates re-keying errors. In theory, XBRL or some other data tagging technology would be a simpler approach, one requiring a relatively straightforward taxonomy. However, this would require near universal adoption of the technology by shippers and ports and (not sadly for Xenos) I think this is unlikely to happen soon.

        In addition, many large organizations have a great deal of semi-structured and unstructured data sitting in near off-line and off-line repositories. The issue here is that companies often are supporting multiple disparate systems that house both useful and obsolete data that is difficult to access and occupies more storage space than is necessary. Certain industries, such as nuclear power, have long retention requirements but others are much shorter requirements. Companies that might be exposed to electronic discovery in some lawsuit become vulnerable if they are not aware of what is in these repositories. They multiply their vulnerability and litigation defense costs if they have not eliminated unnecessary documents and data. Companies can use Xenos Document Transformation (an element of the Server) to extract, groom, transform and save the information in a compact, accessible archive.

        I think there are many potential applications of the Xenos Enterprise Server to any document and data intensive organization. The company's penetration has mainly been in financial services but with the rise in demand for e-government services and the need to reduce administrative costs in government, there will be a growing need to securely generate documents from the hodge-podge of systems used by governments at the federal, state and large municipal levels. For Xenos, there probably is a pony in there somewhere.

        Actuate acquired Xenos because the technology is a good fit for its BIRT open source reporting system for Web applications. In high volume applications, companies can quickly render documents created by BIRT into useful content for users. This technology builds upon Actuate recent new release that my colleague has written about called ActuateOne that starts integration with Xenos as part of its technology platform and advances their unique position as information platform for data and content across an enterprise.

        Let me know your thoughts or come and collaborate with me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.


        Robert Kugel - SVP Research


        Robert Kugel
        Executive Director, Business Research

        Robert Kugel leads business software research for Ventana Research, now part of ISG. His team covers technology and applications spanning front- and back-office enterprise functions, and he personally runs the Office of Finance area of expertise. Rob is a CFA charter holder and a published author and thought leader on integrated business planning (IBP).


        Our Analyst Perspective Policy

        • Ventana Research’s Analyst Perspectives are fact-based analysis and guidance on business, industry and technology vendor trends. Each Analyst Perspective presents the view of the analyst who is an established subject matter expert on new developments, business and technology trends, findings from our research, or best practice insights.

          Each is prepared and reviewed in accordance with Ventana Research’s strict standards for accuracy and objectivity and reviewed to ensure it delivers reliable and actionable insights. It is reviewed and edited by research management and is approved by the Chief Research Officer; no individual or organization outside of Ventana Research reviews any Analyst Perspective before it is published. If you have any issue with an Analyst Perspective, please email them to

        View Policy

        Subscribe to Email Updates

        Posts by Month

        see all

        Posts by Topic

        see all

        Analyst Perspectives Archive

        See All