SAP Unveils Major Upgrade For Its BusinessObjects BI Toolset

business intelligence SAP acquired Business Objects

The announcement included a refresh of the BusinessObjects Edge BI packages designed specifically for the channel, as well as a significant update to the Crystal Reports application that's popular with the channel, said Dave Weisbeck, senior vice president of business intelligence and enterprise information management and solution management.

The new software, in development for more than three years, is generally designed to better handle the huge volumes of data generated by today's IT systems, to analyze data in real time and to work with today's increasingly popular mobile devices and social networks.

"The challenge of business intelligence is to find what's interesting out of this river of data," Weisbeck said in an interview. "Business intelligence at the end of the day is about making decisions. And how can you trust those deicisions if you can't trust your data?"

The comprehensive 4.0 release includes updates to the unified business intelligence and enterprise information management (EIM) software within the BusinessObjects portfolio. The company said that a new unified infrastructure underlying the BI and EIM applications improves their performance and speeds up deployment times and system upgrades -- the latter a key issue for solution providers who install the software.

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The suite also sports a more standard interface across the Crystal Reports, BusinessObjects Explorer, BusinessObjects Dashboards and BusinessObjects Web Intelligence tools.

The 4.0 suite is also more tightly integrated with SAP's Business All-in-One and BusinessOne application sets, which are sold through channel partners to small and mid-size customers, Weisbeck said.

New to the suite are BusinessObjects Information Steward tools for analyzing, rating and monitoring data sources for accuracy, consistency and completeness; and BusinessObjects Event Insight that helps users understand the impact of business events such as financial market fluctuations.

The 4.0 release also provides greater support for mobile devices, such as Apple's iPad and iPhone, in response to greater demand for such capabilities, Weisbeck said. The WebIntelligence software, for example, offers more content and reports designed for mobile devices while Explorer has the capability to provide quick answers to questions submitted through Apple devices.

And the software is designed to be used with SAP's High-Performance Analytic Appliance (HANA) in-memory computing system for processing and analyzing huge volumes of data.