New BI Offerings Stress Integration, Ease of Use

MicroStrategy, Business Objects and Genalytics roll out products to help companies make the most of their data.

Products for helping enterprises glean more information from their data are expanding this week as MicroStrategy Inc., Business Objects SA and Genalytics Inc. all introduce new offerings in the business intelligence space.

MicroStrategy on Monday announced its MicroStrategy Office product, which uses Web services to add live data from the MicroStrategy Intelligence Server to Excel spreadsheets, Word documents and PowerPoint presentations, according to company officials in Vienna, Va.

Though MicroStrategy has supported embedding data into Office applications in the past, the companys new product offers a more "pervasive" connection between the Intelligence Server and Office apps, according to Sanju Bansal, MicroStrategys chief operating officer.

Data can be set up to feed into Office apps automatically, to a predefined place, with the same formatting and with the ability to store prompt values, so that the system in effect remembers which data the user wants to refresh, Bansal said.

As part of its SAS 9 release last week, SAS Institute Inc. of Cary, N.C., introduced its own technology, Add-In for MS Office, for embedding SAS analytics into Microsoft Office applications.

Business Objects of San Jose, Calif., has added more than 300 customers for its Data Integrator data extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) tool since acquiring the technology from Acta Technology Inc. in 2002—more customers than Acta had, company officials said.

On Tuesday, Business Objects plans to announce version 6.5 of Data Integrator with new capabilities for embedded data quality; grid computing support; interactive debugging; and support for impact analysis in the ETL design environment.

Genalytics, a six-year-old startup based in Newburyport, Mass., on Tuesday will announce Genalytics 5.0, which uses genetic algorithms rather than regression-based techniques to build predictive models used in marketing, financial risk management and collections.

New features in the release include an enhanced data-extraction engine, designed to be easy enough for analysts to use without IT intervention; improved genetic algorithms that generate faster results; and a new interface to support use of Genalytics technology in an application service provider model.

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