BI Vendors Stress Need for Integration

New BI software releases from Business Objects and MicroStrategy address the need for integration in the enterprise.

Integration, whether of applications, data sources or even development environments, remains a pressing need for enterprises, and new business intelligence software releases seek to address that need.

Business Objects S.A., in San Jose, Calif., announced two new products in its XI family last week—Crystal Reports XI and Crystal Reports Server XI—while MicroStrategy Inc. announced Version 8 of its namesake BI suite last week and Theoris Inc. will announce Version 3.2 of its Vision Connect dashboard product this week.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about Business Objects XI.

All the products are designed and positioned to make it easier to access, manage and manipulate data regardless of what application generated it or what format its in.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was in the beta program for the Crystal Reports XI release. Steve White, Web and network manager at the department, said better integration with Microsoft Corp.s .Net application framework—the departments development environment—was a big selling point in this release.

"Getting the analytical piece into the .Net environment gives us the opportunity to integrate Crystal into the normal look and feel of the rest of our departments applications," said White, in Jefferson City.

MicroStrategys MicroStrategy 8 release, meanwhile, provides an integrated suite of reporting, analysis and performance monitoring applications with a shared Web interface and metadata layer. The product can query data directly from operational systems, said company officials in Reston, Va.

MicroStrategy 8 has native support for data mining functions such as neural networks, clustering, multivariate regression and tree algorithms. It can import data mining models from vendors such as IBM, NCR Corp.s Teradata division, SAS Institute Inc. and SPSS Inc. and convert them into MicroStrategy metrics using PMML (Predictive Model Markup Language), officials said.

Theoris Vision Connect 3.2 allows users to get to any data in ODBC-compliant databases, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets or HTML reports and import that data directly into its dashboards. The product is designed to provide a unified interface for companies with mixed BI or operational business application environments, said company officials in Indianapolis.

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