Business Objects ushers in new era of business intelligence with launch of BusinessObjects Intelligent Question

Innovative Question-Based Environment Delivers Breakthrough Ease-of-Use to Significantly Broaden Business Intelligence Adoption

SAN JOSE, Calif. and PARIS, France, October 3, 2005 -- Business Objects (Nasdaq: BOBJ; Euronext Paris ISIN code: FR0004026250 - BOB) pioneered the business intelligence (BI) industry with the invention of the semantic layer, which shields BI users from the complexity of databases. With today's launch of BusinessObjects™ Intelligent Question™, Business Objects is once again ushering in a new era of BI by delivering a breakthrough innovation that allows anyone to intuitively ask business questions and receive correct answers, without the need to build a query or know the underlying systems or data. Intelligent Question is the industry's first structured questioning environment and is designed to work they way people think. To view an online demo of BusinessObjects Intelligent Question, please visit

Business intelligence solutions are now considered mission-critical to the success of most organizations. However, research shows that in many organizations today, the majority of business users still rely on gut feel to make critical business decisions. Ease of use continues to be the number one barrier to wide scale adoption of BI. Many of these people simply do not have the time or training to search through data for their answers.

With Intelligent Question, Business Objects is the first vendor to solve this problem by delivering breakthrough ease of use. Just like the introduction of the easy-to-use Apple iPod has led to an explosion in demand for MP3 players, Intelligent Question has the potential to introduce millions of people to the benefits of business intelligence.

"The majority of people consuming reports are not technical enough to create an ad hoc query," said Philip Russom, senior manager of research and services at The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI). "This is a problem when end-users need to discover information quickly and standard reports do not contain the answer. These people need an information discovery mechanism that's as fast, easy, and intuitive as a search engine, while applying structure to the answer the way parameterized reports do. BusinessObjects Intelligent Question addresses this problem by enabling people to ask an English-language question. Under the hood, Intelligent Question converts the question to an ad hoc or parameterized query, then returns information in an easy-to-digest format. With this kind of technology, BI users can find information in their reporting systems based on their immediate needs, in a quick, self-service fashion."

Providing the Easiest Way to Ask and Answer Structured Business Questions When critical business questions arise, people want fast, precise answers. Unfortunately, people often do not know how to best structure their questions to ensure they receive the right information. Intelligent Question's structured questioning environment allows people to select from a series of options to create anything from simple to very complex business questions. For example, an executive at a retail organization could ask: What are my top 15 customers, based on average weekly spend for my stores over the past 12 months? Or, a supplier for a computer hardware company could easily craft a question via an extranet to ask: Which of my parts have experienced a 10 percent increase in demand this month over last month?

With Intelligent Question, as people select from the preset options, the remaining choices are automatically filtered to guarantee that the user can only create an "intelligent question." A correct, relevant, and trusted answer is provided every time, with just one click.

"Intelligent Question gives our users the ability to ask the right question every time and I believe it will expand the use of business intelligence within our organization because it's so easy and intuitive to use," said Erik Brokaw, senior systems analyst at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. "As the leading health insurer in our community, we have a responsibility to our customers to get critical information to them as quickly as possible. By providing a guided question interface to our employees, answers are obtained in a more timely manner, and ultimately the people we serve see the difference through our improved performance. Intelligent Question offers a powerful BI tool that adapts to our users, instead of forcing our users to adapt to the tool."

Delivering a Tailored Experience for Personalized Insight

BusinessObjects Intelligent Question lets users easily tailor their questions to meet personalized requirements - without impacting IT resources. For example, a product manager can define "My Products" to only include only those products he is responsible for. Users can easily store their favorite questions for easy access in the future, and new questions can also be built based on existing questions.

"BusinessObjects Intelligent Question is a really simple to use solution, that is what makes it so powerful and one of the most impressive innovations in business intelligence I have seen in a while," said Paul Zanis, director of corporate data architecture at Simon & Schuster, a global leader in general interest publishing. "Intelligent Question will be a great starting point for executives and other employees to leverage the benefits of business intelligence and get answers to the questions that will help them improve the way they do their job. In addition, the ability to move the answers to Web Intelligence allows an executive to easily share results with a business analyst who may want to do deeper, more complex analysis."

"Once again, Business Objects is driving a paradigm shift in the business intelligence industry, in terms of information access," said John Schwarz, CEO of Business Objects. "We understand that to truly expand the adoption of business intelligence you need to make products simpler. It requires a business intelligence interface that works the way people think, and allows them to quickly ask and answer their most critical business questions. BusinessObjects Intelligent Question is the first solution that will finally break down the barrier to broader BI adoption, and truly meet the needs of those users who have not experienced the benefits of BI because they were intimidated by the complexity."


BusinessObjects Intelligent Question is expected in Q4 2005.

About Business Objects

Business Objects is the world’s leading business intelligence (BI) software company. With more than 30,000 customers worldwide, including over 80 percent of the Fortune 500, Business Objects helps organizations gain better insight into their business, improve decision making, and optimize enterprise performance. The company’s business intelligence platform, BusinessObjects™ XI, offers the BI industry’s most advanced and complete platform for reporting, query and analysis, performance management, and data integration. BusinessObjects XI includes Crystal Reports®, the industry standard for enterprise reporting. Business Objects has also built the industry’s strongest and most diverse partner community, and also offers consulting and education services to help customers effectively deploy their business intelligence projects.

Business Objects has dual headquarters in San Jose, Calif., and Paris, France. The company’s stock is traded on both the Nasdaq (BOBJ) and Euronext Paris (ISIN: FR0004026250 - BOB) stock exchanges. More information about Business Objects can be found at

Safe Harbor for Forward Looking Statements

Certain sections of the press release contain forward-looking statements that are based on assumptions regarding the product release dates and features which will be included. However, these statements are not guarantees of the date of availability, which may be delayed or cancelled, or of the availability of features mentioned, which may be changed or removed prior to release. Statements such as "expected," "planned," or "anticipated" denote forward-looking statements, and the word "launch" refers to pre-release marketing activities and does not denote general availability. Forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release. The company does not undertake any obligation to update or publicly release any revisions to forward-looking statements to reflect events, circumstances or changes in expectations after the date of this press release.


Business Objects and the Business Objects logo, BusinessObjects, WebIntelligence, Crystal Reports, Intelligent Question, and Desktop Intelligence are trademarks or registered trademarks of Business Objects S.A. or its affiliated companies in the United States and/or other countries. All other names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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