Business Objects offers BI for the mid-range

Taking business intelligence into a new area, Business Objects hopes to make it appeal to SMEs

Hoping to find a market among mid-range companies for sophisticated business intelligence tools (BI), Business Objects has launched specially priced applications for SMEs.

Announced on Monday, there are three options with a variety of different features. These range from a standard edition, available now and with basic facilities, through to a professional edition with data-integration facilities, which should be available in the second quarter of this year.

The premium edition will be available in the fourth quarter, the company says, and includes scorecards, along with goals and metrics. Prices for the software start at $20,000 (£10,200) for a full suite of the standard edition for five users. No UK-specific pricing is available yet and, according to the company, pricing for the more expensive packages has not been set so far.

But at $4,000 per user, the software will have limited appeal for the smallest businesses. "This is sophisticated software and it is clearly not for the smaller SME," Business Objects' director of mid-markets for Northern Europe, John Wilkinson, told ZDNet UK. "But it opens up new areas for us. This will appeal to many companies who would have thought that BI software was outside their reach."

Not that Business Objects believes that BI is an entirely new concept for SMEs. The company says that over the past few years it has seen "a significant increase in the use of BI software by small and mid-size companies", although it did not release any figures to back up the assertion.

"We expect to see mid-market companies increasing their adoption of BI," said Robert Anderson, research vice president for small and mid-size businesses at analyst Gartner, "as vendors offer more targeted products that are tailored for organisations with fewer IT resources and smaller budgets".

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