So your approach is just less financially focused? It is across the enterprise and its open. So if a company decides they want to use SAP for their budgeting system or they want to use Excel or they want to use any other tool, were going to enable them to have an enterprise performance management solution on top of that. We dont depend on a proprietary budgeting and consolidation tool. We can work with any. The same way we work with SAP, Siebel, Oracle, PeopleSoft, any underlying application. We view budgeting and planning as one of these applications and our platform comes on top. Whereas Cognos and Hyperion [say], "We provide you with our own proprietary financial application that includes consolidation and budgeting." But I think by doing that, they lost their soul. Cognos now is fighting a war on two fronts. On one hand, they are fighting against us in the BI market and theyre now half our size. And on the financial applications side, they are fighting against Hyperion and SAP, which are five to 10 times bigger. So I think its a difficult strategy to be No. 2 or 3 in two different markets. While were on the subject of Cognos and Hyperion, theres been some recent transition in leadership at both companies. What are your plans at Business Objects? Will you remain CEO?I think thats going to enable companies to share information in a much more fluid way and I think its going to have a big impact in the future. Are there any new releases of Business Objects technology on the way that will address these issues? We have a full roadmap of products coming forward that will certainly move us faster in this particular area. A lot of these things are already availableits more new usage of our technology that were pushing with our customers. A lot more will come through the roadmap that we put together when we decided to integrate with Crystal. Do you still rely on partnerships for predictive analytics and data mining? Do you have any new developments in that area? Nothing that we can talk about at this point. We have data mining technologies in our application framework. So if companies want to use data mining technologies and techniques we have them in what we call Application Foundation. We have not put together a full data mining product for now, but I think what we believe is that advanced analytics is going to be important in the future to make applications more valuable. In the performance application arenathats where its going to be important. In terms of data mining as a tool per se, thats not something that were pursuing, but providing it as a technique that is going to be used to do predictive analytics as part of an application is something that is of very big interest to us. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
Im still here and very excited about the future. I was a founder of Business Objects 14 years ago, but its been an exciting adventure all the way. The future continues to be extremely exciting. Were moving now to be close to a billion-dollar organization, absolute leader in a space that I think continues to have lots of opportunities. There are three directions in my mind. One is these large enterprise deployments, standardization, the idea of making BI ubiquitous on every desktop. ... Second direction is one we just talked about, which is performance management across an enterprise and moving the strategic value of business intelligence to higher levels. And then the third point is the concept of information networks, which is the idea that information is even more valuable if you can share it with your customers, suppliers and partners. But instead of doing it with what I would call the first generationwhich was the extranets, the BI extranetsthe second generation is this concept of networks, where you combine BI technology with Web services and you offer your customers information services. So you can enable them to embed your information as part of their application through the form of a service.