SAP BusinessObjects EPM [EOL] Review

The key return has been the ability to connect from anywhere to a cloud-based platform, but the ability to run BO on earlier versions of Windows would be useful.

What is most valuable?

Its ability to provide deep insights on our business, market players and competitors. Also, we derive value from the application's ability to help us grow our small-to-medium-enterprise. The most valuable features include:

  • Users can have self-service access to business intelligence
  • Ability to integrate data from different sources
  • Capacity to use location-specific data within a country or globally
  • Availability of data cleansing functionality

How has it helped my organization?

It makes it easy to access information from disparate sources, analyse it, and then present it in different graphical formats. We can see trends, do what-if analyses, and create management dashboards. This assists us to make quick, informed decisions that impact on our growth.

What needs improvement?

The key one for us is to improve the ability to run BusinessObjects on earlier versions of Windows that are still being supported by Microsoft. This would be useful for our small clients who operate from home offices.

For how long have I used the solution?

In all it has been two years since we embarked on the journey of using the SAP Analytics products that this product is a part of. We started with the lower end product called SAP Lumira that does virtualization. We then scaled up to SAP Crystal Reports and then to SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Edge product.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

  • Some of the custom settings might have been overwritten by the latest installation
  • Some missing Windows Active Directory parameters as they were not documented

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The challenge was with getting proper integration with cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services, and Hadoop. The issue was creating a true big data capabilities, and was more from our lack of expertise on these particular platforms than anything else.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no challenges on scalability because we have not reached the maximum number of users of BusinessObjects Edge edition. We know that there is a BusinessObjects BI Suite product for large enterprises that has a different licensing model.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

The level of service has been satisfactory for now, since we can access information from both SAP and experienced partners in different ways.

Technical Support:

SAP has a number of good technical support systems that come from different conduits. This starts with the product documentation that comes with the application as well as the different support plans. They have a support portal with a knowledge base and trial applications, and this is where users can log incidents and interact with vast information that is contained therein. There is also a chat, call, and email section that can be used for direct support.

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

No, we have not used a previous solution before. We have, however, accessed comparative data and reports such as the Gartner Magic Quadrants for similar products.

How was the initial setup?

Success or failure of the system setup depends on the skill level of the technicians who setup the system. Our technicians happen to also double as SAP implementation specialists, who implement this product for our clients and draw from collaboration with the vast amount of other technical people that they interact with.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it through an in-house team.

What was our ROI?

The key return has been the ability to connect from anywhere to a cloud-based platform. This has minimised the need to always be office-bound instead of spending time with our clients. We can provide answers to some of the pressing customer queries without having to call someone in the office.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

As mentioned earlier, we have reviewed other products and decided to start with a low end product called Lumira and then scaled up from there.

What other advice do I have?

  • Start by appointing a SAP implementation partner with a good experience
  • Create and confirm your company's business intelligence strategy
  • Create a structured project with relevant stakeholders
  • Train prospective users and to get them to participate in testing processes if possible. If they see the value before the system goes live they will be keen users once it is up and running

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We have a partnership relationship with SAP
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