Business Objects rolls out new BI, integration products

Business Objects unveiled a slew of new products Wednesday, including two new reporting tools and several tools to inject enterprise information management into its business intelligence product line.

Crystal Vision is a new tool designed to allow enterprise users to create reports and turn them into interactive dashboards on the desktop; Crystal Vision Server, which is designed for the mid-market, will allow users to design reports and dashboards that can then be shared live over the Web. The server allows reports and dashboards to maintain real-time connectivity to data so they can be refreshed anytime. Both new tools also include Crystal Live Office, which offers access to live data from within any Microsoft Office application, according to officials from San Jose-based Business Objects.

With Crystal Vision, users can "take their reports up a level and transform them into an interactive 'what if' model or business dashboard to plan for the future and analyze data within the organization," said Jaylene Crick, group product marketing manager at Business Objects.

The company also announced several tools focused on enterprise information management that are designed to ensure the information being analyzed is accurate and current. "The barriers to business intelligence and performance management success are typically due to poor data quality or disparate data across the enterprise," said Philip On, product marketing manager at Business Objects. "Organizations are struggling to really trust their numbers and to know which data source they came from."

The new BusinessObjects Data Federator is designed to give users a virtual real-time view of data from disparate sources. Instead of moving data into a data warehouse before users can query it, the new tool sends a query out to multiple data sources and brings the information back to the user, On said. The tool likely will be used by companies looking to provide access to data more quickly than the typical overnight updates to a data warehouse or by companies seeking to integrate data from systems added through acquisition.

In addition, the company unveiled BusinessObjects Metadata Manager, a new product that collects BI, ETL, relational database and third-party metadata to give administrators complete visibility into all metadata. This allows them to view, analyze and explore metadata relationships to understand the impact of source data changes and to access data lineage for compliance reporting and internal controls.

Finally, Business Objects announced that in the wake of its acquisition of data quality vendor Firstlogic on April 3, it now provides standalone data quality tools to profile, cleanse and monitor data. Officials did not provide any details about the data quality tools, which are now available.

Crystal Vision Server and Crystal Vision are expected to be available later this month. Crystal Vision Server starts at US$12,500 for five concurrent user licenses, and users can purchase up to 20 concurrent licenses. Crystal Vision is US$795 per individual user license, and includes a basic service level subscription to crystalreports.com., the company's software-as-a-service offering for reports.

Data Federator and Metadata Manager are available now. Data Federator costs US$30,000 per CPU; Metadata Manager ranges from US$45,000 to US$120,000, depending on what other products a company already has in place.

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