Business Objects launches predictive analysis tools

Business intelligence software provider Business Objects has unveiled a new analytic framework designed to ease the delivery of...

Business intelligence software provider Business Objects has unveiled a new analytic framework designed to ease the delivery of integrated enterprise analytic applications.

The company has also boosted its supply chain intelligence offering by adding new features to analyse all operations of the supplier network.

Business Objects Application Foundation 3.0 includes two new analytic engines designed to add predictive analysis and statistical process control capabilities to enterprise analytic applications.

These applications give users a better insight into data, helping them anticipate the outcome of targeted business decisions, John Kreisa, senior product marketing manager at Business Objects, said. In addition, users can monitor, control and improve processes over time, specifically those related to enterprise quality management.

Business Objects is among a group of vendors including Cognos, Hyperion and Ascential that have extended their offerings beyond reports to provide analytical applications designed to spread business intelligence data throughout the enterprise to allow a company to measure actions against a business strategy.

These solutions, often called business performance management or corporate performance management technology, usually offer methods to monitor and manage the business performance of an organisation via intelligence analytics.

"Ideally, the analytical applications should make it incredibly easy for users to get what they need because it will automate what users had to do manually in navigating reports," Mitch Kramer, an analyst with the Patricia Seybold Group, said.

However, many of the current analytical offerings from business intelligence vendors are first versions and offer not much more than online analytical processing with a small amount of additional information, Kramer said. "You've got to know what questions to ask, [and] it doesn't provide an easy way to get the information you need."

Applications based on predictive analysis enable users to forecast, model and analyse the complex relationships within large stores of corporate information, according to Business Objects officials. The analysis is presented in a format that gives users a clear and realistic view of their business.

"Our goal is not to add or create another data mining workbench," Business Objects' Kreisa said. "Our goal is to add business analysis for business users. We are focused on helping users discover reasons for business behaviour. This allows a user to anticipate a business behaviour, like what are the key influences for a business behaviour like account closure."

The new framework also includes additional personalisation options and an enhanced workflow to boost deployment of applications that support different views of key performance indicators and need business specific navigation between analytics.

It is expected to be generally available on Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Sun Solaris by the end of July 2002.

Business Objects has added three new analytic application modules to its Supply Chain Intelligence offering to allow companies to improve supplier management, increase manufacturing efficiency, optimise delivery and manage returns, Jill Murray, Business Objects senior product marketing manager, said.

"It's helping you get a high-level view of what you need to analyse [like] overcapacity that you could exploit," she said. "Are you missing demand targets because your overall supply chain takes too long?"

The solution also includes the Source Analytics and Deliver Analytics modules, both available since January. Source Analytics is designed to allow companies to analyse their inbound supply chain to manage supplier relationships, optimise the procurement process and monitor inventory levels and costs. Deliver Analytics helps companies analyse the outbound supply chain to improve streamline operations.

The new supply chain modules are expected to be generally available on Windows NT and Windows 2000 by the end of July 2002.

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