Business Objects Adds BI Bundles For SMBs

Business Objects partners with Citrix and IBM in delivering business intelligence software bundles targeted at small and midsized businesses.
Business Objects has partnered with Citrix Systems in delivering BO's reporting suite as a virtual-software appliance geared for small and midsize businesses with limited IT staff.

The new product, announced this week, followed on the heels of Business Objects' partnership with IBM to bundle BO's business intelligence software with IBM's database management system and data warehousing software. The latter products would be offered under limited-use licenses.

The partnership with Citrix provides a virtual-software appliance version of Crystal Reports Server XI. The software, scheduled to ship in the first quarter of 2008, is bundled with the Citrix's XenSource virtualization platform, and can be deployed in any computer server.

The IBM deal bundles Business Objects' BI and corporate performance management software with IBM's DB2 9 and DB2 9 Warehouse. Both companies can sell the new package, and the partners have established a joint development lab for building future joint products.

The new Business Objects bundles increase the vendor's options for enterprise and SMB customers. The deal with IBM, which expands an existing partnership between the two companies, goes even further in reaching potential customers by giving Business Objects access to IBM's global customer base of DBMS and data warehousing accounts.

Taken as a whole, along with other recent initiatives, the latest moves differentiate Business Objects, which is soon to become a part of business software maker SAP, from other BI and CPM vendors, including Cognos, SAS Institute, Information Builders, MicroStrategy and Actuate, James Kobielus, analyst for Current Analysis said in a recent report.

"In addition, as it gravitates more deeply into SAP’s orbit, Business Objects will become a key nerve center in its future parent’s ongoing tussle with Oracle to dominate the service-oriented architecture (SOA) universe," Kobielus said.

But while the latest moves are good for Business Objects, its future remains unclear in light of SAP's plans to buy the software maker. "Though SAP has issued repeated assurances that Business Objects will be a stand-alone product group, it is still not clear how the vendors will converge their overlapping strategies, solutions and partnerships in 2008 and beyond," Kobielus said.

Indeed, the expanded partnership with IBM complicates BO's relationship with SAP, which offers an SOA suite that competes with IBM technology, the analyst said.