Business Objects Summit: Marge Breya on product portfolio

Marge Breya, EVP and BPM of the Business Intelligence Platform group, gave us a whirlwind briefing on the product portfolio, which is made up of Business Objects assets, some SAP assets, and new products being built jointly:

  • Governance, Risk, Compliance (GRC), where they hold the overall #1 position worldwide with a 21% market share
  • Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), made up of financial performance management (#2 with a 20% share) and operational performance management (#1 with a 23% share), the latter of which includes both standalone and embedded components
  • Information Discovery and Delivery, made up of query, reporting and analysis (#1 with a 24% share) and advanced analytics (just introduced)
  • Enterprise Information Management (#4)

Not surprisingly, they are pursuing a complete integrated stack with other SAP products, but they also integrate with products from Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and independent application and database vendors.

She then introduced John Mayer, director of consulting and testing services at Apotex Group (a pharmaceutical firm), to discuss their use of the products: they’re a big SAP user, and are also using Business Objects in several areas. They’ve been giving the end users tools that they can use to have a view into the corporate data for ad hoc queries, and having seen the value of that, it’s spreading across the organization and helping to drive their data warehouse initiative. IT keeps overall design control over the universes and databases — you don’t really want users doing this since they may not understand the implications of, say, searching on a multi-million record table using an unindexed field — but the users create their own queries and reports.

Breya continued with the message of making this easier for the not-so-technically-minded to create their own queries, reports and dashboards. Their intelligence platform puts a semantic layer over the messy technical stuff (metadata management, master data management, etc.), and creates a common services infrastructure for finding and using those information components as services from the analysis and reporting layer.

They have a large suite of information consumption tools in that query, analysis and reporting layer:

  • Crystal Reports (production reports with drillable visualization)
  • BI Widgets
  • BI Mobile
  • Polestar
  • Web Intelligence (ad hoc reporting and analysis)
  • Text Analytics
  • Voyager (OLAP advanced analysis)
  • Predictive Workbench (advanced statistical analysis)

Today, they’re announcing a new product in that suite: Xcelsius Present, a data visualization tool. From today’s press release:

Xcelsius PresentXcelsius Present is a data-visualization tool that transforms ordinary, static Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheets into captivating visuals and allows business users to share them via Microsoft PowerPoint or Adobe™ PDF files. Through interactive data visualizations and a simple, point-and-click interface, Xcelsius Present enables business users to create professional-looking visuals in just minutes, resulting in engaging experiences for presenters and audiences alike. Using interactive graphics – including dials, charts and gauges that clearly convey business cases and demonstrate “what if” scenarios – business professionals can involve, inform and persuade their audiences in meaningful ways with stunning visualizations.

This is a sub-$200 product, aimed at a broad range of business users who want to add some nice visualizations to their spreadsheet data, but there’s probably also a consumer market for this as well; in fact, one of their online demos is a college cost calculator.

They’re also announcing Crystal Reports Basic for SAP Business One, allowing for easily customizable drillable reporting on SAP Business One data that can be shared with others.

She quickly coverred their data services portfolio, which provides all the usual data management functions but also data federation and management of unstructured data such as RSS feeds.

They provide on-premise solutions, but also have more than 125,000 subscribers for their SaaS BI offerings.

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