Business Objects Unveils Two BI Offerings for J.D. Edwards
March 6, 2007 Alex Woodie
Business Objects last week announced a pair of business intelligence packages assembled specifically for J.D. Edwards customers, including the QuickStart for J.D. Edwards, which it developed with Andrews Consulting Group, and BI Quick Launch for J.D. Edwards, which was developed with Preferred Strategies. Both solutions are designed to get World and EnterpriseOne quickly up and running with business intelligence solutions, and both make extensive use of BO’s Crystal Reports software.
Last week was an active one for J.D. Edwards business intelligence solutions. The big news was the announcement by Oracle that it plans to buy Hyperion. It seems likely that Oracle will target its J.D. Edwards customers as prospects for Essbase, Hyperion’s flagship multidimensional database. Essbase has a successful history in the iSeries community through the OEM agreement Hyperion had with SPSS to port Essbase to OS/400. However, it’s unclear what impact the acquisition will have on the OEM agreement.
As if on queue, Business Objects unveiled a pair of business intelligence solutions promising short-term benefit to J.D. Edwards shops. The $1.3 billion company will sell the J.D. Edwards offerings–as well as a pre-packaged business intelligence solution aimed at the healthcare industry–as part of its QuickStart Pack partner initiative, which it unveiled last week at its Americas Partner Summit in Charleston, South Carolina.
QuickStart for J.D. Edwards
Andrews Consulting Group has been selling IT advice and services to the IBM midrange customer base since it was founded in 1984. Today, the Connecticut firm focuses primarily on J.D. Edwards implementations and solutions, with a particular emphasis on developing Web and business intelligence solutions.
The company used its knowledge of the J.D. Edwards products to develop RapidDecision, a business intelligence solution and a framework for extracting data from J.D. Edwards databases and preparing it for a variety of business intelligence components, including data warehouses, multidimensional cubes, data marts, dashboards, and reporting tools. The product was first unveiled in 1996, and has also been used with MAPICS, BPCS, and PeopleSoft Enterprise ERP systems.
RapidDecision includes connectors for drawing data out of J.D. Edwards applications and loading it into a data warehouse, which can run on Windows- or Unix-based servers using DB2, Oracle, or SQL Server relational database management software. The offering also includes 15 prepackaged data marts that work with major ERP modules, such as the general ledger or accounts payable. Users then build reports that run against the data marts, using software such as Business Objects’ popular Crystal Reports software.
Andrews says RapidDecision was created to work with the core offerings of all major business intelligence vendors. But really the vendor relies heavily on the offerings of Business Objects. And now, Business Objects is selling the software, too.
The main draw of RapidDecision is ease-of-use. Indeed, the company claims the software can be implemented in as little as five days. “Those who rejected BI in the past as too expensive or complex should look again now,” says Joseph Guerra, Andrews’ business intelligence expert and the architect of RapidDecision.
BI Quick Launch for J.D. Edwards
As luck would have it, the only other application-specific QuickStart Pack unveiled by Business Objects last week was BI Quick Launch for J.D. Edwards from Preferred Strategies, a California company that focuses entirely on applying Business Objects’ Crystal Reports to J.D. Edwards environments.
BI Quick Launch for J.D. Edwards includes report templates, report samples, and documentation for mapping J.D. Edwards database tables into the Crystal Reports and convert the “cryptic field aliases to more intuitive descriptive field names,” the company says.
When the software is up and running, which the company claims can be accomplished in a day, users gain a new view on their J.D. Edwards data. The company offers pre-built connectors for doing ad-hoc analysis against specific J.D. Edwards modules, including accounts payable, sales, and inventory.
Adam Crigger, founder and president of Preferred Strategies, says the fiveyear relationship with Business Objects has yielded many satisfied customers. “With Business Objects Crystal Decisions, Business Objects created a solid foundation for us to build on top of to provide a total solution tailored to the specific needs of mid-market JD Edwards users,” he says. “We are excited that Business Objects will also resell the solution as part of their mid-market portfolio.”
One happy customer is Edward Kraemer & Sons, a Plain, Wisconsin, general contractor and construction aggregates supplier. “End users realized instantaneous benefits with real-time drill down analysis,” says Mike Huffar, the company’s IT director. “Report development time was reduced five-fold due to Preferred Strategies report templates. Reports are published to a production environment in seconds rather than the weekly J.D. Edwards deployment process. And reports now process five times faster than with J.D. Edwards Report Writer.”
Oracle Buys Hyperion Solutions for $3.3 Billion