Google courts business intelligence players
- By Stephen Swoyer
Google’s OneBox Enterprise ecosystem picked up two more BI heavyweights last week, as both Business Objects and Information Builders announced OneBox-ready modules.
OneBox Enterprise, which Google unveiled last month, provides category- and function-specific enterprise search capabilities. A bevy of BI players—including Cognos, Oracle, Salesforce.com, and SAS Institute—announced support for OneBox Enterprise at last month’s launch event.
OneBox Enterprise isn’t a discrete offering, per se, so much as a complement to Google’s hardware Search Appliance. Last week, Business Objects also announced support for Google’s Search Appliance, which Information Builders and many other BI players currently support.
Software vendors can write to OneBox Enterprise APIs to incorporate Google search capabilities into their enterprise apps. The upshot, says Matthew Galzbach, product manager for Google Enterprise, is that anyone—from open source developers to traditional ISVs—can use OneBox APIs to build Search Appliance providers for their projects.
“Your search experience is only as good as the information that you’re actually searching over, so if a user comes and does a search, but they don’t find what they’ve been looking for, it might be because the information [hasn’t been made] available to the search system,” Galzbach explains. “The announcement we made with OneBox is [part of an effort] … to call out to business applications and get information from them.”
Thanks to Business Objects’ support for Google OneBox Enterprise—which (like other ISVs) it’s delivering via OneBox-ready software modules—joint customers can use the Google Search Appliance to search Business Objects content and return a list of Crystal (or WebIntelligence) reports, along with Business Objects dashboards, scorecards, and other BI information. Officials say the OneBox-ready software will be available sometime this quarter.
Information Builders, for its part, is no stranger to Google-dom. It notched a deal last September to support Google’s Search Appliance, and—when interviewed earlier this month about enterprise search—company officials assured TDWI that OneBox Enterprise support was a foregone conclusion, too. “We were kind of still busy with a whole bunch of things we were announcing for Summit [Information Builders’ annual user confab], so we weren’t as quick as we should have been with that [support for OneBox],” says Michael Corcoran, VP of product strategy.
Unlike Business Objects—and like competitor Cognos—Information Builder markets an enterprise search offering of its own, WebFOCUS Intelligent Search.
Some BI players—and Google itself—have touted enterprise search as a means to transform the end user app experience. For example, says Google’s Galzbach, the Google Search Appliance doesn’t simply crawl through and index static app content; instead, it provides the mechanism by which organizations can programmatically expose results to users, based in some cases on real-time information.
“There’s this whole other dimension of business data that isn’t something that you would go crawl and index, but it’s something you would call out in real time to answer questions that an employee might have, things like, ‘What’s the status of a purchase order?’ or ‘Show me all the leads in our CRM system for this account,’” Galzbach says. “Those are all bits of information that exist in the enterprise applications that power the business, but—until we released this OneBox capability—were oftentimes difficult to find, difficult to access for the employees who need that information.”
Stephen Swoyer is a contributing editor for Enterprise Systems. He can be reached at email@example.com.