Business Objects Extends Reach Of Its Business Intelligence Software


Vendor debuts new mobile, data connectivity and dashboard tools to make reporting and data analysis more pervasive


Getting business-intelligence capabilities into the hands of a broad range of users remains the industry's Holy Grail. Business Objects took several steps in that direction this week, unveiling new products that extend query and reporting to mobile devices, provide access to more data sources and allow users to build interactive personalized dashboards.

The vendor also delivered a package of add-on tools that extends the capabilities of its flagship BusinessObjects XI software. All of the new products are available immediately.

The company portrayed the moves as part of its ongoing effort to make business intelligence more pervasive throughout customer organizations. This "allows access from anywhere to any information by anyone who is authorized to get access to it," said Business Objects CEO John Schwarz in a Web broadcast. "It is also designed to make the information more actionable. So it's not just passive viewing of data."

Business Objects is providing users of its Crystalreports.com on-demand business-intelligence solution with access to more data sources through the new Open Data Connector and Universal Web Services Connector products. The former connects on-demand reports to any local data source so reports can be continually updated, while the latter connects Crystalreports.com reports with any Web service-based data source.

The vendor's VARs and solution provider partners are showing increased interest in Crystalreports.com, selling it in conjunction with other software-as-a-service products, such as Salesforce.com's CRM applications, says Juliette Sultan, vice president of information discovery and delivery at Business Objects.

BusinessObjects Mobile lets users view and manipulate reports from the BusinessObjects XI system using a Blackberry, Windows Mobile or other portable device. The software is based on a service-oriented architecture and competes with other mobile business-intelligence products and services such as the Cognos 8 Go! Mobile.

The BusinessObjects XI Release 2 Productivity Pack bolsters the capabilities of the vendor's core platform, offering new search features and the ability to use the Business Objects software in conjunction with Microsoft Office applications. The new Voyager tool lets analysts gather and view OLAP (online analytical processing) data from multiple sources. And a new Query as a Web Service feature lets users design queries and publish them as Web services.

The vendor also has combined Query as a Web Service with its Crystal Xcelsius product to create a product called BusinessObjects Xcelsius Enterprise that allows users to create interactive, personalized dashboards and deploy them throughout an organization using portals and Microsoft applications.