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8/12/2008
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SAP's Business Objects Intros Tool To Liven Up Microsoft PowerPoint

The company also unveiled SAP Spend Analytics, which business managers in various divisions can use to better understand purchasing patterns.

SAP's Business Objects division on Tuesday introduced a new software tool that lets businesspeople liven up their presentations with interactive Microsoft Excel spreadsheet data.

Called BusinessObjects Xcelsius Present, the tool lets users drag-and-drop Excel charts into PowerPoint and PDF-based presentations. The presenter can then change the data to show her audience different results. Using slider and dial features, for example, a business manager could show colleagues how a reduction in costs could affect margins from within a PowerPoint slide.

Priced at $195 per license, the tool is part of SAP's broader strategy to get easy-to-use BI capabilities into the hands of more types of business users. The software comes with 10 templates geared toward specific business functions and areas, including human resources, sales, marketing, finance and accounting, government, and education.

The announcement was made Tuesday at a gathering of SAP executives, customers, and media in Boston called the Business Objects Influencer Summit. SAP closed its $6.8 billion acquisition of Business Objects last January.

SAP also promoted its finance-related software to customers attending the summit. That includes upgrades to software within its family of enterprise-performance management applications, including SAP Strategy management (which came from its Pilot Software acquisition).

It also introduced SAP Spend Analytics, which business managers in various divisions can use to better understand purchasing patterns. And it has a new service, in collaboration with Deloitte, IBM Global Business Services, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Protiviti, to help companies prepare for Standard & Poor's new enterprise-risk management evaluations. Standard & Poor's announced in May that it was expanding its credit rating service for nonfinancial companies to include the evaluations.

Tools like this can help make BI capabilities available to more companies. InformationWeek recently did a survey of 500 organizations that could help companies evaluate their business intelligence strategies, and to learn what challenges an organization may face implementing BI applications. The report can be downloaded here (registration required).

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