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SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform Competitors and Alternatives

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Read reviews of SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform competitors and alternatives

Sreekrishna Mohandas
Chief SAP - ICT (Digital & IT) at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Great for following KPIs, good performance and good for presentations

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution makes for very productive and really informative decision making. It can lead the whole business and build a strategy across whole working departments."
  • "The cost of owning the solutions from Tableau is much higher compared to any other analytical solutions."

What is our primary use case?

We have been using Tableau for all sorts of analytical tasks. When I was having an ERP SAP practice, we used SAP analytical tools and IBM Cognos plus Tableau for dynamic display session purposes. Tableau ended up being the best solution. That is why we moved over to Tableau. We predominantly implement and use Tableau. 

How has it helped my organization?

It's a pure data platform. Everyone relies on Tableau. Our departmental meetings and reports for monthly meetings and reviews happen live on Tableau. We can prepare all of our KPIs on it. In fact, all of our KPIs can be placed onto one single screen and divided into nine tiles that can be further divided.

We can easily review and define all of our KPIs. The data is perfectly validated. It allows us to run corporate and board presentations purely on Tableau's visualization center.

What is most valuable?

It's an extremely good product with respect to performance and analytics. 

All the transactions that are happening are happening in SAP and some of the solutions are in Oracle as well. The combination, the data extraction which is filtered into authenticated, validated financial data, sales data, material data, etc, into Tableau platform is very useful for us.   

The solution makes for very productive and really informative decision making. It can lead the whole business and build a strategy across whole working departments.

What needs improvement?

The licensing costs of Tableau are on the higher side and probably if you wanted more adaptability in usage across business divisions you need to have more reasonable pricing of licenses of Tableau. Tableau is a standalone product. That is a disadvantage.

Due to the fact that it is a standalone product, it has to extract the data from other ERP systems or other bespoke systems and other data systems, etc. If you have big data systems and you have got other informed decision-making tools and the data is being extracted into Tableau it is dependent on many other platforms.

In contrast, if you use SAP vertical data systems and you have SAP's Data Hub, etc., then everything is vertically integrated. The whole data pipeline is vertically integrated and there is a visualization screen right there as well. Therefore, you don't normally have to go for a separate integration process altogether or need a data extraction solution.

In the end, Tableau has got two or three disadvantages in the sense that it is not a seamlessly integrated platform, end-to-end platform. It's purely a standalone reporting tool. On top of that, the licensing cost is extremely on the higher side. Thirdly, IT divisions probably are a little bit hesitant to use Tableau due to the fact that separate training is required, and separate skill sets are needed to develop everything. 

The cost of owning the solutions from Tableau is much higher compared to any other analytical solutions.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've used Tableau for the past two and a half years or so.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is okay. It depends on the countries. I was in Australia for some time and there the support is much better than in India. This is probably due to the fact that a number of users are struggling with it and you get delayed support here. It's better to use Tableau proactively and develop a center of excellence in our organization. That is what I did and it helped us out a lot. I don't have any complaints about technical support per se.

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

Tableau is undisputedly the number one analytical product in the world. I have given a long presentation to management and the CEO about what differentiates Tableau over other products such as Cognos and Hyperion, SAP, etc. Lumira also is a strong contender, however, Tableau is way ahead because of the dynamic reporting that is possible and the whole virtualization that is very easy to produce, or reproduce. The business users themselves enjoy working on Tableau much better than other solutions like SAP, Cognos, Hyperion, etc.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing of the solution is a bit high.

What other advice do I have?

We're only customers. We don't have a business relationship with the company.

We have not moved to the cloud so far with this product. Only SAP Ariba is on the cloud. The rest of our solutions, all analytical solutions, are on-premise solutions only.

Businesses should know what exactly they can do with Tableau. It's not just a visualization center or dashboard. You can contact a lot of assets that are in use - such as institutional analytics, predictive analytics, and prescriptive analytics. It can integrate with any artificial intelligence learning solutions and analytic solutions. That is where big data analytics play an important role. Modern business is more focused on all sorts of big database analytical solutions, especially for retail and other larger CRM business.

A company needs to decide answers to questions such as "how do you extract data?" or "Which department wants what data?". They would definitely need to have an initial, extremely focused approach of implementing it, with the full participation of the business teams. That is how a successful Tableau implementation needs to happen. However, it doesn't end there. You also need to educate business users or corporates on the solution as well.

Tableau is an extremely good product. I'd advise other users to use all aspects of and take advantage of its capabilities. Tableau has many licensing products available and a whole analytical model should be under one platform rather than going for bits and pieces from Oracle, IBM, SAP, Microsoft, etc.  Tableau is undisputedly the leader of the whole analytical solution and it should remain so only because it should have a larger use phase.

The training of Tableau is good, however, users should be aware that the consultants' availability across various countries is limited. I'm from Bangalore and if I need a Tableau consultant it's very difficult to locate one. You can, however, often find freelancing consultants. They can also get the job done.

Overall, I'd rate the solution seven out of ten.

There are so many solutions on the market. Primavera solution is a project management software. There is no product that can beat Primavera in the project management functions so you have many such project management products, SAP Project Manager, Product and Portfolio management is there, Microsoft Project is there. There are other Oracle project management solutions out there and then Primavera is there. 

When Oracle purchased this solution, the popularity of Primavera died out. I've personally stopped recommending that particular product. There are others that cost less, so why use that one?

Tableau should learn from Primavera, and ensure it builds its user base and market its abilities so that corporates understand the depth and breadth of its usage. Many only use 10-20% of its capabilities. It's the duty of Tableau to ensure potential use cases are advertised and more information is disseminated to corporates to help them understand how it can benefit them and why that should adopt it.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MG
Analytics Practice Lead at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
Offers business intelligence and inbuilt AI capabilities, useful for both technical types and general users

Pros and Cons

  • "Offers both business intelligence as well as inbuilt AI and machine learning capabilities."
  • "AI doesn't work as well with SAP live connections."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution as part of an embedded analytics use case for an ERP application. SAP are starting to embed Analytics Cloud as a solution within their ERP application, which gives you the options for closed-loop analytics, as you go from insights to action within a single ERP application. It can also be used to bring together multiple data sources, different sources of data from various applications and use the application to blend and trade analytics solutions across different parts of the organization. The product suits small to large enterprise, it supports all user types. We are partners with SAP and I'm an analytics practice lead.  

What is most valuable?

A point of differentiation in the market for Analytics Cloud compared to other analytics products, is it offers not only business intelligence within the application, but also it has inbuilt AI and machine learning capabilities that can be used not only by data scientist types in the organization, but for general users who can get the benefit of inbuilt predictive features in the tool. The other really compelling part of it is that it's also a planning application. You can do full life cycle from plan through execution in a single platform. That's quite unique for SAP. A lot of the other software vendors do analytics products and they do planning products. This is quite a unique combination that has both BI predictive and planning in a single application. And that's really where its strengths is.

What needs improvement?

I think what could be improved is a lot of those intelligent features that I mentioned, the AI and predictive functions within the tool work really well with data that you import into the platform, but it doesn't work as well with SAP live connections. If they could make those predictive features available to any source, whether it's SAP or non SAP, it would be a really, really compelling product. 

I'd like to see formatted reporting as an additional feature, such as pixel perfect style formatted reporting. I'd also like to see the product on parity when you compare acquired data and live data models, to know that the features are identical. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for two years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I believe the stability needs more work. The product was first released about five years ago and it's still maturing, which means a lot of new functionality is released with each update. Sometimes that can be a little bit disruptive as features change. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is pretty good, you've got options of either having it publicly hosted, or you can also have a private hosting option in a restricted area in the cloud data center. You can also add capacity to it quite easily. It's elasticity as an application for scale-out is pretty good. And underneath the covers, it runs SAP HANA, which is an in-memory database. So that makes a pretty performance. I'm happy with it. 

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support could be improved. 

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

I would say that Analytics Cloud is definitely improving although it's not yet fully comparable. There are some features in BusinessObjects that are not yet in Analytics Cloud, but I would say, from my perspective, that the overall the benefits and advantages of using SAC outweigh BusinessObjects. 

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is somewhere in the middle of straightforward and complex, it just depends on the source of information. It's not overly simple and it's not overly complex. We have the solution up and running with customers in three weeks for a trial, and that's sending up the application, connecting it to their source systems and demonstrating one really good example of a dashboard or report. We carry out the deployment internally. There's very little maintenance required because it's software as a service, a SaaS offering, a lot of that housekeeping and maintenance and upgrade of the solution is managed by SAP, by the software vendors. Again, that's one of its strong selling points, it requires very little administration overhead.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I believe that SAC is cheaper than BusinessObjects for a basic user license. It's difficult to compare because one is an on-premise pricing model and the other is subscription based. You're not really comparing apples with apples. For some of the more advanced functionalities, though, it can be more expensive. Analytics Cloud is subscription-based. There are different tiers of licensing that give you different access to different functionalities, but assuming you have all of that, there is no additional hosting or set up costs, its fully included in the price per user. 

What other advice do I have?

It's really important to think about data governance in the solution because it's very much a self-service application. It can be quite open for users to create their own versions of data, so it's really important that you think about customers, think about a data governance model to make sure that there's clear ownership of data, and there's a clear single source of truth for enterprise data in the model. It's easy to create a situation where it's open, but you still very much need to consider having a data governance strategy that underpins your Analytics Cloud implementation.

I would rate this solution an eight out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
SureshSrinivasan
Assistant Vice President at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Top 5
A complete and in-demand solution with good price, integration, and features

Pros and Cons

  • "Most of the clients I am interacting with are looking towards Power BI because of the cost and simplicities. It provides an entire feature set and a complete solution. It has tight integration with Office 365, Dynamics 365, Microsoft Technology Stack, and datatypes like R and Python."
  • "It should be more scalable for an enterprise-level implementation. When you deploy large data sets, the response has to be faster in Power BI. This is one thing that needs to be improved in it."

What is our primary use case?

I lead the data visualization competency. As a competency leader, my responsibility is to make people grow in this technology. It could be Power BI, Tableau, or QlikView. We are service-oriented, and depending upon the demand, we have to have experienced people and a resource pool ready in these areas. Depending upon the requirement, I decide how many people need to be trained or hired.

What is most valuable?

Most of the clients I am interacting with are looking towards Power BI because of the cost and simplicities. It provides an entire feature set and a complete solution. It has tight integration with Office 365, Dynamics 365, Microsoft Technology Stack, and datatypes like R and Python. 

What needs improvement?

It should be more scalable for an enterprise-level implementation. When you deploy large data sets, the response has to be faster in Power BI. This is one thing that needs to be improved in it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for close to two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We found no issues. It is an aggregated reporting tool. It cannot handle a detailed level of data. It is meant only for the dashboarding purpose. You need to have your underlying data in an aggregated way, and then it would be faster. It depends on whether you have a live connection or you don't have a live connection.

How are customer service and technical support?

We don't see many issues, but whenever we put a request, they at least respond.

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

I have worked on Tableau. Before Tableau, I have worked with traditional tools, such as SAP BusinessObjects. My team has got experience with Spotfire, but we are not seeing a great demand for Spotfire.

If you ask me for the top three, I would qualify Power BI, then Tableau, and then QlikView. That's the demand that I'm seeing in the market from various customers.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I am satisfied with its price. Its price is very less as compared to Tableau and QlikView.

What other advice do I have?

My first advice is to learn SQL. The foundational knowledge and SQL skills are the most important. You have to be very strong in writing SQL code. You have to improve your mind so that you know what you are writing in Power BI. After that, it is very easy to pick up any front-end reporting tool, such as Power BI or Tableau. After you have good expertise in Power BI, you can slowly learn Python so that you can do good integration. All these efforts would be great for your career.

Being a gold partner of Microsoft for the past few years, we work directly with Microsoft product teams. Sometimes as part of a pre-launch, they also connect with us. If we see a feature or functionality that a client requires, we at least put it across to them. How they prioritize it within their product team is up to them. They prioritize depending on the need of the market and demand from various clients, and they release features accordingly. Sometimes, we also work on a pre-release.

They release new features and functionalities every month. They have also recently released data protection smart narratives. If you look at the Gartner report, they are leading. I see a lot of demand for this solution.

I would rate Microsoft BI an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
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