Vendor makes Crystal Reports features available as a service over the Net.
Someone has to be first. In the business intelligence field, where software can be difficult to implement and support, Business Objects last week decided to appeal to smaller companies by being the first to offer reporting software capabilities as a service.
Companies that usually rely on faxes, E-mail, and PDFs can now use the company's Crystal Reports reporting software on a hosted basis to transmit and share reports. Competitors Cognos and Hyperion don't offer such a service. Businesses can create reports using Crystal Reports software and upload them to the crystalreports.com site to make them available to managers, employees, and even people outside the company. Report authors create a list of authorized viewers, who are automatically notified by E-mail when a new or updated report is available.
Business Objects seems to like offering its software as a service. In January, it began offering an on-demand version of Crystal Reports XI through Salesforce.com's AppExchange, letting customers integrate the reporting software with hosted Salesforce apps.
Business intelligence software providers generally have been slower than other application vendors in embracing software as a service. IDC predicts that worldwide spending for software sold using that model will grow 21% a year and reach $10.7 billion by 2009.
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