Business Objects tries to start quick

Following the creation of a midmarket version of its Crystal Decisions business intelligence application, Business Objects has created what it says is another way for channel partners to sell to mid-size companies.

The Charleston, S.C.-based firm has created a software development kit (SDK) for VARs to create add-ons called QuickStart Packs aimed at verticals to either use on Crystal Decisions Standard Edition by itself or linked other applications.

Packs will include report and dashboard templates, as well as pre-built data connectors to help speed and simplify the deployment of business intelligence.

According to Todd Rowe, vice-president and general manager of Business Objects’ midmarket business, the idea of the Packs is to give mid-size organizations the ability quickly use a business intelligence solution tailored to their business needs.

QuickStart Packs “represent a fundamental shift in the way in which we sell,” he said in an interview. “We’re moving from a product-oriented sale to more of a solutions-oriented sale.”

“These will be industry-specific solutions. They’ll either be vertical solutions or horizontal, cutting across different industries. The important thing is that they will be partner-developed solutions. We at Business Objects are business intelligence experts, but we are not, for example, property and casualty insurance or discrete manufacturing experts, but our partners are.

“Therefore the thought was we would create an SDK; they could develop industry applications on top of it. The partners would own the intellectual property . . . the partners determine what the price point should be, what markets to sell to.”

Business Objects has some 200 resellers, integrators, consultants and ISVs in Canada.

Jim Payton, president of Dynamic Intelligence of Kitchener, Ont., a Business Objects consulting firm, thinks a lot of the idea.

“We’re bouncing the idea around to see what we can come up with,” he said Friday. The four-person firm, which has annual revenues of less than $1 million, has some expertise around Microsoft’s Dynamics GP enterprise resource planning application and thinks a QuickStart Pack aimed at that product could be attractive to customers.

“I think the Microsoft products have a hole that isn’t serviced right now in terms of the dashboarding capabilities,” he said.

He’s also thinking of creating a solution for firms that buy receivables, an idea based on work his firm is doing for a customer in Texas.

That’s the sort of thinking Rowe said he wants to see from his partners. QuickStart Packs should leverage the local expertise of VARs.

Three Packs have already been launched by U.S.-based companies: One for the insurance industry, and two that link Crystal Decisions to J.D. Edwards’ enterprise resource management suite.

The goal is to create a catalogue with many Packs, said Rowe. He hopes to have at least two dozen on the market 12 months from now.

“What this gives the partner is an incremental revenue stream beyond simply selling our products,” he said. “Second, they (the Packs) become the solution wrapper around the technology and therefore become an even more integral part of the sales process.”

It’s also a way Business Objects hopes to increase is channel sales, which now account for 70 per cent of its US$1.2 billion in revenue.

“With QuickStart BI Packs and other initiatives we expect this to be 80 per cent worldwide within two years time,” said Rowe.

Crystal Decisions Standard Edition, launched last month, is a simplified version of the enterprise Business Objects XI edition for mid-sized companies buying their first business intelligence application.

Running on Windows, Linux and using any OBCD-compliant database, it costs US$20,000 including licences for five concurrent users. Versions with 10 and 20 licences cost more.

Comment: [email protected]

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

Related Tech News

CDN in your inbox

CDN delivers a critical analysis of the competitive landscape detailing both the challenges and opportunities facing solution providers. CDN's email newsletter details the most important news and commentary from the channel.