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Operational Apps Get Smarter And Easier To Use

Business-intelligence features designed for widespread use
Several software vendors are building business-intelligence capabilities into their operational applications. Analysts say that while built-in analysis tools may not be as flexible as standalone business-intelligence software, tighter integration with an application can make them easier for employees without IT expertise to use.

Manugistics Group Inc. this week will ship NetWorks OneView 7.0, a new release of the software used to measure and analyze a company's supply-chain performance. The software includes reporting and analysis software from Cognos Inc. that Manugistics embedded into NetWorks OneView under a recent deal.

FileNet Corp. last week unveiled business-process analysis capabilities for its enterprise content-management system. The Process Analyzer product will ship this month as an add-on module for the vendor's content-management software, which manages processes such as document flow throughout a company. Process Analyzer will help managers identify bottlenecks and other workflow problems.

"Process analysis is a key component of this end-to-end business-process management capability," says Gartner analyst Jim Sinur, adding that it can also be critical for determining the return on investment for process technology.

Process Analyzer uses the online analytical processing capabilities in Microsoft's SQL Server 2000 database and Excel spreadsheet as a front-end application. It will include predefined benchmarks for productivity, cycle time, workload, work-in-process, and resource utilization. The software will have a base price of $70,000.

PeopleSoft Inc., which once marketed its Enterprise Performance Management analysis tools as separate products, has been building that technology into its enterprise applications, including its human-resource and supply-chain management software. The vendor last week unveiled new analytical capabilities built into its supplier-management apps that managers use to rate suppliers using such criteria as product quality and on-time delivery performance.