Right to Reply

Right to Reply

Image & Data Manager felt that in order to paint the full picture, the respective BI vendors should be given an opportunity to reply to the findings of SA Water.

Business Objects

In January 2002, Business Objects appointed McLachlan Hodge Mitchell (MHM), an innovative South Australian owned and operated firm that commenced operations 10 years ago, as the lead provider in South Australia and the Northern Territory for licensing and consulting related services. MHM has 55 staff, including six certified Business Objects personnel, experienced in significant business intelligence (BI) implementations.

In response to demand from large customers, Business Objects has also introduced a Professional Services division, focused on services to top 200 companies, to project manage the implementation of our products - particularly large scale enterprise, quality extranet, and analytical applications.

Business Objects has earned its reputation for performance through satisfied customers, and has helped thousands of organisations become more profitable and competitive by making better use of their corporate data via BI solutions.

Ursula Ayrout Marketing Manager

Brio Software

Paul Beks, Managing Director for Brio Software ANZ would like to apologise to SA Water for Brio’s perceived lack of response to this tender. Brio is currently undertaking an internal investigation into the matter. Brio will make best effort to advise SA Water of its findings once the investigation concludes. 

Brio has had considerable success in providing total information management solutions, as opposed to pure database interrogation. In fact, Brio has succeeded in eight out of its last ten tenders. Brio has successfully deployed large-scale information management solutions to utilities and government organisations of a similar size and complexity as SA Water. For example, Ergon Energy has increased its bottom line and achieved an instant ROI by deploying Brio total enterprise business intelligence suite across its organisation.

It is disappointing that several vendors haven't fully understood the organisation’s needs and may have spent a lot of unnecessary time.


There are many approaches to implementing business intelligence (BI) in an organisation. Our 15 years experience in implementing successful BI systems around the world has resulted in the development of a set of best practices for BI implementation. Whilst we cannot speak for the approach chosen by SA Water, the Cognos approach is proven. This is evidenced by the success of BI in global companies such as General Electric, Mercedes Benz, Guinness UDV and local companies including OneSteel, Commonwealth Bank, Jeans West and ABN ARMO Morgans.

Cognos is proud of the results achieved by our customers and remains committed to delivering the best products, support and methodologies to make our customers the best decision makers in the world.

Peter KokinakosDirector of Marketing, Asia Pacific


Firstly ComOps would like to congratulate SA Water for putting in place such a rigorous trial program.

ComOps welcomes such challenges as it believes its BI product is the most superior offering on the market.

While the company is obviously disappointed it did not win the SA Water tender, achievements such as being awarded Gold Partner Certification in Business Intelligence by Microsoft, and securing key BI contracts with major partners such as Australia Post, Toshiba International, Berri Limited and The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade keep the company focused on the continued growth and development of its proven BI product range.

It was also with some disappointment the company learnt an overseas competitor was chosen over the Australian owned and operated ComOps due to unfounded concerns about the breadth of its BI expertise.

ComOps boasts a product development and customer installation team of more than 45, many of whom specialise in Business Intelligence.

Central to ComOps’ customer service philosophy is keeping things simple for its clients. As part of this, an Account Manager is allocated to all new jobs so clients only have to deal with one person throughout the course of a project’s life.

This Account Manager is supported by an experienced and dedicated team which manages the day-to-day operations of a project, and ensures all jobs are implemented on time and to budget. Any one of these team members has the knowledge and expertise to take the place of the nominated Account Manager at any given time.

Richard Bradley, ComOps Managing Director


The approach taken by SA Water was to “define” the technology constraints prior to going to the market. Specifically, vendors were required to use a data format or “cube” from Microsoft Corporation. At this time there is no “industry standard” for reporting analytical tools to subscribe to. Therefore all vendors in the market (and all tested in this exercise) use either their own format or in the case of Crystal Reports either the Microsoft or Holos cubes.

Most high end vendors also support “Large data set” optimised cubes as an alternative to their own. Therefore in all cases, except Crystal Reports, the vendors in question were all being asked to perform effectively with one hand tied behind their backs.

It is also worth a note that any company or organisation that chooses to define as a test the “mechanism” that a vendor must use rather than the functional outcome as a selection criteria is likely to experience these types of disappointments. In making the choice to enforce the use of the Microsoft Cube format, SA Water should not have been surprised that the choice of systems was narrowed down and capabilities impaired. This is absolutely the norm in any aspect of the I.T marketplace.

Would you expect Microsoft Exchange to operate as well on UNIX and it does on NT/2000?

Robert Whiter Sales Director

Crystal Decisions

We have a few very very good partners and they can sustain a critical mass. Unlike some, we do send our people to South Australia on a regular basis and it is because we have good partners. But the harsh reality is that the South Australian market has a lower return on investment.

Robert Zalums, Managing Director Australia New ZealandCrystal Decisions

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