Business Objects updates tool set

Early 2007 product release to ease the daily access of analysis and reports

Business Objects SA Monday unveiled an update to its current tool set at its user conference in San Francisco and provided a glimpse of its take on the role of BI in the burgeoning world of Web 2.0.

The new BusinessObjects XI Release 2 Productivity Suite, expected to be available during the first half of 2007, is an update to the company's tool set that is designed make it easier for business users to access the analysis and reports they need on a daily basis.

The upcoming suite will not require users to migrate to new software but will be available as an add-on to XI Release 2, said John Schwarz, CEO of Paris-based Business Objects. The update includes added search capabilities, new visualization tools and a faster OLAP client.

"Now that you have finished the ERP, CRM and supply chain deployments, you have the opportunity to take this massive amount of information ... to become far better at what you do by extracting the relevant information," Schwarz said. "You can take the search that you would typically see in a Google window and make it part of the experience for a Business Objects user."

The new search capabilities are designed to allow users to perform a keyword search to quickly retrieve relevant information from multiple tools, including reports, Web reports and dashboards. In addition to querying existing reports and applications in the BI system, users also can create new reports, Schwarz said.

Also at its Business Objects Insights Americas 2006 conference, the company announced the formation of the Business Objects Labs, a team of engineers, users and partners who will explore new technologies that could be included in future software releases.

Bernard Liautaud, founder, chairman and chief strategy officer at Business Objects, said the labs hope to deliver the software that will make up BI 2.0. That will include components of BI on the desktop, BI availability on mobile devices and the creation of new collaborative applications that can, for instance, link BI and instant messaging.

"We're seeing the changes from the re-emergence of the Web as a platform," Liautaud said. "BI is going through as fundamental a change as the Web is going through right now. Instead of focusing on transaction-centric applications like sales force automation ... companies will shift their attention to applications that leverage their information [and] optimize their business processes."

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