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11/10/2006
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Business Objects Widens Reach

Product enhancements, partnerships extend its business intelligence software to more users and applications, and make use of more third-party technologies.

The 4,000 attendees at Business Objects' customer conference last week got a peek at some future business intelligence technology--even some that may never be commercialized.

Enhancements to Business Objects XI Release 2, slated for the first half of 2007, include the ability to use keyword searches to retrieve information from Crystal Reports, Web Intelligence reports, and Dashboard Manager. The system also lets users query databases and applications outside the BI system and use the results to create new Web Intelligence reports.

Also part of XI Release 2 will be Business Objects Voyager, an Ajax-based client for retrieving and viewing online analytical processing data, and Business Objects Live Office, a wizard-driven BI interface to Microsoft Office.

Business Objects also is launching Open Search Initiative, a partner network with text analysis and enterprise search software vendors, to expand the range of structured and unstructured data sources customers can access. Partners include Attensity, BearingPoint, Clarabridge, ClearForest, Endeca, Fast Search & Transfer, IBM, Inxight Software, and Oracle.

For example, integrating Fast's Enterprise Search Platform will help knowledge workers find actionable information from such disparate sources as reports, dashboards, and scorecards. "We all have a common goal of opening up information to a new, broad set of users," says Rob Lancaster, Fast's VP of channel development. "The whole idea is to simplify access for the user."

Meantime, Business Objects is expanding its partnership with IBM, which will increase sales and support for the vendor's products and help it develop BI technologies.

TEAMWORK

Business Objects has formed a team of engineers called Business Objects Labs that will work with customers and partners to develop other technologies, such as composite or "mash-up" BI apps and BI within instant messaging, says James Thomas, senior product marketing director. The vendor plans to make prototypes of the new technologies available on a Web site, though Thomas says some may never become products.

with W. David Gardner

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