Social networking to transform business software

18 Jun 2008

SAP-owned business software player Business Objects says the evolution of social networking will be key to its R&D efforts in Dublin, which will result in 100 new jobs and an investment of €29m.

Speaking with, Business Objects’ vice-president in charge of product development, Frederick Daniel, said the new R&D operation will focus on “performance optimisation” applications.

“These applications will be targeted at business users who are mostly concentrating on how to improve the way the company is performing by enabling collaboration and integration between strategy and execution,” Daniel said.

Yesterday, Business Objects revealed plans to invest €29m to establish an R&D operation in CityWest ,which will recruit a team of 100 people over a four-year period.

The company, the largest business intelligence provider in the world, came to Ireland in 2004 when it established its EMEA operations centre in Dublin, where it currently employs 200 people.

In January of this year, German software giant SAP completed its US$6.8bn acquisition of Business Objects.

Combined, SAP and Business Objects will employ 1,000 people in Ireland.

Daniel said that a specific aspect of the R&D operation will be working on how to bring the concept of social networking – espoused through mould-breaking sites like Bebo and Facebook – to within the enterprise IT world.

“The next generation of workers are already growing up with these technologies like MySpace, as well as iPods and iPhones and the various capabilities, and will consider them valuable in terms of performance and behaviour in the workplace of tomorrow.”

He said that as a result the technology mix used in the R&D centre will include programming languages like Java, XML, Exclipse and Flex.

Initially, Daniel explained, recruiting for the new R&D operation will focus on seasoned IT veterans with between three and 10 years experience in the software industry, before recruitment of graduates commences.

The news was welcomed yesterday by the Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan TD.

“This is a superb investment for Ireland by a global technology leader,” Coughlan explained. “It is the result of two highly successful companies merging technologies and expertise to create a winning formula for future success.

“Business Objects and SAP are leaders in their field and are terrific assets to Ireland’s ICT industry. Both are IDA-supported companies and this project is a very significant win for the agency, as it is a substantial R&D investment.

“It is also a tremendous boost to our reputation as a prime location for top-level research and development investment from major players in the IT industry worldwide,” the Tanaiste added.

The news by Business Objects is just one of four key jobs announcements being made by IDA Ireland this week. Other jobs – amounting to a total of 200 new jobs – are to be announced by IBM, satellite broadband provider Solaris and online jewellery retailer Blue Nile.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years