BI News – Business Objects

Where you wondering why Business Objects acquired EII vendor, Medience and data quality vendor, FirstLogic? Business Objects’ Reveals its EIM Strategy 


mid much hoopla, Business Objects announced new products, services, and partnerships for enterprise information management (EIM). According to BOBJ, EIM provides customers with a strategy to ensure that their information is accurate and current. 


In a strategy shift, Business Objects turns its focus to back end integration and infrastructure, a proven loosing strategy for fellow niche player, Informatica. A source at the company said “we’re investing heavily in the information that underpins BI [and] becoming more of an information management vendor rather than one purely focused on the BI side”. This move puts Business Objects squarely in competition with Oracle, IBM and of course, Informatica, which tried and failed at a bifurcated front end/back end strategy. 


“Reports and dashboards are only as good as the data that populates them,” said Philip Russom, senior manager of research at The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI). “Complete, clean, and auditable data for reporting and analysis requires software tools for data integration, data quality, and data lineage — not to mention reporting and analysis tools — all tied together through a common metadata layer. You can buy these tools from multiple vendors, then work through a risky and time-consuming system integration project. Or you can get them all from Business Objects, pre-integrated according to a sound EIM strategy.” Or you can get the complete stack, including the database and data hubs from Oracle, a leader in EIM. 


Key Elements of the Strategy  

Business Objects offers data integration, metadata management, and data quality products, plus a suite of “EIMâ€� professional services. 


Virtual and Physical Data Integration  

BOBJ announced the general availability of a new product for enterprise information integration (EII), BusinessObjects Data Federator XI. This new product provides customers with a virtual, real-time view of their disparate data sources. This is the rebranded Medience product.   


Metadata Visibility  

Business Objects introduces BusinessObjects Metadata Manager XI, a new product that collects and unifies BI, ETL, relational databases, and third-party metadata. Metadata Manager gives administrators complete visibility into all metadata so they can view, analyze, and explore metadata relationships and business rules. The new product also allows IT managers to better understand the impact of source data changes across the entire BI environment. Metadata Manager provides enhanced data lineage capabilities that help organizations deliver trusted information for compliance reporting and internal controls. 


Data Quality  

On April 1st Business Objects completed its acquisition of Firstlogic, Inc. Business Objects will continue to deliver data quality products for name parsing, address enhancement, and consolidation as part of the data integration platform. Additionally, Business Objects now provides standalone data quality and data assessment solutions to profile, cleanse, and monitor data. 

  New Global Services Deliver EIM Solutions 

 Business Objects also announced a family of strategic EIM service offerings ranging from data quality and integration through enterprise data warehousing. These offerings are designed to help customers evaluate their current information management challenges, develop a customized EIM strategy, and create best practices to ensure customer success. For example, the EIM Vision Workshop provides a comprehensive overview and critique of customers’ EIM environment and delivers a roadmap that addresses their unique business goals. Global services can also help customers with a Data Quality Assessment offering, which determines the state of customer data and their requirements for EIM. 

  All the new products are available immediately. Pricing for Data Federator starts at $30,000 per CPU, while pricing for Metadata Manager ranges from $45,000 to $120,000 per BI deployment. 

Only 10% of BOBJ Customers have Moved to XI; Why Stay?? 



hief executive John Schwarz estimated that “substantially less than 10 percent” of the vendor’s 37,000 customers have already moved to the new toolset. 


Vice-president of product marketing Donald McCormick, speaking to the press at Business Objects user conference in Cannes, admitted that basing the suite on Crystal Decisions’ architecture had made it tricky for some Business Objects customers to upgrade. 


John Schwarz said this complexity helped to explain why some firms have been slow to upgrade. He said 15 percent of Crystal customers had made the move in the past 15 months, and a small percentage of Business Objects’ customers had made the transition. 


However, the company said the launch of BusinessObjects XI Release 2 last November had made technical migration simpler for Business Objects customers. The vendor added that it had invested heavily in services teams to help customers migrate quickly and easily. 


Schwarz insisted this message is now reaching customers, and in a recent survey of 1,000 customers, 70 percent said they wanted to move to BusinessObjects XI in the next 18 to 24 months.