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SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform is the #5 ranked solution in our list of top Business Intelligence Tools. It is most often compared to Microsoft BI: SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform vs Microsoft BI

What is SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform?

The SAP® BusinessObjects™ Business Intelligence (BI) platform is a flexible, scalable information infrastructure that helps you more easily discover and share insights for better business decisions. The integrated, unified infrastructure enables scalability from one to many tools and interfaces on premise, in the cloud, or as a hybrid approach.

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform is also known as SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform, SAP BusinessObjects, Business Objects.

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform Buyer's Guide

Download the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: September 2021

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform Customers

SRAM, Kennametal, Fairfax Water, British American Tobacco, Velux, and FedEx.

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform pricing:
  • "We purchase licenses through Epic. So, we get an Epic price as opposed to the SAP price. If we were going to use other products like Webby that they offer or exclusively use BI Launch Pad, it would cost a lot because half of our employees would touch it in some fashion. So, we use Epic-Crystal integration to keep the licensing cost down. I believe the BI Launch Pad licensing is something like $800 for each, and the Crystal Report licensing is something like $500 for each, but that's not what we pay."
  • "I have always found SAP BI to be expensive. It is expensive even when you compare SAP BI Cloud with Microsoft Power BI. Power BI is probably around $9.99 per month, and the cheapest SAP BI is around $20, which is double. In terms of price, Power BI is definitely a lot better. If you have budget issues, you may want to go for Power BI."

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform Reviews

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Paul Grill
President & CEO at Infosol Inc
Real User
Top 5
Once you are stable on a BusinessObjects release, it is worth staying there for a while
It is true that there are often challenges when upgrading between releases of BusinessObjects but this has always been the case as it has been for all the other BI and software application vendors too. A few rules of thumb for BusinessObjects software are: 1. Never upgrade to an x.0 release - always wait for at least the x.1 release and even the first or second service pack of that release 2. Never attempt to perform a release upgrade if you have not done one before. Get training and experience first or use a reputable BO Consulting company 3. Experiment with the new release on a sandbox environment to become familiar with the changes and find any major issues before attempting a migration to production Once you are stable on a BusinessObjects release, it is worth staying…

It is true that there are often challenges when upgrading between releases of BusinessObjects but this has always been the case as it has been for all the other BI and software application vendors too.

A few rules of thumb for BusinessObjects software are:

1. Never upgrade to an x.0 release - always wait for at least the x.1 release and even the first or second service pack of that release

2. Never attempt to perform a release upgrade if you have not done one before. Get training and experience first or use a reputable BO Consulting company

3. Experiment with the new release on a sandbox environment to become familiar with the changes and find any major issues before attempting a migration to production

Once you are stable on a BusinessObjects release, it is worth staying there for a while.

Update April 2014 : BusinessObjects BI 4.1 has been out for 8 months now and is looking like a stable release. Expect to see a lot of activity moving to this release over the next year.

Update September 2014 : BI 4.1 is now at Service Pack 4 (SP4) which corrected multiple issues in earlier service packs (SP2 and SP3). As more customers move to BI 4.1. more experience is gained and the platform improves. Main features attracting customers to BI 4.1 are improvements in Web Intelligence, Mobile Dashboard support and support of Desktop Intelligence.

Update February 2015 : BI 4.1 is now at Service Pack 6 (SP6). Both SP5 and 6 have been stable. Most BI 4.0 customers are also migrating to BI 4.1 and many more XI 3.1 customers are also migrating since XI 3.1 goes into a maintenance only support mode ( no more service packs or fix packs) after Dec. 31, 2015. The next major release BI 4.2 is currently scheduled for end of the year.

Update December 2015 : BI 4.1 SP7 has just been released. BI 4.2 is in Customer User Validation phase and will not be released until 2016. The jury is still out regarding if the quality of software updates has improved but new QA processes have been implemented by the SAP BusinessObjects development and support teams this year.

Update May 2016 : BI 4.2 SP2 was released at the end of March. There are quite a few new features including to the Upgrade Management Tool (UMT) which is used for migrating content from previous releases. It is now possible to handle incremental updates and moving certain types of content instead of all. There is also a new mechanism that allows part of the update to be performed while the system is still running. There is also a new Recycle bin feature for public folders in case you accidently delete a report. Organizations still running BusinessObjects XI 3.1 are now looking to go straight to BI 4.2.

Update October 2016 : BI 4.2 SP03 is now the latest version released at end of August. It has a lot of new features for a service pack including additional new functionality for Web Intelligence like cascading prompts for input controls, references and further enhancements to the new discussions. The Administrators cockpit has also been further enhanced to provide more options. So far, stability looks good.

Update April 2017 : SP03 has proven to be a relatively stable service pack that many BO customers have updated to. The next service pack, SP04 is now in beta and scheduled to be released in May. Again, it promises to have a bunch of new functionality for Web Intelligence including full parity between the Java and dhtml clients, an optional new UI and many new graphics

Update September 2017 : SP04 has now been available since May and there were additional quite a few code changes . The first release release had multiple issues. Some were addressed in the two subsequent Fix Packs that have been released. The general feeling was that it was not as stable as SP03. However SP04 was the first version that included SQL Server 2016 support so many customers wanted to install it.

Update February 2018 : SP05 was released in December and there were further enhancements particularly to the new optional HTML5 Fiori portal that can now be used for consuming BO reports. This first version has some issues around installation/upgrade but too early to judge its overall stability yet.

Update July 2018 : Like all the previous BI 4.2 Service Packs, SP05 had multiple issues when first released and really did not completely stabilize until Fix Pack 200 (after Fix Pack 100). It is now at Fix Pack 400 and SP06 is in beta testing and should be released soon.

Update December 2018 : SP06 is now the current BI 4.2 Service Pack update released late July. Like all the other service packs there were some initial issues and after a couple of fix pack updates, it now is quite stable. Like its predecessors it has a lot of additional functionality especially with the new Fiori HTML5 UI and Web Intelligence (more new charts like funnels, pyramids, intra-document links and more). Nice enhancements to BO Administrators Cockpit for usage/performance monitoring. Now BI 4.3 has been announced for release at end of 2019, the next service packs may be more maintenance fixes than new functionality.

Update June 2019 : SP07 was released a couple of months ago. Unlike previous BI 4.2 Service Packs this had a very small amount of new functionality and was mainly a maintenance update. Again the first version had a few issues but a fix pack has been released and customers are upgrading to it. The remaining 4.2 service packs are also supposed to be primarily maintenance updates and fixes as new functionality will be focused in the eagerly awaited BI 4.3 release now likely to be released in early 2020.

Update December 2019 : BI 4.2 SP07 remains the current release. There have been issues with some of the Fix Packs and it is best to go with the most current. The BI 4.3 open beta is due to start this month but GA is not expected until mid 2020 now. There should also be an SP08 update to BI 4.2 coming in early 2020.

Update April 2020 : BI 4.2 SP08 was released a few weeks back and despite it being primarily a maintenance release, SAP has included some interesting new features like a direct connector to Snowflake for Webi. Some early bugs in SP08 have been reported and the first fix patch 100 has just been released. There is still much anticipation for BI 4.3, the next major release due out this Summer.

Update September 2020 : BI 4.3 SP0 was released in June and has  a radically different HTML6 UI that will take some getting use to. There are a lot of other new features including Webi as a data source allowing you to use universes on top of a Webi report. a few brave souls may try out an SP0 release but most will wait till at least SP2 due out mid 2021. BI 4.2 will continue as the dominant release for at least the next couple of years with SP9 coming out later this year.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company is a SAP BO partner - http://www.infosol.com/about/partners/
JB
Manager Data Analytics and Interfaces at a healthcare company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Integrates seamlessly within our Epic environment, provides flexibility for numerous data resources, and operates efficiently

Pros and Cons

  • "I like the fact that we can integrate it seamlessly within our Epic environment, but probably the best thing that Crystal Reports offers is the ability to do visualizations. They're simple to do, and they're catchy. So, it is a really great tool."
  • "It has got great flexibility. As a reporting tool, it has a great deal of flexibility for numerous data resources that you can bring into it. It allows you to write your SQL query directly within the product. So, it allows you to do server-side joins instead of pulling all the data into Crystal Report to aggregate that data. It has great visualization. For the most part, it operates quite efficiently."
  • "We're an Epic shop, and Epic is moving away from Crystal. It would be nice if it had tighter integration with products like Epic. It would be awesome to have better integration with third-party products."
  • "They could reduce the licensing expenses. There is nothing really wrong with the product in terms of what it does. It works well. If you are a part of BI Launch Pad, then you could run ad hoc reporting, but for the integration, you need access to BI Launch Pad, which is quite expensive. We're an organization with 18,000 employees. It is not really practical to give people access to BI Launch Pad. So, from a customer perspective, in terms of saturating our employee base, we don't really have great saturation because of the expense."

What is our primary use case?

We use it almost exclusively for our analytics for the Epic environment. So, a lot of healthcare-related reporting and financial reporting is done on it. It is not geared towards the operational world. It is geared towards the analytical world where we're looking at a month of data, a year of data, or a quarter of data.

We try to use its current version.

How has it helped my organization?

On the first of the month, when we get ready to close the books, we run a lot of analytics through the BI platform. The analytics are available to our financial team within 10 hours, and we typically run around 21,000 jobs at the beginning of every month. We schedule them, and they get downloaded as CSVs and then people consume them.

What is most valuable?

I like the fact that we can integrate it seamlessly within our Epic environment, but probably the best thing that Crystal Reports offers is the ability to do visualizations. They're simple to do, and they're catchy. So, it is a really great tool.

It has got great flexibility. As a reporting tool, it has a great deal of flexibility for numerous data resources that you can bring into it. It allows you to write your SQL query directly within the product. So, it allows you to do server-side joins instead of pulling all the data into Crystal Report to aggregate that data. It has great visualization. For the most part, it operates quite efficiently.

It is a really solid product. It has been out there for some time, and it gives you exactly what you need.

What needs improvement?

We're an Epic shop, and Epic is moving away from Crystal. It would be nice if it had tighter integration with products like Epic. It would be awesome to have better integration with third-party products.

They could reduce the licensing expenses. There is nothing really wrong with the product in terms of what it does. It works well. If you are a part of BI Launch Pad, then you could run ad hoc reporting, but for the integration, you need access to BI Launch Pad, which is quite expensive. We're an organization with 18,000 employees. It is not really practical to give people access to BI Launch Pad. So, from a customer perspective, in terms of saturating our employee base, we don't really have great saturation because of the expense. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been probably using it for close to eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has been a solid product. We have had no issues. Any issues that we had were self-inflicted. They were not consequences of the product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We run around 21,000 reports at the beginning of every month, and we get them done in 10 hours. These are not operational reports. These are analytics reports. Some of those reports pull a year's worth of data, aggregate that data, and then spit it out with visualizations and everything else. So, it operates efficiently.

We're a healthcare system in Dallas, Texas. We have 11 hospitals. A vast majority of the leaders, probably more than 2,000 leaders, use the results of the products we create from Crystal Reports, etc. A significant amount of the other staff also uses the results. Our finance team uses it almost exclusively to generate their data. We have probably more than 18,000 people working through our facilities, and probably half of them in some fashion or another touch the SAP environment at some point during the course of a month. So, it is being used extensively. We rely on this product.

How are customer service and technical support?

We don't call SAP directly. We work through Epic. Our licensing with SAP is through Epic. So, Epic has a direct relationship with SAP, not us.

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

I have used other products, but my company hasn't really used any other product or any big data solution like this.

How was the initial setup?

It is pretty straightforward. We had no complications at all in installing it. We had some complications getting it to work with Epic, but once it was set up, it has been sitting there and doing its thing. We don't ever have to mess with it. It has been a solid product. It just works.

What about the implementation team?

For its implementation, we used a consultant, but he was not associated with SAP. We took the help of a gentleman who was DBA experienced in implementing this product in an Epic environment, but he was not an SAP employee.

For its maintenance, I have one staff member who's the admin of SAP. She has additional duties with the maintenance of this product, which probably takes up 10% of her time.

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

We purchase licenses through Epic. So, we get an Epic price as opposed to the SAP price. If we were going to use other products like Webi that they offer or exclusively use BI Launch Pad, it would cost a lot because half of our employees would touch it in some fashion. So, we use Epic-Crystal integration to keep the licensing cost down. I believe the BI Launch Pad licensing is something like $800 for each, and the Crystal Report licensing is something like $500 for each, but that's not what we pay.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise others to get somebody who knows what they're doing when they install it. That's what we did. It is a complex product, and trying to fumble through all the bits and pieces and the nuances of it is challenging.

It has been around for years. It has been there ever since I went to software engineering. It does what it does. It is built to do that every year. It just needs to get more efficient at doing it. It just needs better integration with third parties and maybe a price reduction for the licensing.

I would rate this solution an eight out of 10.

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.
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Learn what your peers think about SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2021.
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Paul Grill
President & CEO at Infosol Inc
Real User
Top 5
Using Xcelsius dashboard instead of Qlikview
When I first started presenting Xcelsius dashboards back in 2006, I said that it should carry a warning sign stating “May Cause Xtreme Xcitement”! Despite all the advances in technology and tools over the last decade that statement not only remains true today, but maybe should be changed to “Will Cause Xtreme Xcitement”. In the last month, I have both seen and heard stories from companies singing the praises of Xcelsius and hailing it as the savior of BI user adoption in their organizations. A company specializing in reporting and analysis of employee business travel was looking for a client facing BI application that would help sell their solution. The client showed me their current solution running in Qlikview bemoaning how rigid, limiting and unexciting it was…

When I first started presenting Xcelsius dashboards back in 2006, I said that it should carry a warning sign stating “May Cause Xtreme Xcitement”!

Despite all the advances in technology and tools over the last decade that statement not only remains true today, but maybe should be changed to “Will Cause Xtreme Xcitement”.

In the last month, I have both seen and heard stories from companies singing the praises of Xcelsius and hailing it as the savior of BI user adoption in their organizations.

A company specializing in reporting and analysis of employee business travel was looking for a client facing BI application that would help sell their solution. The client showed me their current solution running in Qlikview bemoaning how rigid, limiting and unexciting it was to use. They then showed me an example of something they found on the web that was an animated PowerPoint dashboard much closer to what they were looking for. Of course, I recognized it as an Xcelsius dashboard embedded in PowerPoint immediately. It had been developed over seven years ago, but it still sizzled. So, we mocked up a new prototype in Xcelsius for the client and to say they loved it would be an understatement. The VP of Marketing came up with the best quote of the day when he said, “It’s alive!”

A multi-national vehicle leasing company developed a super cool Xcelsius dashboard for improving their vendor management with built-in location intelligence using the GMaps plug-in and the InfoBurst XML Data Caching for high data volume performance. They presented it at their annual sales meeting last month and it stole the show. The excitement generated was so contagious, the VP and Director responsible spent the evening at the bar designing the next dashboard together! (I can’t wait to see that one!).

A new finance director of a global software company needed a way to provide better visibility to their financial statements and reports. She remembered using Xcelsius many years ago and said it really helped then. We put a prototype together for her in a day and everyone loved it, so they are buying it next week.

So why is Xcelsius so amazing and still slaying the BI data visualization competition everywhere? There are dozens of reasons from its ease of use, animations, ability to embed in everything, fast prototyping to its “what if” scenarios and cool components. But it goes deeper than all these features which you can also find in other BI visualization tools. The real secret to the success of Xcelsius is that it was initially designed and developed by computer gamers. To develop a winning computer game, you need to engage your audience visually, make it cool and fun to use and have limitless possibilities. You can find all these elements in Xcelsius dashboards allowing you to create killer BI applications.

That is why Xcelsius dashboards is still the best show in town. Xcelsius lives!

Update Nov 2015 : Lots of activity around Xcelsius HTML5 for deployment on mobile and on desktop with dCode add-on (www.getdcode.com). Now that Xcelsius generates HTML5 output, I see it being around for many, many more years

Update April 2016 : Xcelsius continues to thrive with many organizations using and deploying it for the first time in 2016. SAP provided updates to it with latest BI 4.2 release including full support for Excel 2013

Update Sept. 2016 : Xcelsius HTML5 definitely seems to be the dashboard solution of choice and many new add-on HTML5  components are becoming available including D3 charts, flat components and query drag and drop discover.

Update Sept 2018 : Adobe announced end of life for Flash for Dec 31, 2020 and SAP announced it would no longer support Xcelsius after this date since the development client uses Flash. While some Xcelsius users are looking for a viable alternative solution, others vow to continue to use the tool regardless. There are some new Xcelsius compatible solutions in development so let's see what materializes in the coming months.

Update Feb 2019 : Xcelsius still heavily in use. Some companies looking to replace with Tableau or PowerBI but just not the same. Web Intelligence dashboards may be a viable alternative for simple dashboards .

Update July 2019 : SAP has announced it will no longer support Xcelsius after Dec. 31, 2020 to coincide with Adobe no longer supporting Flash in the browser. However, most Xcelsius users have been generating HTML5 dashboards for a number of years now and are continuing to do so and their Xcelsius HTML5 dashboards should not be affected. SAP has no equivalent follow-on product and is recommending customers move to SAC (cloud only) and rewrite their dashboards - this will require programming skills . An alternative to Xcelsius, called Squirrel,  that requires no training for an existing Xcelsius developer and has a built-in XLF migration utility is due for beta release by InfoSol in October and will be GA in December.

Update Dec 2019 : Squirrel has been in beta for the last few weeks with multiple organizations and is scheduled for general release on Dec 31. Initial feedback is very positive with Xcelsius users who require no re-training to use it. They have been able to both migrate or recreate existing Xcelsius dashboards. This is great news for the Xcelsius community who now have another option when Flash goes away and SAP stops supporting Xcelsius in 2021.

Update May 2020 : Squirrel is now at version 1.3 with multiple Xcelsius customers having converted their dashboards and running with the Squirrel HTML5 versions in production. This appears to be a very viable path forward for those customers left with Xcelsius Flash dashboards that will probably no longer work starting in 2021.

Update Nov 2020 : Squirrel 1.6 which has a cloud based version and allows you to embed dashboards in PPT was just released last week. More and more Xcelsius customers have now successfully moved to Squirrel and companies like Salesforce are using it too. Xcelsius has about a month to go before Adobe and SAP stop all support.

Disclaimer: My company is partners with several vendors including SAP BO.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: OEM Partner of SAP
MM
Data Science Manager at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Very good dashboards and self-service BI

Pros and Cons

  • "The features that I have found most valuable are that we are able to build all dashboards with self-service BI and are able to provide our business users with self-service BI. We are building a repository on top of our data warehouse and building all the dashboards and KPIs."
  • "It would be good if they could integrate the possibility for end users to create end models for themselves that they can use, especially for site operators, and if they could provide the end user not only the self-service BI, but also the self-service analytics, based on a predefined model, the same way that Oracle did."

What is our primary use case?

We are only using the dashboards and promoting the self-service BI features. the usage is limited just to visualization. We integrated dashboards for monitoring KPIs. sending SMS' is used based on threshold in few dashboards. Otherwise, it's more used for visualization and not data mining because it requires some licenses that we didn't buy.

How has it helped my organization?

Currently we are working with the Web Intelligence on premise but we don't have a lot of features. We would like to get some more features related to predictive analytics. We are just using dashboards and monitoring KPIs on top of our data warehouse.

What is most valuable?

The features that I have found most valuable are that we are able to build all repositories needed and provide our business users with self-service BI. We are building a repository on top of our data warehouse and building all the dashboards and KPIs.

Sometimes, when monitoring our network or monitoring the KPIs, if we have something drop lower than a threshold, an email or an SMS will go out. We are using these features, but we are not using predictive modeling, clustering, or data mining. We don't have those.

What needs improvement?

In terms of what could be improved, it would be good if they could integrate the possibility for end users to create end models for themselves that they can use, especially for site operators, and if they could provide the end user not only the self-service BI, but also the self-service analytics, based on a predefined model, the same way that Oracle did (I manage Oracle, as well), because I like that feature with Oracle.

I would like them to implement analytics the same as Oracle does and have the machine learning model within their Web Intelligence.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform since 2005.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is a very stable solution and it works well.

It doesn't work in memory, only on the server side. We are not taking this benefit, but it's very stable and it's answering the need.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform's scalability is based on the need and it's not scalable based on Alfa's needs, which I believe, from a data warehouse perspective, the data is around 12 terabytes. We are not talking about petabytes.

We have 25 end users using it.

We have users from the customer experience department, the marketing department, from customer service, from finance, from budgeting, and we have the chief also working on it.

How are customer service and technical support?

I am not so satisfied with the technical support because I am opening cases but it's taking too much time.

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

We previously tried to work on Power BI and on Microsoft SharePoint. But with Power BI, there are a lot of limitations. Its visualization is very good, but you have a lot of limitations, and it uses a lot of memory. It does not provide efficiency and scalability when we are talking about a high volume of data. When you are talking about simple reports, it's very good and its visualization is great, but sometimes business users are in need of answering complex questions, so here SAP was better for me.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was not that straightforward, but we were able to manage.

We have a lot of server process and configuration, plus the agents and everything. So from an administrative perspective, it is complex, but we were able to manage because of our technical expertise.

Because we did it internally, I believe it took us two to three months.

We got the environment ready, then the repository, it was packaged by phases and by project.

We launched an RFP related to an enterprise data warehouse, then we split this RFP in phases, with data integration, data modeling and then the BI. During the BI part, we used an implementation strategy to try to implement it.

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

We have an on-premise license. We have one license for an admin and we have a license for our users, enough for 27 user licenses. We pay on a yearly basis. We are selling support, but as I said, we are using only the Web Intelligence and the dashboards. We didn't buy the other models or feature. We don't have the predictive analytics or the SAP HANA. We don't have any of that.

The servers and the preparation to go on the servers are costs beyond the licensing fees.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We checked Oracle. It used to be OBIEE back then, and in 2010 and 2005 it was not as good as today. Now, Oracle has worked a lot on their product, especially with Oracle Analytic Server. But back then, when we made the decision, it was Oracle OBIEE and it was very limited. It had bad dashboards, they were not appealing to the end users.

What other advice do I have?

SAP is a stable solution, but you need to have multi-experts to be able to maintain it.

The biggest console that we implemented is using SAP as a self-service BI. It is an incentive for business users and different stakeholders, to be able to use the self-service BI and answer their questions instantly. This is conditioning that we as IT are using the right models, the right repository, and requiring all the data for them.

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform an eight.

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.
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EAM Executive at a educational organization with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
A scalable solution for large organizations

Pros and Cons

  • "SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform is definitely scalable."
  • "There should be more integration with other platforms."

What is our primary use case?

Right now, we're using SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform for an in-house project — we don't have any customers. 

I work for an educational institute — in the main reporting area. I create different reports based on student performance using exam results and other data from various schools. In our university, we have around 20 different departments. One for Computer Science, one for Engineering, one for Audio Civil, one for Electronics, etc. I was planning to build a consolidated report that would show how our students are performing compared to other schools — a consolidated view. Then I can drill down further into individual fields. 

What is most valuable?

Big organizations can implement Business Warehouse on the cloud. Small organizations, like educational institutes, don't have that much complex data, so it doesn't make sense for them to buy Data Warehouse on the cloud. We want to use HANA and something called SLT. This will cover our replication and allows us to do modeling directly in the cloud, which is a great feature. 

What needs improvement?

As the technology stands, and from what I have researched at this particular point in time, companies that don't have much complex transaction data available on a day-to-day basis, don't need Business Warehouse or Data Warehouse on the cloud. We want to use SAP Analytics Cloud directly and do our data modeling on HANA Data Modular. This would really help because we wouldn't need separate licensing for Data Warehouse and for SAP, etc. We could remove all of this. We could do everything with HANA and SAP.

There should be more integration with other platforms. 

Everybody wants to use SAP Business Intelligence. Because we need a Business Warehouse or a Data Warehouse, we have to create a universe consisting of everything that we'll use as an input in BI. For this reason, we have a lot of dependencies. We require connection with the two different platforms. If we were to use HANA, then we wouldn't need Business Warehouse or Data Warehouse — we could just use SAP Analytics Cloud. We could use SAP Analytics Cloud as a standalone solution for reporting purposes and we could also use Business Intelligence as a standalone solution for reporting. 

This should be fixed so that companies don't require three separate licenses for three separate applications. Not everyone has that kind of a budget. It should be an all-in-one solution — this only turns away potential customers. If SAP provided a feature like standalone BI, we could use it directly, access ERP, get the data we need and start building reports. Single application licensed universities are ready to pay for that. But when it's three to four different applications, it's beyond their budget. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have worked in data services for the last eight to nine years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I haven't used all of the features yet, so I can't answer this question properly. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform is definitely scalable. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't connected with support because we're using it for an in-house project. We installed it and work on it ourselves so we haven't had to contact them regarding SAP. Regarding ERP issues they are proactively able to help clients. We're a client for SAP. They've been able to help us. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial installation is quite simple for me, but for inexperienced users, it may be difficult.

What about the implementation team?

At my previous job, I deployed this solution myself. Deployment took two to three days.

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

As of now, we don't pay for a license. I think SAP has a program in which they give free access to Analytics Cloud for our university. Under that scheme, I have access to SAP Analytics Cloud, where I have explored different features; however, I don't have access to BI.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I am interested in SAP for the cloud because where I work, we have SAP ERP on the HANA Cloud. Currently, we don't have a license for SAP Analytics Cloud. That's why I'm exploring different methods to implement it. Currently, Business Warehouse is on-premise but I am planning to upgrade it to the cloud.

What other advice do I have?

Although I haven't been able to use the BI portion, I would give this solution rating of eight. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Paul Kellett
BI Practioner - Consultant at KIS Ltd
Real User
Top 5
Good reporting and promotes a common view of information across the organisation

Pros and Cons

  • "The common metadata environment means that the entire organisation has the same definition of core measures rather than these being derived in spreadsheets or specific reports."
  • "This solution is complex to configure and administer."

What is our primary use case?

I have several use cases, generally in more complex environments. These are typically corporate, requiring functionality such as strong data security, bursting, metadata-based support, scalability, fault tolerance, load balancing, support for high volume, breadth of functionality in one set of products, etc. 

It has been used in Retail, Construction, Banks, and Insurance organisations.

It works well for organisations where a structured, common, and more disciplined view of larger, more complex information is required. This is generally with more complex and multiple source systems with larger volumes of information.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution provides much greater and faster access to information for a wide mixture of users. It supports and promotes a common view of information across the organisation. It also removes dependence on spreadsheets and technical resource for report generation.

It supports a wide range of types of users. It is particularly effective for information consumers. Ad Hoc information access and simpler self-service are well supported. Once we had the foundation in place, we also found we could provide most reports in under an hour for smaller company environments. Because of change control, the latter rarely happens in corporate environments but the effort involved was reduced.

What is most valuable?

The common metadata environment means that the entire organisation has the same definition of core measures rather than these being derived in spreadsheets or specific reports. It also provides a structured data security model whereby a single report provides dedicated results to a given usage, such as a branch or department-based. For instance, the same report will provide a branch-specific result depending on the user's branch and can be common to multiple branches.

Similarly, bursting enables provision of tailored static reporting to specific users or user groups that also includes data security.

What needs improvement?

This solution is complex to configure and administer. It is even more so, I believe, than it should be, even with such a complex product. As an example it has many server processes (typically 15+). In Windows these are not services rather they are individual processes managed via a single service called the SIA. Each server process can be separately configured and performs a specific set of functions

It uses Java constructions for specific customisations such as default reporting formats and using SSL for burst email reports. This requires a broad set of skills to set-up.

It is rather cryptic in its error handling when there are issues that require trawling through a number of voluminous log files that are accessed from the server.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for more than ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Reliability dropped in 2017-2018 with a major release but indications are that this has been addressed.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Very scalable across thousands (if not 10,000+) users and large data volumes.

How are customer service and technical support?

Average. Technical support from SAP is mediocre. The local support is decent.

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

I've used many different BI solutions. The choice was the customer's. 

How was the initial setup?

See earlier comments but a vanilla install is not too complex.  The moment it is not vanilla it becomes quite complex. The SAP website for software management, downloads, licenses etc makes the Da Vinci Code look simple.

What about the implementation team?

Mix of contractors and vendor. The vendor is skillful though overworked resources.

What was our ROI?

No Idea

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

Cost to setup and run is high as it is complex but then again one also gets a highly functional product. SAP do have a small business pricing so, at least, the licensing is not too expensive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The most comparable product is MicroStrategy, which is frankly a better technical product but has not been as commercially successful outside of large sites.

What other advice do I have?

I am a great believe in choosing a commercially successful product rather than technical best of breed as there is nothing worse than having an 'orphan' product. That being a product that is poorly supported, does not have a development path and limited availability of expertise. Business Objects is a commercially successful product and despite SAP's poor management of the product is likely to continue to be so.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

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

Other
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Senior BI consultant
Popoola Adams
Director at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 10
Robust in terms of security and integration, quite scalable, and good for building well-formatted reports

Pros and Cons

  • "If I were to compare it with Power BI and I wanted to build proper well-formatted reports, BusinessObjects Business Intelligence does that much better. Power BI is just getting into that space. They've concentrated more on visualization, which is what the SAP Lumira does. With Web Intelligence, you are able to build reports that users can interact with. They can also do a lot of querying themselves. It is robust in terms of security and integration. It is also quite scalable."
  • "I don't like the fact that I have to use two tools. Web Intelligence is good for reporting and all kinds of stuff, but I would rather have one product. All the reporting features of Web Intelligence should be developed within Lumira. A lot of predictive abilities have been brought into the cloud version of SAP Analytics. It would be nice to see a lot of newer technologies and AI. Predictive capabilities are becoming a little more standard. Instead of having to get another model, we are just looking for one solution to deal with analytics including predictive."

What is most valuable?

If I were to compare it with Power BI and I wanted to build proper well-formatted reports, BusinessObjects Business Intelligence does that much better. Power BI is just getting into that space. They've concentrated more on visualization, which is what the SAP Lumira does. With Web Intelligence, you are able to build reports that users can interact with. They can also do a lot of querying themselves.

It is robust in terms of security and integration. It is also quite scalable.

What needs improvement?

I don't like the fact that I have to use two tools. Web Intelligence is good for reporting and all kinds of stuff, but I would rather have one product. All the reporting features of Web Intelligence should be developed within Lumira.

A lot of predictive abilities have been brought into the cloud version of SAP Analytics. It would be nice to see a lot of newer technologies and AI. Predictive capabilities are becoming a little more standard. Instead of having to get another model, we are just looking for one solution to deal with analytics including predictive.

For how long have I used the solution?

My first engagement with SAP BI was in 1998, so it has been more than 20 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Its environment is quite robust, especially when it is on-premise.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SAP BI is quite scalable. It supports multiple servers and multiple combinations of landscapes. It is quite good. You can add more servers to get better performance. You can also separate services. You can separate the application server from the webserver. If you want to deploy a large on-premise setup, it would be the way to go.

How are customer service and technical support?

I work for an SAP partner company. We were the first SAP BusinessObjects partners in Nigeria, which is where I'm based. We've been partners since '98. Our goal as consultants is to be as self-sufficient as possible. We hardly need to get in touch with tech support because we are self-sufficient.

How was the initial setup?

The installation of SAP BI is an extensive function. Typically with an SAP installation, you need a combination of on-premise and cloud. The cloud functionality is still evolving and maturing. As compared to Power BI, it would take a lot more work. However, if I went the way of Lumira, I could use Lumira Desktop standalone, and I get to use the features.

What about the implementation team?

We have our own team for maintenance within our company. We used to have five people, but we have scaled down to just two full-time employees. We also have a number of people who are available on request.

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

I have always found SAP BI to be expensive. It is expensive even when you compare SAP BI Cloud with Microsoft Power BI. Power BI is probably around $9.99 per month, and the cheapest SAP BI is around $20, which is double. In terms of price, Power BI is definitely a lot better. If you have budget issues, you may want to go for Power BI.

What other advice do I have?

I will be a bit biased, and I would definitely recommend SAP BI. It is a bit more robust and mature as compared to Power BI. Power BI keeps changing every day, which is not a bad thing considering how old it is. For a serious setup, I would rather use SAP BI, but I look forward to having one tool rather than two.

I would rate SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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MC
Business Intelligence Functional Manager BU SAP at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
MSP
Top 20
Easy to manage with good features for broadcasting information or scheduling reports

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution's user security is extremely effective. You can profile very well. All the users and all the functionality is protected and that includes information and data segregation."
  • "The self-service area, or dashboard, needs some improvement. While the reporting itself is great, the dashboard and Analytics Cloud are not user friendly."

What is most valuable?

The reporting is the most valuable aspect of the solution. The WebIntelligence Solution is the name of the reporting solution and it is very powerful. 

The solution offers very good features for broadcasting information or scheduling reports. You can schedule everything and make it very easy to disseminate by sending emails with a PDF or Excel. It's very quick and powerful.  

The solution's user security is extremely effective. You can profile very well. All the users and all the functionality is protected and that includes information and data segregation.

The documentation provided is very, very good. There's so much available, that if you ever run into any issues and need a workaround, you have it right there to guide you.

The solution offers good user management.

What needs improvement?

The self-service area, or dashboard, needs some improvement. While the reporting itself is great, the dashboard and Analytics Cloud are not so user friendly.

SAP's current strategy consists in keeping the reporting part On premise and delegating the Analytics part to the Cloud. You are therefore involved in a hybrid scenario.

The complete environment setup is pretty complex.

To carry out a real project that presents erp / business data on "Cloud Story Telling" you need more specialist actors who manage issues such as: Analytics and Data architecture, Data source identification, System Compatibility, Connectivity and Security.

These aspects are certainly also required on other vendor BI solutions.

On the SAP front, we are certainly trying to improve and complete the On Premise / Cloud integration, with the latest version SAP BO 4.3.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been working with the solution for twenty years now. It's been a very long time. I started using it around 1998.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable, and, on the off chance you have a problem, SAP is very quick to help. There are lots of workarounds if you do run into issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

You can scale this solution if you need to. It's easy enough to do so.

How are customer service and technical support?

One of the great things about SAP is the information that is available. When you have a problem, SAP is very quick to give you an answer or solution. You can also Google a lot of workarounds. There's so much documentation online that it's really easy to troubleshoot. That's because if anyone has a problem, SAP notes it and finds a solution which they post.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not straightforward. It's pretty complex.

The installation configuring environment is not so easy to work with. Also, the connection of the SAP Analytics Cloud is very complex.  It's not very easy to configure the environment.

The time I need to configure and install the solution is about one week for the BusinessIntelligence Platform solution, On premise. Another week is required for the connectivity aspect and settings of the Cloud (Analytics).

What other advice do I have?

We are working with an older version also well as the latest version of the solution. 

I would recommend this product to other organizations. It's a stable and powerful enterprise solution. Everything from the broadcasting to the scheduling, to the user management and the reporting, is very powerful. 90% of customers end up asking for a solid and consistent reporting solution. In these cases, I definitely suggest SAP Business Objects Platform.

That said, the dashboard isn't the best with this product.  It should be noted that SAP is working on their dashboards offerings in Cloud environment.

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

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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