Business Objects to beef up business intelligence app

Business intelligence applications vendor Business Objects SA is pushing a new version of its application suite that it boasts will deliver a more consistent, easier-to-use Web interface that offers extended integration capabilities with other enterprise software.

The San Jose-based company Wednesday announced the latest iteration of its analysis and reporting platform, BusinessObjects Enterprise 6, which will have a boost in scalability along with greater analytical sophistication. According to Lance Walter, director of product marketing for business intelligence platforms at Business Objects, the WebIntelligence browser-based reporting and analysis application will have 80 percent faster response times for queries and analysis operations.

There will now be a single interface for querying and analysis, which means end users can perform analysis and create reports from a single screen, simplifying the process. Wizards have also been added that help users do things such as drill into one specific line of business they need to analyze or filter out unwanted data. Reports can also be saved or published into Excel or Adobe Acrobat applications.

The portal product has also been enhanced to allow users to more easily arrange documents into different hierarchies as needed. In addition to the Business Object software hooks, it will support Microsoft Corp.’s Active Server Pages and Sun Microsystems Inc.’s JavaServer Pages content presentation technology to rapidly customize the business intelligence portal and integrate content to other industry standard portals.

While there have been improvements for users to log in and do reporting on the application, they could be better, said Thierry Leleu, business intelligence program manager at server manufacturer Unisys Corp., in Malvern, Pa. Unisys has been running WebIntelligence 2.7 since 1998 to support its finance, sales, marketing and other reporting operations, and has been beta-testing Enterprise 6 since September.

The support for Excel, along with greater flexibility in moving the columns in reports and better printer-ready formatting, are particularly attractive and Leleu is hoping to get some users live by July.

BusinessObjects Enterprise 6 will be generally available on Windows and HP-UX, IBM AIX and Sun Solaris by May 15, the company said.

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