Business Objects has pushed further into the Software-as-a-Service market by acquiring NSite Software. Nsite allows users to use enterprise level web applications from anywhere by simply logging in through a browser. Some of their most popular applications include Contact Management, Quote and Proposal Management, Expense Reports, Timesheets and IT Service Requests. You can even design your own applications. You can try it out with 2 users for free but to go beyond that the cost is currently $40 per user per month. If you go beyond 100 users ($4,000 per month), additional users are only $10 per month. With numbers like these you can see why SaaS is such an attractive area for vendors. Then again a small or mid-size company may feel that this is less expensive than trying to maintain a comparable IT department.
By folding BI into the NSite product mix, BO may be able to move from being the tail end of the process (just pulling the data out) to owning the entire process. And, this may finally convince users that the reporting tool is not just a product that they buy (once), but a service that they should pay for on an ongoing basis.
BO’s first SaaS offering – Crystal Reports.com – has had limited success, but it is not designed to access the database in real time, a serious drawback to some users. Nsite would not have this problem, since the BI tools can be integrated directly into the application services. Go to Nsite.com to read more about it and you can even set up a free 2-user site for free.
One surprise is that I encountered no pesky ‘terms of service’ clicks when signing up for my free account. I wonder how long BO will allow that to be the case.