Business Objects Gets a Leg Up in SaaS

Business Objects has jumped into the software-as-a-service (SaaS)  market with its acquisition of privately-held Nsite Software. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The acquisition gives Business Objects  27,000 new customers, not to mention it accelerates the company’s efforts to deliver on-demand applications.

The Nsite Application Builder platform enables customers to build Ajax-based applications. Developers can build their own applications or use Nsite’s Quote, Proposal and Channel Management services.

The platform is integrated with’s customer relationship management (CRM) solutions and comes with a wizard to build integration between Nsite and  applications, or with other Web services and applications.

Business Objects said it will use the platform to build and offer customizable on-demand business intelligence applications that integrate multiple data sources, such as information from ERP, CRM, and other information systems.

And, thanks to the Nsite platform, Business Objects said it expects to introduce new on-demand business intelligence solutions in 2007.

Joshua Greenbaum, principal analyst with Enterprise Applications Consulting, thinks this is a good move for Business Objects, and a sign of things to come.

“Analytics as a service will be a significant trend. This could be a very good acquisition for [Business Objects]. They could jump on an important trend in the market. It’s one of the directions the analytics marketplace has to do to reduce the underlying complexity that customers are facing,” he said.

One of the issues with analytics is the market has had a tools approach to what is a solutions problem. Greenbaum said the market needs complex analytics software but has been given the tools to build the applications on their own, not the finished solutions.

“While that has been a thriving market, it hasn’t given customers fully built applications. SaaS is perfect for meeting this requirement. Complex business analytics have a lot of integration that goes on in the back end and a lot of complexity that is expensive to build and maintain,” said Greenbaum.

Business Objects sees a huge opportunity delivering this capability as a service that runs out of the box without extensive development work.

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