IBM has partnered with French business intelligence firm Business Objects SA to offer business intelligence products and services.
Under the deal announced last week, Business Objects (BO) and IBM will work together in a reseller partnership covering the Asia-Pacific region.
According to Mark Tice, BO's vice president for global alliances, there is "something for everybody" in the arrangement, because the booming online markets have made information handling so strategic.
Building systems to extract data from DB2-family databases and make it available to ad hoc queries from both inside and outside an organisation is Business Objects' core offering. Its WebIntelligence product formats the results for browser access, and the whole system is wireless application protocol WAP-compatible.
Business Objects has set up relationships with leading vendors in enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), datawarehousing, strategic system integration and e-business solutions. Tice said IBM is the most important of these, since it is active as both a hardware and database vendor, and system integrator.
An agreement similar to the one just signed here has been in place in Europe since 1997. Individual collaborations, however, have already taken place here, notably with Telstra, although no Telstra comment was available at press time.
"You could look at this as just another reseller agreement," said Tice, "but for us it's a lot more than that." The benefits to Business Objects include what is, in effect, an expansion of their sales force - the approximately 50 IBM sales reps in Australia and New Zealand.
Tice added that IBM has good contacts who are highly placed in customers' organisations, with purchasing vehicles already in place. Big Blue brings BO new customers and contributes to joint marketing efforts.
IBM benefits through using Business Objects' hardware, consulting services, connectivity software, and development tools. Users, Tice noted, "are sick and tired of having a different interface for every database they use".
"That's really where the IBM reps and their customers are seeing the value of Business Objects, in providing a single, scalable affordable solution that works across everything in the enterprise.
We're just 10 per cent of the solution, but we're 100 per cent of what the customer sees," he said.