Software // Information Management
Commentary
6/21/2005
02:24 PM
Ted Kemp
Ted Kemp
Commentary
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In On XBRL's Ground Level

One BI vendor is wasting no time ensuring it'll be able to serve up XBRL-formatted business information -- as soon as the user community decides it wants it.

Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) continues to gain steam as the data-formatting standard for information on publicly traded companies. Now BI vendors are getting on board -- or at least one is.

Business Objects, integration software firm Ipedo and financial information source Edgar Online have combined elements of their technology to produce a joint XBRL-enhanced BI tool. The goal: Make it possible to cull business data from Securities & Exchange Commission documents and other sources, and then analyze that data using Business Objects BI tools.

XBRL adoption has been sluggish among companies that file documents with the SEC. (Publicly traded Business Objects is itself a company that wasted no time moving toward the standard.) But as we explained in a piece we ran recently, XBRL is moving beyond the conceptual phase toward becoming a real standard for data on public companies. Moreover, it's likely the SEC will eventually mandate XBRL for financial documents.

Business Objects has managed a small coup by striking the partnership with Edgar Online, easily the best known source of SEC documents other than the SEC itself. Edgar Online has no plans -- for now, at least -- to strike similar deals with Business Objects rivals such as Hyperion or Cognos, according to Sue Childs, Edgar Online VP of business development.

Speculating just for myself, however, I wouldn't rule out more, similar deals for Edgar Online. Edgar's I-Metrix tool is designed to make it possible for users to tap company financial information using Microsoft Excel; now Edgar Online is making it possible to carry out more complex analysis through I-Metrix combined with BusinessObjects XI. What works with Excel and with Business Objects will work just fine with other BI tools as well.

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