Democratized BI - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Software // Information Management
11:11 AM
Ted Kemp
Ted Kemp

Democratized BI

The design of Business Objects' latest analytics platform points to the future of how BI will be practiced, no matter what vendor a business uses.

It took a while -- Business Objects said it would -- but the previously separate technologies from Crystal Reports and Business Objects are now one. The design of Business Objects' latest platform points to the future of how BI will be practiced, no matter what vendor a business uses.

BusinessObjects XI -- the Roman numerals stand for both the number 11 and the flashy moniker "extreme insight" -- goes a lot further than the almost patchwork integration the vendor had managed until now between its own query and analysis capabilities and Crystal's popular, service-oriented architecture framework. The release comes more than a year after Business Objects shook up the analytics market by annexing rival Crystal Decisions. True integration, Business Objects says, is here at last.

But as interesting as the integration itself is the way Business Objects expects customers to use XI. The product is designed to be deployed broadly within companies, used by both IT savvy technophiles and easily spooked technophobes alike. Design elements including a built-in "BI Encyclopedia" and easier blending with Microsoft Office apps point to the future of business intelligence. Business Objects recognizes that BI is morphing into an enterprise-wide, operations-level undertaking practiced not only by executives with strategic data dashboards, but also "line-of-business" staff who need access to dynamic business data in order to handle the tasks at hand. BI is becoming diffuse within businesses big and small. The tools that support it have to be diffuse as well.

Business Objects isn't the only vendor that recognizes the emergence of what's sometimes called "operational BI." Software companies that compete on some levels with Business Objects -- Information Builders comes to mind, among others -- have already gone out of their way to identify themselves with the trend. But such clear design focus from Business Objects, one of the biggest players in the business intelligence market, affirms the democratization of BI within the business world. Ease of use by non-IT staff is a central design theme in XI, not a mere afterthought.

Business Objects still faces big challenges related to to XI. Huge swaths of Business Objects customers have yet to migrate to version 6.5, much less even consider XI. The vendor will have to sort out those issues in the coming quarters. But for the long term, at least, the vision behind XI is right in line with the way analytics will be practiced in the future.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Becoming a Self-Taught Cybersecurity Pro
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  6/9/2021
Ancestry's DevOps Strategy to Control Its CI/CD Pipeline
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  6/4/2021
IT Leadership: 10 Ways to Unleash Enterprise Innovation
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/8/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Flash Poll