JasperSoft’s forthcoming upgrade of its business intelligence suite, due out at the start of November, will improve the ability for users to create their own customised reports.

JasperSoft has found that the end users of a BI system often need a developer’s help to create more complex reports, said Paul Doscher, JasperSoft’s CEO. That takes time away from the developer that could be used to work on other IT projects.

“The last thing the developer wants to do is develop reports,” Doscher said.

With the new release, Business Intelligence Suite 2.1, JasperSoft has expanded the ability for someone in the accounting department to customise their own BI web portal to generate new kinds of information, Doscher said. Previously, end users could build simple reports, but “we want to make this more sophisticated,” Doscher said.

For example, an accounts payable clerk can drag and drop elements within the BI Web portal to produce a report showing which customer has the most receivables. Previously, that job would have required the clerk to dictate to the developer what kind of report is needed, and the developer would build it, Doscher said.

JasperSoft has also expanded the range of calculations the software can perform, he said.

JasperSoft’s open-source BI tools are integrated by developers for use with other applications and even hosted CRM (customer relationship management) services such as Salesforce.com and SugarCRM. Customers set up their customised charts and graphs that give information about their business through a Web portal or another application.

Businesses such as telecommunications companies use JasperSoft to analyse trends in their billing data. The University of Nebraska, another JasperSoft customer, uses the suite to analyse information on students stored in large databases.

JasperSoft’s products are free to download, and the company makes money by selling support packages. Doscher said JasperSoft has about 7,000 paying customers, of which 70 percent are companies with revenue of $1 billion and below.

JasperSoft focuses on the small to medium-size businesses, where Doscher said there is the most growth now for BI products.