Business intelligence is a SaaS offering

Business intelligence vendor Business Objects has announced the launch of crystalreports.com, the company's new software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering.

An on-demand, report- sharing platform that lets customers share business information securely, crystalreports.com is aimed at wooing mid-sized organizations to use enterprise BI without additional IT infrastructure investments.

Salesforce.com chairman and CEO Marc Benioff said with the availability of crystalreports.com, Business Objects is bringing the power of on-demand computing to BI customers worldwide.

"Earlier this year, salesforce.com and Business Objects announced the launch of Crystal Reports for AppExchange, which enables salesforce.com customers to benefit from the world standard for enterprise reporting directly in their salesforce implementations," Benioff said. "Salesforce.com is excited to see enterprise vendors like Business Objects move in this direction."

IDC research indicates that worldwide spending on software as a service stood at $US4.2 billion in 2004 and is expected to reach $US10.7 billion by 2009, representing a compound annual growth rate of 21 percent.

IDC research director Dan Vesset said the announcement of crystalreports.com represents the "first major" software as a service initiative in the BI market.

"Demand for BI software remains strong as the universe of BI users is expanding," Vesset said. "We expect new BI software delivery methods such as this SaaS offering from Business Objects to be well received by the market and contribute to further penetration of BI software into organizations of all sizes."

With crystalreports.com, report authors simply create or refresh the Crystal Reports document they wish to share, upload it to crystalreports.com, and create a list of users authorized to view the information. In addition, crystalreports.com enables current users of Crystal Reports XI to add value to their existing investment.

Business Objects CEO John Schwarz said software as a service is transforming the software landscape and the company's priority is providing customers - regardless of size or IT resources - with BI solutions that meet their unique needs and ultimately improve business performance. Availability of the new service is slated for the second half of 2006.

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