Business Objects XI 3.0 brings BI to the masses

Business Objects XI 3.0 brings BI to the masses

Business Objects has updated its BI tools, promising to simplify the user experience

Business Objects’ latest version of its business intelligence (BI) platform, BusinessObjects XI 3.0, is aimed at allowing all people across an organisation access to any type of information, said the firm.

The new platform enhances a user’s experience of BI with new functionality, such as a widget capability and a mobile version, as well as the ability to incorporate unstructured information within the platform.

Richard Neale, Business Objects product marketing director, said “We realised there was a need to make information available in different ways and for users to be able to access information in a way they are more comfortable with.”

The BI Widgets give users access to personalized metrics right onto their desktop, keeping them informed with up-to-date information. The mobile version of the solution allows remote access to BI reports and allows for offline access, ensuring that customers can carry out analysis without a connection.

The firm has also enhanced the platform’s search capabilities with Polestar; a new tool combining search with analytics. “This gives people a high level overview with the ability to filter information, but then drill down into more detail when needed without having to leave the browser,” said Neale.

Reporting solution, Crystal Reports 2008, is improved in the new platform, as is virtualisation tool, Xcelsius 2008, and OLAP data exploration tool, Voyager. A web intelligence tool will also be available for the first time; an advanced query, reporting and analysis tool for both SAP and non-SAP environments.

When asked about the roadmap for Business Objects’ products after the SAP takeover, Neale said “This is about delivering products we promised to customers and in that we recognise we have many customers that are joint, but we also want to continue to support all ranges of data integration and create a heterogeneous platform.” Neale pointed to the improved integration for SAP applications in the new platform, as well as enhanced support for SAP metadata.

Neale also said that the combined firms are working on their product overlap and will produce a roadmap shortly that indicates which is their preferred solution for customers.

Improvement in the unstructured data field has been obtained by the Insight acquisition, which Neale mentioned Business Objects had been working hard to integrate with its existing portfolio. “Now customers have one place to manage all the information they are collecting as a business, whether it comes from a call centre or web site,” Neale explained.

As well as improving BI tools, Business Objects has made a few significant tweaks to the product’s infrastructure. Contained in BusinessObjects XI 3.0 is BusinessObjects Data Services, which is a combination of Data Integrator and Data Quality. “The two tools did similar things, so by integrating them we have improved their productivity,” said Neale. “Data quality has now become embedded in the process of moving data,” he added. The new simplified infrastructure will lower a CIOs cost of ownership because the same skills will be able to be leveraged across the entire data management environment.

BusinessObjects XI 3.0 is planned for the first quarter of this year, although the mobile version and new search capability will only be available later in 2008.