Business Objects' upgrade includes scalability and performance enhancements

Rick Whiting, Contributor

March 4, 2003

2 Min Read

Business Objects SA debuted an upgrade to its core business-intelligence software suite last week with enhancements ranging from new data-warehouse technology to end-to-end metadata management and scalability and performance improvements.

The release, BusinessObjects Enterprise 6, addresses demands from users for business-intelligence tools that can be deployed on an enterprise scale. The product also could provide Business Objects' software license sales a boost: The company last week reported that while first-quarter sales were up 10% year over year to $118.5 million, license fees--a key indicator of future growth--were down nearly 11%.

The Enterprise 6 suite includes the vendor's query and reporting software, portal software, analytical applications, and data-warehouse tools. The suite's architecture has been overhauled for faster calculations and report generation and to better support deployments to thousands--even tens of thousands--of users, the company says.

Some customers that installed earlier versions of WebIntelligence, the suite's Web-based query and reporting tool, ran into scalability limitations, Ventana Research analyst Mark Smith says. But financial-services firm Morgan Stanley has had WebIntelligence deployed to nearly 20,000 managers, brokers, and sales assistants for three years. "It's always been very scalable," Morgan Stanley VP Michael Strachan says.

Morgan Stanley uses WebIntelligence to provide workers with reports about clients, revenue and assets, and sales opportunities. The firm already has the new release running on clustered servers, which makes it easier to distribute workloads.

Revenue BreakdownComputer-products distributor Ingram Micro Inc. has some 1,400 Business Objects users, about 600 using WebIntelligence and many of them working remotely. "Web access is critical," says David Muller, Ingram's information strategies senior director. Employees use the Business Objects software with a Sybase Adaptive Server IQ data warehouse for customer and sales-analysis applications. The WebIntelligence release in Enterprise 6 delivers many of the same capabilities as Business Objects' client-server reporting tool, including the ability to create reports with multiple formats and save them to Microsoft Excel and Adobe Acrobat PDF.

Enterprise 6's new data-warehouse capabilities come from the data extraction, transformation, and loading software Business Objects acquired last year when it bought Acta Technology Inc. Renamed BusinessObjects Data Warehouse, the software is fully integrated with the rest of the vendor's product line, including its analytical apps.

New application connectors and end-to-end metadata-management features make it easier to link Business Objects' software to multiple data sources and provide users with a consistent data view--a critical feature as business intelligence moves beyond departmental applications into the enterprise, Ventana's Smith says.

The suite's Application Foundation, the core of Business Objects' analytical applications, offers new performance metrics, and the software also now includes a report-auditing feature. BusinessObjects Enterprise 6 is available now on Windows; versions for HP-UX, IBM AIX, and Sun Solaris will be available by May 15. Pricing is per server or per user.

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