Business Objects Embedded in

By eweek  |  Posted 2005-10-04 Print this article Print

Office"> What is happening with Microsoft Office? If you take charts in PowerPoint, today they are static charts. With Business Objects embedded in Office, now you have the ability to drill down—by quarter, by revenue, by product. You can navigate through data using Power Point on the front end.
It becomes a window into enterprise systems and enables people to get to enterprise information without having to leave [the Windows] environment.
How is that concept different from dashboards? They are a separate environment, and we provide that. What we do now, you can take a digital element, and embed that into Word, Power Point, Excel. Where is your technology at now? We have a complete product today, with reporting, query analysis, data integration. But we clearly envision a future where our product line will be even broader than it is today, as we develop new functionality. We will do that organically—that will be our primary way to expand—but we will also do it with acquisitions. We have done about 10 in the past, and we will do more in the future. What do you see as the growth path for business intelligence? If you look at the broad market, from a BI perspective, its about a $12 billion opportunity right now, but its fairly fragmented with the core business reporting analysis—and we have about a 20 percent market share. In the business performance management market, where you do things like strategy goal management, planning, budgeting, consolidation, dashboard, score cards—thats an emerging market. Then there are analytic applications that can analyze customers and suppliers. In terms of providing tools and data mining, forecasting, modeling, those are all in separate buckets. Everything is related to the integration of data, aggregated to the database, data warehouses and federated data. When you start looking at all that technology it becomes a broader marketplace. Right now, there is not one company that has taken the lead over the broader market. Companies like Microsoft and Oracle are taking a much deeper look at BI, developing their next-generation suites around business intelligence. How will that change your competitive landscape? The world of BI is changing. These companies, we well continue to partner with them, because were doing business a lot with Microsoft, with Oracle. Were embedded in their applications in a number of ways. But it will be more competitive. The reason why we have been so successful and will continue to be, against competitors—the first criteria is independence of tools, vis-à-vis the database and applications. Customers have multiple databases and hundreds if not thousands of applications. They are looking for independent information coming from Oracle, IBM, SAP, Lawson, etc. Thats usually the number one criteria for BI. Therefore, offers that come from Oracle, or another vendor, are biased toward one environment. Thats why we feel confident. How much does integration play a part in your products, and do you have that capability now? We have a solution called Data Integrator—the result of an acquisition we did about three years ago. It brings data from different production applications—SAP, Oracle—into a data warehouse and data mart. So thats a primary ETL product. But there are also a number of capabilities [inherent] in it, like managing meta data. Integration seems pretty important. Do you need further capabilities? We will continue to expand the offering. If you think about the big issue, its quality of data, so having trust in information in data [users] look at. For that we are doing two things: bringing quality into data integration solutions, but also because we have one suite of products that is all integrated, we enable business users to access information about where data comes from. So in a report, users have the understanding of where data comes from, know from where its accessed, where it comes from. You mentioned modeling previously. What are your plans there? Its more toward the "what if" analysis and planning [than process modeling]—how you want to model the growth of your sales organization, or how you want to model your human capital management. Weve done that with planning software; thats what we have brought in with the acquisition of SRC. It brings BI into the financial planning world. But planning is geared toward all sorts of planning—demand planning, supply planning. This is a big element of performance management. We feel we have a great position with a full product portfolio now. And we have big ambitions. What are you looking for from the new CEO? John comes in at a good time. Usually when a company had a change of CEO, there is something wrong with company. There is nothing wrong with Business Objects. Its growing, its profitable, its been for a while. Our market position is terrific. So there is a very good foundation to build on. Im looking for—were going to take to next step. The next phase of growth is going to build on the foundation that we have built for past 15 years. We have 33,000 customers. He has a lot to build on right now. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.


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