Business Objects upgrades its data analysis software

Business Objects SA has announced an upgrade of its data analysis software suite that it said includes a more consistent Web browser user interface plus extended capabilities for integration with ERP and CRM applications.

The Paris-based company said the BusinessObjects Enterprise 6 release will also provide a boost in performance and scalability. For example, the suite’s thin-client WebIntelligence tool will provide 80 percent faster response times on query and analysis operations, said Lance Walter, director of product marketing for business-intelligence platforms at Business Objects.

In addition, Walter said the WebIntelligence upgrade includes a single user interface for querying, reporting and analysis functions. Business Objects has also added wizard technology to help users perform tasks such as filtering out unwanted data or drilling down into information about a specific unit. Reports can now be saved and published within Microsoft Excel spreadsheets or Adobe Acrobat documents.

Although Business Objects has sped up the log-in process for WebIntelligence and upgraded the tool’s reporting capabilities, the improvements could have been even better, said Thierry Leleu, business-intelligence program manager at Unisys Corp. in Blue Bell, Pa. Unisys has been running WebIntelligence 2.7 since 1998 and began beta-testing the new version in September.

Leleu declined to comment specifically on what Business Objects could have done better in the upgrade. Despite the shortcomings, he noted that he hopes to get some of the 8,000 WebIntelligence users at Unisys live on the new software by July. The added support for Excel and greater flexibility in designing reports are particularly attractive features, Leleu said.

Business Objects, which has its U.S. headquarters in San Jose, said the Enterprise 6 suite is due for release by May 15. The upgrade will be able to use native interfaces to extract data from business applications developed by vendors like SAP AG, Oracle Corp., Siebel Systems Inc. and PeopleSoft Inc., as well as from custom applications.