SAP has updated its analytics software for small and medium sized businesses with a number of enhancements to Crystal Server 2011 and Business Objects Edge 4.0, both of which will be available later this year.
Crystal Reports has been renamed Crystal Server in an attempt to market the product at entry level business intelligence (BI) users, according to John Wilkinson, SAP Analytics vice president.
Crystal Server has also been bundled with Business Objects Explorer, which SAP acquired four years ago, to provide access to self-service data search capabilities in addition to the core functionality of report and dashboard viewing.
"We noticed that the way customers are buying the product is changing, and now it is the heads of business lines who are making the buying decisions and they want explorer capabilities with search and self-service," said Wilkinson.
Meanwhile, Business Objects Edge 4.0 now allows business users to analyse unstructured data and information from social networks. The software has been updated with "event insight" capabilities that can monitor business scenarios as they happen in real time.
Additional text analysis capabilities will allow users to set up links from social networks, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, and analyse discussions and sentiment.
Business Objects Edge 4.0 boasts mobility enhancements that allow customers to interact with reports on their smartphones rather than having read-only access.
Finally, SAP has given all its SME analytics offerings a common user interface, including Crystal Server, Business Objects Explorer, Business Objects Web Intelligence and Business Objects OLAP Voyager.
"Previously they all had different user environments but now there is a single environment for development and a common look and feel for each tool," said Wilkinson.
A number of BI players are making product announcements this week.
Independent open source firm Jaspersoft has partnered with Ingres to offer an all-in-one BI and database compliance system, and SAS is to make a number of product announcements at its customer and partner event in Belgium tomorrow.
The BI market is also becoming increasingly competitive. Garter is forecasting growth of nearly 10 per cent this year to $10.8bn.
BI ranked number five on the list of the top 10 technology priorities for chief information officers in 2011, according to Gartner's annual global CIO survey published in January.
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