Business Objects Supports Wider Array Of Data Sources

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The move comes less than a week after arch-rival Cognos, now owned by IBM, debuted a major upgrade of its own BI platform, Cognos 8 v4, that emphasizes expanded mobile and "self-service" dashboard and reporting capabilities

For Business Objects, the focus for BusinessObjects XI 3.1 is reinforcing the business intelligence platform's ability to be "agnostic" and link to a wide variety of data sources, said Pierre Leroux, product marketing manager. Business Objects was acquired by SAP in January and some observers worried Business Objects would become more SAP-centric.

BusinessObjects XI 3.1 now provides native connectivity to the Oracle E-Business Suite line of applications, a direct competitor to the SAP Business Suite, and updates for links to PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards and Siebel applications that Oracle also owns. The links allow the Business Objects system to extract data from those operational applications for analysis.

The new release also provides updated support for the Microsoft .Net environment, including Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008, and native support for systems built on a 64-bit architecture. Other newly supported data sources include servers running HP-UX and the Netezza data warehouse appliance.

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"The broader support offered by their core platform, the bigger the potential market for our solutions," said Allan Pym, business development vice president at APOS Systems, a Kitchener, Ont.-based developer of add-on solutions for Business Objects XI, including management and administration tools for the system and software for integrating BusinessObjects XI with Microsoft Outlook and ESRI's geographical information system applications.

Expanded Flash support will help APOS developers build live mapping capabilities into Business Objects reports and other content, Pym said. Release 3.1 provides improved tools for testing and deploying reports and other content generated by the business intelligence system, according to Leroux. It also supports the IP v6 Internet Protocol standard.

Improvements to the BusinessObjects Voyager software for exploring online analytical processing (OLAP) data offers new visualization capabilities, Leroux said, and enhancements to the Web Intelligence client software make it easier to navigate and find data.

The 3.1 release is available immediately.