Crystal challenges data analysis

Crystal challenges data analysis

Crystal Decisions launched its new analytical reporting tool for Microsoft's SQL server last week with brave plans to steal market share from existing data analysis vendors.

At less than $A1000, the new Analysis Professional product is pitched to unlock the small and medium business sector.

Rhody Burton, Crystal Decisions channel manager, says this sector has much to gain from effective data mining tools but have been blocked by the inflated prices of competitive products.

"This [Analysis Professional] is really expanding the channel opportunities out there," says Burton.

All the factors exist for this to be added straight on to a reseller's tool-kit. MS has bought the solution to the masses by building the OLAP into its SQL servers and customers are actively searching for an analysis and reporting tool to increase their competitive advantage that doesn't cost the world. All that's missing is the tool itself and we've provided that, she adds.

Developed in close conjunction with Microsoft, the Crystal Decisions product utilises the built-in OnLine Analytical Processing (OLAP) product of MS' SQL server, a popular database amongst small, medium and increasingly the large organisations.

Crystal will accompany the product launch with a series of education seminars to increase dealer's awareness and understanding of MS SQL's capabilities to "slice and dice information in complex ways."

Meanwhile, the current data analysis dominants are reserving judgment on the application while quietly posing questions around functionality.

"Having not seen the product, the price point beggars the question "How much functionality can it offer at that cost?" says Kathryn Hartman, marketing manager for Business Objects Australia and NZ.

The product is also tied to the MS SQL server, at least in the initial release, which locks it out of the seriously large databases, such as Sybase, Oracle and Informix (recently bought by IBM), adds Hartman.

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