BRIO LOOKS TO TAKE THE HIGH END IN BI TOOLS.
Brio Technology Inc is looking to reinforce its position in the
high end business intelligence tools market with the launch of Brio Enterprise 6.0. However, the Palo Alto, California-based company faces
more competition than ever before in what it describes as a
"vibrant market". Microsoft Corp's release of Sequel
Server 7.0 (SQL 7.0) has changed the game for lower-end tools vendors.
But Chris Grejtak, Brio's executive vice president of marketing
denies that Brio is in the same market space as firms such as
Information Advantage Inc which is one of the so-called $100 a seat
tools vendors. The firm also faces competition from ERP vendors such as
Oracle Corp and SAP AG who are increasingly encroaching on traditional
BI territory. Grejtak says that those companies' software does not
offer the same kind of functionality that dedicated BI tools do.
Meanwhile, traditional rivals Business Objects SA and Cognos Corp are
also offering new software; although Grejtak questions Cognos'
approach with its new PowerPlay tool. Cognos' PowerPlay uses an
n-tier architecture that supports its own multidimensional data source,
or cube rather than using Microsoft's Multidimensional Expressions
(MDX) language - bundled with SQL 7 - for multidimensional data
selections and calculations. Brio says that it knows of no Microsoft
plans to enter the BI software tools market at the moment - Redmond is
too busy establishing SQL 7 as a platform - but admits that the
possibility cannot be ruled out. Grejtak claims that the new features
in version 6 of the BI suite will help to differentiate it from the
competition. The firm has ramped up the user interfaces allowing easier
building of limited data mining applications and more ways to view and
be deployed across client/server architectures and the web. It has
also added network administration-like security features and improved
scalability and fail-over functions - in keeping with the concept of
the software as a server-side managed enterprise app, rather than a
separate reporting tool sitting on single desktops. The Brio Enterprise
6.0 is expected to be launched in the second quarter 1999.