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Business-Intelligence Market Forges Ahead

Vendors roll out hefty upgrades and new reporting software
The business-intelligence software industry may be consolidating, but it's not slowing down. Next week, Business Objects SA and SPSS Inc. will debut significant upgrades to their core business-intelligence products, while Cognos Inc. will unveil its ReportNet query-and-reporting software.

Improved data analysis and integration and an enhanced user dashboard are the key elements of BusinessObjects Enterprise 6.1. The release also better leverages online analytical-processing functions that IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle have built into their database software. The reporting engine in Enterprise 6.1 has been showing a 30% to 35% performance gain in report-update capabilities, says Tom Nather, a senior systems analyst at Penske Logistics, a subsidiary of Penske Corp., that's evaluating the software. The most important enhancement is the ability to download a report directly into Microsoft Excel, Nather says.

SPSS's update to its flagship statistical-analysis and data-management software has new presentation graphics and an add-on module for stratifying large data sets such as survey results. Features in release 12.0 improve the software's data and output management.

Cognos is expected to attract attention next week when it unveils ReportNet, Web-based query-and-reporting software that it's been quietly selling for several months. ReportNet is designed for large-scale deployments and can handle production and ad hoc reporting tasks.