Business Objects' Stealthy XI 3.0 Announcement - InformationWeek

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2/13/2008
06:29 PM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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Business Objects' Stealthy XI 3.0 Announcement

What's now called "Business Objects, an SAP company" yesterday announced a major new BusinessObjects XI 3.0 platform, but I, for one, had zero advanced notice. Judging by the dearth of coverage until today, other journalists were in much the same position. And this is an announcement that deserves a bit of time to digest! Here's what's in store...

What's now called "Business Objects, an SAP company" yesterday announced a major new BusinessObjects XI 3.0 platform, but I, for one, had zero advanced notice. Judging by the dearth of coverage until today, other journalists were in much the same position. And this is an announcement that clearly deserves a bit of time to digest!

What's in store in BusinessObjects XI 3.0? Only the integration of text mining and information management capabilities, the incorporation of third-party Web-based data sources and the addition of a search-based interface for exploring structured information. These developments represent the fruition of long-planned strategic directions for Business Objects and, indeed, the wider BI community.On the text-mining front, the 3.0 platform integrates technologies and capabilities acquired in last year's Inxight acquisition. SAS has been doing text mining for a while and Cognos has partnered with specialists like Clarabridge, but what Business Objects is presenting here is text-mining blended into the same platform alongside more conventional analyses. The goal is to power mainstream uses such as call center applications, where mining can be used on CRM comment fields and customer e-mails to alert reps to angry gold and platinum customers.

In the area of information management, the press release says "BusinessObjects XI 3.0 gives businesspeople the confidence to know their data is clean, and the ability to link it back to its source." Translated, that means information integration, data quality and data lineage capabilities. That's all stuff that was previously in the Business Objects portfolio, but XI 3.0 puts it all on the same platform.

Also previously available were Web-delivered, third-party data sources from the likes of Thomson Financial and Dun & Bradstreet, but XI 3.0 is said to seamlessly integrate these sources with data that's inside your enterprise. In the lending market, for instance, blending in the latest market data with a report inside the fire wall might set off appropriate alarms about changing market conditions.

"Polestar" is a new tool in XI 3.0 that brings search-style querying to unstructured data. Business Objects and other vendors have been working on this combination for some time, but here it is as a delivered product.

I'll leave other details about XI 3.0 to a follow-up rather than a quick-and-dirty blog. The bottom line is that Business Objects has clearly been working on 3.0 for some time (since well before the SAP acquisition). Looking forward, let's hope the press briefings (and future SAP-Business Objects technology integrations) are handled in as methodical a way. This is the second major post-acquisition announcement that came with no advanced notice, so from my perspective, the handoff from Business Object's public relations team to SAP's team seems to have been rushed.What's now called "Business Objects, an SAP company" yesterday announced a major new BusinessObjects XI 3.0 platform, but I, for one, had zero advanced notice. Judging by the dearth of coverage until today, other journalists were in much the same position. And this is an announcement that deserves a bit of time to digest! Here's what's in store...

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