Business Objects is hailing its new business intelligence suite as its most integrated offering to date.
With BusinessObjects Enterprise 6, the company said it is making a push into web reporting capabilities and offers a series of new features integrated from Acta Technology, which it acquired in August last year in a cash deal worth approximately $65m.
Data integration, or extract/transform/load, software from Acta has been integrated into the suite to offer data extraction from systems such as SAP, Siebel and PeopleSoft.
Richard Neale, product marketing manager at Business Objects, told vnunet.com that the integration allowed metadata to be shared with business intelligence tools.
"Previously customers used in-house tools or resorted to manual coding to move data, an expensive and time consuming process," he explained.
"Sharing metadata can offer companies huge productivity benefits, and means that users don't have to take the data at face value."
The suite also includes the WebIntelligence 6.0 web query, reporting and analysis tool; an enhanced business intelligence portal; the BusinessObjects Warehouse that collects data from different systems; and improved administration for easier installation, deployment and maintenance.
Enterprise 6 offers real-time capabilities for the first time, allowing data to flow directly into an information 'dashboard'.
But the bulk of the enhancements focuses on web reporting capabilities and easier web-based deployment, which Neale explained have been driven by customer demand.
"The cost of ownership and management and administration of web-based tools is lower," he said.
"Customers say they want the bulk of R&D to go into the web product, but it would be presumptuous to say that the BusinessObjects [client server reporting tool] will be phased out."
The company declined to comment on pricing for the new suite, but Neale confirmed that existing customers on maintenance contracts would be offered the update for free.
He added that customers running BusinessObjects 5 and WebIntelligence 7 would get at least 18 months notice before the company ceases to support them.
The suite, available today on Windows and due to be generally available on HP UX, IBM AIX and Sun Solaris by 15 May, has been in beta with six UK customers, including British Airways and EDS, and 50 customers worldwide.
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