Business Objects: Objets D'ArtBy Joshua Weinberger | Posted 2003-03-01 Email Print
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Dossier: If pure-play business intelligence vendors become an endangered species in the coming months, Business Objects may be both a reason why and a compelling exception to the rule.
Customers, though, only care that the company continues to improve its reporting and analytic tools, especially the speed with which they operate.
At Thrifty Car Rental, where Sales and Marketing Business Analyst Kristi Benton says her company's BusinessObjects deployment is "the best reporting tool they've ever provided me with," the data warehouse is constantly updated. That makes Benton's job possible in the present tense. "Now I don't have a waiting period," she says. Before, "if processors were running in the data warehouse, and we tried to hit it, we were slowing down the data loads. Now most of the stuff I go for comes back in 30 seconds."
Immediacy always matters. At plastic-bottle-maker Consolidated Container, real-time reporting was more important than real-time analysis. "We had very basic questions," says Director of Information Technology Andrew Ziegele. "We wanted more live data and we didn't have the high-end analytics. The vast majority of all reports are liveas plants ship or receive or produce inventory, everyone can see that in real-time." Though much of the staff had been familiar with Cognos, Ziegele says, "between pricing and licensing, functions and features, we went with Business Objects." For facilities company W.W. Grainger, where Business Objects is integrated with SAP, customer service played a big role. "Business Objects really understood the mission that we had," says Vice President for Knowledge Management Services Sam Kim. "Not just from the software side."
Still, the software's simplicity and ease-of-use are key. Canadian Pacific Railroad only needed consultants for "a handful of days," says Michael Clarke, manager of corporate data management. "We didn't want to have a crew of consultants," Ziegele says. "We had other data conversion issuesBusiness Objects was the least of our concerns."