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5/3/2006
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Business Objects Expands Into Enterprise Information Management

The business intelligence supplier debuts data federation and metadata management tools and offers new versions of its Crystal Reports software.

Business intelligence is only as good as the data that supports it. With that in mind, Business Objects is expanding beyond its traditional BI products to offer software for enterprise information management tasks.

While Business Objects and its competitors already dabble in data management areas--some already provide data extraction, transformation, and loading tools--Business Objects' move marks the biggest expansion by a BI vendor into the data management realm. It will put Business Objects more directly in competition with vendors such as BEA Systems, IBM, Informatica, and Oracle, which provide data integration and data management software.

Business Objects on Wednesday unveiled Data Federator, an enterprise information integration tool that provides a way to get a virtual, real-time view of data in multiple, disparate data sources. The software, which uses technology the company acquired last October when it bought Medience, lets users more easily perform queries against operational data.

The vendor also debuted Metadata Manager, software that collects and combines metadata from databases, BI tools, and data extraction, transformation, and loading systems. That gives administrators the ability to see and analyze metadata relationships and better understand the impact of changes in data sources throughout a business intelligence environment.

The new enterprise information management product lineup also includes data quality management software Business Objects acquired last month when it bought Firstlogic, and the Data Integrator XI software for physically moving data from multiple data sources and combining it into a data warehouse or data mart. The vendor has owned that product since buying Acta Technology in 2002.

Business Objects is supplementing the new products with new services in data quality, data integration, and data warehousing. The company is also extending technology and service partnerships it has with a number of companies, including Accenture, Kalido, Netezza, Purisma, and Teradata.

All the new products are available immediately. Pricing for Data Federator starts at $30,000 per CPU, while pricing for Metadata Manager ranges from $45,000 to $120,000 per BI deployment.

Business Objects also unveiled Crystal Vision and Crystal Vision Server, reporting software for individuals and midsized companies, respectively. They let users create reports and business intelligence dashboards and use the produced information within Microsoft Office applications. The products will be available later this month, with Crystal Vision priced at $795 per user and Crystal Vision Server priced at $12,500.

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