New WYSIWYG report writing capabilities, the graphical user interface-based BusinessAnalyzer tool and enlarged database support are the highlights of the new Version 3.0 of Business Objects SA’s product of the same name, which it plans to introduce first in France and later in the month in the US. With BusinessObjects 3.0, WYISWYG report writer modifications can be performed right on the data, making results immediately visible. New features have also been added, including support for Microsoft OLE 1.0, images, colour, patterns, full text wrapping and cell height manipulation and justification. Two new layout features – fold, unfold and multiple panes – have also been added to alternatively see summary and detail level data and to divide the report window into two or three panes. Version 3.0 also provides a new software engineering Access feature, enabling the manager to define the end user’s data representation automatically by taking existing data knowledge found in data dictionaries, software engineering tools and application generators. Initially, it will support Oracle CASE, Bachman and KnowledgeWare. For the future, the company is talking to Texas Instruments Inc about supporting Information Engineering Workbench, says president Bernard Liautaud, adding that in any case, it can be rewritten for another software engineering product in a week. The new version also provides support for Microsoft Corp’s Open Database Connectivity protocol. The company says Open Database Connectivity support won’t replace support for native interfaces. There are two reasons for Open Database Connectivity support: you have to have it even if the user won’t use it, because everyone has it and you need it for access to data you can’t get to otherwise. There are still lots of copies of dBase out there on personal computers, says Liautaud. According to the company, BusinessAnalyzer uses client-server techniques to provide BusinessObjects users with matrix and cross-tab reporting functionality within the WYSIWYG report writer. The difference compared with other tools that create matrices is that BusinessAnalyzer goes to the server for the data, not to a locally created database on a personal computer, says Liautaud.
Sells mostly direct
Version 3.0 should be available before the end of the year in France. Details on its release in the US were not yet available. The company still sells mostly the Windows version of its product, but, says Liautaud, lots of our clients want to do their reports in Windows, but store them and retrieve the data from Unix terminals. Although Business Objects sells mostly direct, it plans to enlarge its indirect sales channels with database value added resellers who develop applications and whose clients want access to data with the package, he said. The company plans to launch its activity in Asia in the first quarter of 1994, largely in Japan and Australia. Business Objects, which has six offices in the US, one in Germany and one in the UK, reported 1992 revenues of $5m and anticipates to more than double that, to $11m this year. At the end of August, the company had registered revenues of $8.23m.