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Tibco readies reporting tools

The company is looking to branch out of its software integration niche with the release of a new application designed to keep business managers in the know.

Tibco Software is looking to branch out of its specialty of helping companies pass data among incompatible computer systems with the release of a new software program designed to keep business managers in the know.

The company, based in Palo Alto, Calif., said Monday that it plans to release the new product, called BusinessFactor, by April. The program is designed to work in conjunction with Tibco's software for integrating enterprise applications, which more than 1,900 companies have purchased to stitch together different computer systems.

Tibco executives said the release of BusinessFactor is an important move for the company as it seeks to differentiate itself amid mounting competition. Software giants SAP, PeopleSoft and Siebel Systems have recently launched initiatives to improve the interoperability of their software programs using Web services, a set of emerging Internet protocols that many in the software industry promise will ease the flow of data between computers.

Some industry observers have questioned the need for tools provided by Tibco and rival WebMethods in a world of Web services. By adding business-reporting software to the mix, Tibco is attempting to strengthen the business case for its products, said Larry Neumann, marketing director of Tibco

And as many software makers battle a general reluctance among businesses to make information technology investments in a sour economy, BusinessFactor could also give Tibco a new set of buyers to court. The product is aimed at business managers, rather than appealing strictly to the information technology workers who use Tibco's software integration products, Neumann said.

For instance, one hospital is using the software to assemble reports with up-to-the-minute information about its patients, doctors' schedules and the availability of facilities--all from different computer systems. Hospital staff use the reports to make decisions about coordinating patient care, said Neumann.

BusinessFactor was developed in part from software that Tibco gained in the acquisition last year of a small company called Praja, which made business data reporting tools, according to Neumann.

Tibco has not yet made public the price of BusinessFactor.