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.


What is most valuable?

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.

How has it helped 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.

What needs 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.

For how long have I used the solution?

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

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We've had no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've had no stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

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.

How are 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.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

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.

How was the initial setup?

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

What other advice do I have?

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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