Business Objects Announces Data Quality Suite, New Services

Business Objects reveals a new suite of data quality tools and global services amid some concerns that it may be cutting into its partner channel.

On the heels of second quarter announcement that saw software revenues diluted—to some degree from its recent acquisition of Firstlogic—Business Objects announced July 31 two new offerings that tap, to some degree, Firstlogics technology.

Business Objects, which develops software that helps companies extract business intelligence from data, announced a new suite of tools, its namesake Data Quality XI, that builds on Firstlogics software to help users ensure, well, data quality.

At the same time, the company announced new service offerings that will bring its global services division more in line with enterprise needs, according to Robb Eklund, vice president of services and industry markets at Business Objects.

"Historically we have had very robust education offerings and installation services," said Eklund, in San Jose, Calif. "We are announcing an expansion beyond that to higher level service offerings that relates directly to EIM [enterprise information management] and data quality."

EIM—or data quality and integration—is a new division within Business Objects that came about as a result of the Firstlogic acquisition.

In addition to education and product services, Business Objects is expanding its practice around three additional areas: platform services for companies that want an enterprise-wide strategy that goes beyond ad-hoc BI; data services that include a set of services designed to support EIM; and decision services for customers looking to implement higher level and industry-specific BI software.

The beefing up of Business Objects support services doesnt come as any surprise—but its not welcome news for everyone, particularly some of the companys approximately 6,000-strong partner channel.

In an earnings call on July 26, CEO John Schwarz addressed apparently rising concerns.

"Some have expressed concern as we grow our services channel. Let me put that in perspective: our channel remains strong and important," said Schwarz during the after-market call with analysts and press.

"Ive also been making direct calls to personally better understand the opportunities with partners, and where we find issues we take action immediately."

The service offerings are designed to be complementary to partner offerings, moving in places where partners typically are not focused, according to Eklund.

/zimages/3/28571.gifBusiness Objects struggles in Q2. Click here to read more.

Asked whether the announcement means more feet on the street for Business Objects global services division, Eklund said "absolutely … but rationally. Its not just a matter of hiring consultants. More importantly, its how were organizing our professional services team around these offerings."

One of those areas is, of course, EIM. To that extent the new Data Quality XI suite brings new features that make it easier for companies to standardize on data, including a centralized business rule repository that lets users create business rules that can be consistently applied across their business.

Based on am SOA (service-oriented architecture), the suite also helps users to better integrate with outside systems by adding standard integrations to SAP, Siebel, Oracle, PeopleSoft and Informatica.

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