Business Objects Expands SMB Line With Planning Apps

Edge software

The business intelligence software vendor, which is in the process of being acquired by application giant SAP for $6.8 billion, also debuted software for linking the Edge line with SAP's R/3, Business Information Warehouse (BW) and Business All-in-One applications.

Business Objects debuted the Edge line earlier this year with the goal of boosting sales to SMBs. Edge bundles reporting, analysis, dashboard, office integration and security software. A professional edition adds data integration tools and a premium edition offers performance management scorecard capabilities. The majority of Edge sales are through channel partners.

The new BusinessObjects Edge Planning includes pre-packaged applications for strategic, capital, sales and payroll planning, and incentive compensation and productivity management. The system provides planning methodologies, activity-based budgeting, and reporting and analysis capabilities as well as visual modeling for what-if testing of financial projections. The package can be used on a stand-alone basis or in conjunction with the BusinessObjects Edge Standard, Profession or Premium editions, said Todd Rowe, vice president and general manager of worldwide mid-market business at Business Objects.

Much of the new product is based on technology Business Objects acquired when it bought SRC Software in 2005.

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About 50 percent of the sales being made by Decision First Technologies, an Atlanta-based solution provider and Business Objects channel partner, are to new customers and about 80 percent of those are BusinessObjects Edge applications, says Taylor Courtnay, sales vice president at Decision First. He expects the addition of the planning package to accelerate sales given that planning and performance management applications are an easier sell as part of a broader suite.

Business Objects expects typical deployments to range between 100 and 150 users and has priced the software, available now, at $25,000, $50,000 and $75,000 for 10, 30 and 60 named-user licenses, respectively. The price includes the first year of maintenance and support and training credits.

The SAP Direct Connect for BusinessObjects Edge Series provides a relatively easy and inexpensive way for SMBs to report and analyze data from SAP R/3 and BW, Business Objects said. The company estimates that 21 percent of its 37,000 customers are also SAP customers. The product, which Business Objects said would help channel partners target SAP users within the Business Objects installed base, is priced at $12,000.

Although SAP's acquisition of Business Objects is not expected to be completed until early 2008, Rowe said the companies have formed groups to begin planning for integrating their product lines, including software from Business Objects' SRC and Cartesis acquisitions and technology from SAP's OutlookSoft acquisition earlier this year.