One year after their merger, business intelligence software vendors Crystal Decisions and Business Objects have released their first combined product.
The software, Business eXtreme Insight (XI), takes functions from both platforms and has improved compatibility with Microsoft Office. Business Objects is hoping the new code will open up markets previously closed to the company.
"This is the completion of the Business Objects and Crystal Decisions integration," said Bernard Liautaud, founder and chairman of Business Objects "It brings the two product lines together and what the team has done in the last year is remarkable. It's unheard-of for two such large products to be integrated in a year, done so that both sets of customers can integrate seamlessly without having to redo their initial investment."
He continued that all future Business Objects products will be based around the XI platform. He claimed that business intelligence software offered the best return on investment in the software industry.
The merger of the two companies created the largest business intelligence software company in the market. IDC's latest figures found that in 2003 Business Objects was the market leader with 17.8 per cent of the market, with Cognos its nearest rival at 13 per cent.
The newly developed code has much greater integration with Microsoft Office applications, with data interchangeable between the two. This includes integration with Microsoft Exchange Server and .NET to ensure data remains secure and it is the only business intelligence software to have Microsoft Datacenter Certification.
"For years business intelligence people have tried to get people to use their software and not applications like Excel," said Chris Caren, Business Objects vicepresident of corporate marketing.
"Now you can access the software from within Microsoft Office applications and refresh your data in real time from identifiable documents and spreadsheets. I've lost count of the number of meetings that have stretched on for hours as people questioned the statistics used."
Other new features include a built-in encyclopaedia, which contains a full business glossary of business and technical terms and a messaging tool that allows workgroup communication within reporting.
The Windows version of the product is available immediately, with Linux versions coming in the first half of this year. Upgrade software is available for Business Objects 6 and Crystal Decisions products version 7.5 or later.
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