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Business Objects targets mid-market reporting and data management

Later this month business intelligence powerhouse Business Objects will release two products extending its Crystal family of reporting and analysis tools. The company is also expanding its offerings in the enterprise information management market with data aggregation, metadata management and data quality apps. The barrage of new apps is partly the result of Business Objects’ acquisition tear which has included three companies since August.

Crystal Vision for the desktop will target line-of-business users within the enterprise. In a departure from complex, enterprise-level reporting tools, Crystal Vision will offer integrated reporting capability on the desktop and support interactive dashboards with access to live data. The new tool will support point and click access to databases, according to company officials, and connectivity to “live” Microsoft Office data. (Microsoft is expected to offer similar functionality in its Office 12 release.) Crystal Vision for the desktop also includes a basic service level subscription to crystalreports.com, which enables secure Web-based report sharing, according to Business Objects.

The Web-based version called Crystal Vision Server, which is priced at $12,500 for five concurrent user licenses, is designed for small to mid-size ($500 million revenue) companies. The aggressive pricing structure addresses emerging competition from open-source reporting tools, confirms Kirk Cunningham, executive director of product marketing. Both products integrate functionality from three existing Crystal offerings: Crystal Reports XI, Crystal Xcelsius Data 4.5—a data visualization tool—and Crystal Live Office.

Business Objects also announced several initiatives as part of its EIM strategy. In addition to offering new EIM Global Services, the company introduced tools designed for data integration, metadata management, and data quality that integrate with its core XI business intelligence platform. Data Federator, now generally available, aggregates data from multiple sources such as historical data from a data warehouse and external information from Web services and supports a “virtual” real-time view of data for analysis. Business Objects already offers an ETL tool for physical integration, called Data Integrator XI. The new Metadata Manager is a repository tool designed to help users understand the source of the data. Basically, “where did this number come from?” explains Phillip On, senior director of product marketing. The data quality piece is expected to be filled by tools from Firstlogic, an acquisition which Business Objects finalized on April 3.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards (krichards@1105media.com) is the editor of RedDevNews.com and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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