Business Objects Targets Midmarket

"We've sold a lot to the midmarket, but never really had [specific] products for it," said Chris Caren, vice president of corporate marketing for the San Jose, Calif.-based company. "In 2005, we'll be focusing more on the midmarket with unique product offerings, more focused marketing efforts aimed at smaller organizations, and more work to enable partners--whether VARs or OEMs--to sell to these areas."

The software, Crystal Reports Server XI (extreme insight), provides a single platform from which to distribute and manage reports over the Internet. Priced at $7,500, the server software allows one user to create and as many as five users to view performance snapshots concurrently. The performance snapshots are generated with Business Objects' report generator, Crystal Reports. Using Crystal Reports Server XI, companies can schedule which information to distribute, and when, over the Web. In addition, users are granted or denied access to files based on administrator authorization.

"In the past, the burden for companies has been getting their reports onto the Web. This server will make that very easy," said Tom Meers, president of Result Data, a Business Objects partner based in Columbus, Ohio. "Business Objects has released what's essentially a full-featured enterprise reporting product for the low end."

Although the server is new, the software is not. The server ships with an updated version of the ubiquitous report authoring tool, Crystal Reports. The latest version of the software, called Crystal Reports XI, has been enhanced for improved ease of use and simplicity--adjectives that aren't usually associated with developer-level software. A company's IT department is still responsible for large-scale report generation, but business users can now produce a variety of sub-reports themselves using any combination of data available in the large-scale reports.

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"The midmarket space has always had to purchase above budget to get true business intelligence," Meers said. "This will fill a significant gap in our customer base."

Meanwhile, MicroStrategy, McLean, Va., said Monday it has released server software that integrates reporting, analysis and continuous performance monitoring. According to the company, its new MicroStrategy8 software allows users to directly query data in their financial, HR, supply chain and other systems. It also offers reporting tools that let users format and rearrange data to their liking, without IT intervention.