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We’ve heard a lot about e-Business Intelligence. Now lets talk a little about Business Objects. We’re a leader in the e-business intelligence market, in terms of market share, technology and partners, in large part because it’s our sole focus. BusinessObjects is number one -- guarantee of quality and the safe choice
End users need quick, easy access to information. Their job is typically not to analyze information all day — it’s to carry out the marketing, sales, or finance role. As part of that role, they need to make decisions, and have the right information at their figures to enable them to make the right decisions instead of guessing. They need to be able to access information using their everyday business vocabulary, and not have to learn computer languages or anything about the technical way the information is stored. Once they’ve looked at the data and added value to it through analysis, they need to be able to share it with other users in the organization. These user requirement have to be balanced with those of the IS users — nobody is in favor of letting users have complete, uncontrolled access to the data warehouse, which could lead to access to confidential or sensitive data, data warehouse overload (the “queries from hell” that run for hours or days and try to down load gigabytes of information to the users PCs), and incorrect results. IS needs a system that gets them out of the treadmill of writing queries and reports on a day to day basis, but lets them retain overall control over the solution, with minimum maintenance and total cost of ownership.
But standard reports are not enough. If that’s all that end users are provided with, IS will be stuck on the treadmill of keeping up with the constant demands for new views of the information. BusinessObjects gives users full ad hoc access information to their corporate information. The data in your corporate relational database is stored in a complex, technical format. A standard language called “SQL” exists for reading data from the relational database, but it is hard to learn and to use — even database experts can get wrong results without realizing it. In 1990, BusinessObjects revolutionized database access with the invention of new technology that allowed end users to get at their information using a business representation. BusinessObjects was duly awarded a US patent for this. Instead of SQL, BusinessObjects lets you ask your questions in business terms, using a business representation that shields you from the technical complexity of the relational database. This business representation is provided by a “semantic layer” — “semantic” just means “meaning,” so a semantic layer is a layer that gives more meaning to the data — it maps technical concepts to a business representation using your everyday vocabulary and concepts. It maps the tables and columns of the database to “objects” grouped into logical “classes.” A collection of related classes and objects is called a Universe. The objects are the different concepts you use in your work. They are two basic types: relatively simple labels, such as “customer” or “product,” and the key business indicators that you use to measure the performance of your organization. These business indicators, such as “sales revenue,” and “average quantity,” usually require complex calculations to be carried out in the relational database. BusinessObjects is the only tool that completely insulates you from this complexity while still providing you with the ability to ask the questions you need. Giving end-users ad-hoc, self-service access to information in addition to production reports is the only way to resolve the “fact gap” that leads to report backlogs, frustrated end users and expensive day to day support for the IS staff.
Users ask questions using a single, consistent query panel that shows you the information available and, using a simple drag and drop interface, allows you to determine - The information you want to see in the report, - Any conditions or filters on that information, - and what order the information should appear You do not have to flip between a different screen for each part of the query, you do not have to define any data grouping, and you can see the whole query at a glance.
Once you’ve finished querying, you are ready to communicate that information to other people. BusinessObjects’ report writer combines powerful formatting features for production reporting with ease of use for end-user, ad hoc reporting. Reports can be published to the web using standard HTML, and can contain data from different sources. In the report shown, for example, the table and the pie chart could have come from separate databases. BusinessObjects includes a full range of powerful formatting features, including: Full, intuitive control of borders, colors, and formatting. Powerful forward references and break calculations. An easy to use, drag-and-drop “what you see is what you get” WYSIWYG interface. An extensive set of more than 80 powerful local functions from IF-THEN-ELSE to Standard Deviation which can be called from any report cell. BusinessObjects provides a customizable gallery of dynamic report templates which allow you to define a standard look-and-feel for your company reports, which can then be automatically applied to any future reports. No other report writer on the market today provides such a complete, powerful, and yet easy-to-use set of features.
BusinessObjects has the most detailed security of any DSS product available today. Administrators can map access rights to the hierarchy of the organization, using groups and subgroups, with inherited rights. Supervisors determine what information users and groups can access, from the different Universes right down to individual rows of the database. For example, users in the Northern region would only see North data, and Southern region users would only see South data — even if they execute exactly the same predefined report. Managers can even control when users are allowed to access information. Each supervisor sees only his or her group, so while maintaining centralized control, the administration and maintenance of user names and passwords can be distributed throughout the organization — there’s no need to contact somebody in IS just because a new person joined the accounting department. The department manager can simply add the extra user to the existing profile herself. Supervisor also provides password management. Users can be forced to change their passwords every few months, and a user’s login can be automatically disactivated after a number of failed attempts. User names and passwords can be imported and exported to and from any flat file, so you can leverage an existing directory.
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