Business Objects previews new 'Sundance' architecture

Business intelligence software vendor Business Objects plans to make changes to its software to make it easier to align with a company's business goals.

At its user conference here yesterday, executives outlined a new architecture called Sundance which they claim will deliver reusable, rules-based business intelligence processes throughout an enterprise. In a keynote speech, company CEO Bernard Liautaud explained that Sundance will capture best practices information use, with access through a role-based dashboard interface. In addition, groups of users will be able to work collaboratively, he said.

At the same time, the Sundance product will measure performance goals, such as sales or marketing targets, and generate reports and alerts to ensure they are reached. If an unexpected event such as a major drop in sales interferes with reaching the goal, an alert is triggered. The appropriate person then gets multiple recommendations of what to do.

"You get to a situation and there will be three to five next steps [offered] to handle the problem," said Dave Kellogg, senior group vice president of worldwide marketing at San Jose-based Business Objects. The system also will remember how a given problem was addressed in the past, and how the various solutions worked.

Although the Sundance architecture is not ready for commercial deployment, Kellogg said there would be an announcement in the fourth quarter.

Several users have already said that parts of Sundance might fit into their operations.

Etoi Moore, IT consultant at the Florida Lottery in Tallahassee, Fla., said she is already interested in beta-testing Sundance because of the way it builds in workflow for process control and improvement. That lessens the need for customization, she said.

Moore also cited the collaboration capabilities, which could be used by the lottery sales force to send updates about sales volumes right through a dashboard rather than relying on a phone call. Currently, the Florida Lottery has deployed the BusinessObjects WebIntelligence analytical software to 40 users.

Business Objects also announced the availability of a new workforce analytics module for the company's operations intelligence analytic application. The module is geared toward helping human resource managers with employee hiring, retaining and development. Managers can get a dashboard that will have metrics on employee education, performance and other personnel-related activities. Managers, for example, can quickly see how many days a given employee has spent in training.

A formal announcement on that module will be coming in the next two weeks.

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