SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform Review

​The combination of IDT and Web Intelligence has taken some of the burden of report creation off of our central data team. The scalability of Design Studio when using crosstabs is an issue.

Valuable Features

I use IDT and Web Intelligence the most to enable self service and ad-hoc reporting capabilities for our end users. When building a dashboard with defined KPIs, I'll use Design Studio as it gives a clean and uniform look.

Improvements to My Organization

The combination of IDT and Web Intelligence has taken some of the burden of report creation off of our central data team. The corporate team has the task of creating sound, reusable universes, and we give 'superusers' out in the business the ability to create their own Web Intelligence reports using these universes. in this way, the business is able to develop the reports they feel would be valuable, and if a different view/additional data is needed, the corporate team would fulfill that need.

Room for Improvement

IDT and Web Intelligence are pretty mature products, and have many features that make them adaptable. Design Studio in combination with SAP HANA as a source can be valuable although when using crosstabs, database calls become costly. I would expect this functionality to change to better utilize returned data sets in the future. Lumira is also a promising tool, but at this point still feels inferior to Tableau. SAP continues to pour money into this visualization solution, and claims that in the near future will be more feature rich than it's competitor.

Use of Solution

I've used Business Objects for about four years, versions 3.1 and 4.1.

Deployment Issues

We've had no issues with the deployment.

Stability Issues

We've had no stability issues.

Scalability Issues

The only issue that comes to mind with the toolset is the scalability of Design Studio when using crosstabs as I stated before. When defining a dataset for a crosstab, you are locked in to that 'view' of the dataset and are unable to create a second view of the data with different dimensions from the same source - you must call the database again to accomplish this.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer support is responsive, the SAP help forums also have an extensive amount of knowledge and help if your organization does not have a support agreement with SAP.

Previous Solutions

Our organization also uses Tableau in some instances when we need to query several data sources/views for one dashboard because of performance. However we usually try to use Business Objects because of the synergy we find with SAP systems as a data source as well as the data security options available in SAP HANA.

Initial Setup

I was not involved in the technical set up of the tools.

Other Advice

We used this product for years with Teradata as the datasource, but much can be gained by using SAP HANA as the source if possible - not only in performance but also in data security and not requiring a universe for a few of the tools.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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