BI Reports for business users - which BI solutions should we choose?

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For a company which has been using SAP BO and Microsoft BI for many years and is looking for a BI solution which business users can use to create reports without involving IT, which solutions are the easiest and the best choice?

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George VigilReal User

Your Collegue may want to look at Tableau.

Like (0)30 July 14
Anonymous avatar x30
Krish KompellaReal UserTOP 20

All the traditional BI platforms including Business Objects and Microsoft Reporting services and Analysis services require IT involvement almost at every step in preparing the data and report.

Self serve BI is the promise to these business analysts without technology background. However following characteristics are a must to meet the self serve BI dream.
- BI tool should be capable of reading data from its source without a dependency on ETL or a warehouse.
- While a dimensional model gives most flexibility for ad hoc data analysis, it brings a overhead of consistent modeling mindset requiring very technical background.
- Ability to convert grid data into visualization and vice versa with few clicks
- Ability to mashup multiple analysis from multiple sources on to a single screen.
- Finally a framework that let's end users seamlessly build their analysis while IT can throttle, govern, audit and scale end user data needs with a great amount of automation behind the scenes as a continuous process as opposed to be a pre process.

Two such platforms I have come across are
1) Tableau
2) CarbonBI

Like (0)30 July 14
Anonymous avatar x30

Hello,

I think Microstrategy has a good choice. Any doubts look at
www.microstrategy.com

Like (0)30 July 14
Software125805 li?1414334860
wjgrayReal User

These solutions seem good for Visualizations. I like Pentaho personally. Wondering why the this suggestion hasn't been made??

Like (0)30 July 14
Andrew mcswiggan li?1414334204

Sap business objects can provide a sophisticated self service solution that is very easy for the end users to engage with for both ad hoc analysis and report writing and distribution. However as with all Bi solutions the back end data warehouse must be designed intelligently and business objects universes configured correctly. The same thing really applies no matter what toolset you select. If you already have business objects then it makes sense to ask IT to set it up as a self service solution rather than look for another technology. If IT do not have the skills then look for a good consultant to perform a review of your BI solution and make recommendations.

Like (0)29 July 14
Anonymous avatar x30
Keith BreedloveConsultant

Nick,

Good comments similar to the points I was making. I think that it is still
important to consider how much data you expect to be dealing with, the
tool's analytical architecture (ROLAP or MOLAP), the sophistication of your
analyst end users, and how complex your reports are likely to be. If you
or the analysts expect that solution development is going to be in the
hands of the analyst, then the tool needs to be relatively easy to learn.
On the last point, if you expect a lot of slicing-and-dicing you need an
architecture that will support the high indexing load. Anyway, success and
use acceptance is not just a question of apparent simplicity and seemingly
low cost.

regards,

Keith Breedlove
Polyglot Analytics, LLC
Groveland, FL

Like (0)29 July 14
Anonymous avatar x30

I suggest Power Data, the new Microsoft develop.

Like (0)29 July 14
Anonymous avatar x30

Try Tableau.

Like (0)29 July 14
Avishek kundu li?1414336791
Avishek KunduReal UserTOP 20

I would suggest looking at Tableau for requirements of self-service nature. The success factor for a self service tool depends on the ease-of-use for the end-user who is less proficient in IT skills and the range of tasks it allows the end user to accomplish. Tableau scores highly on both these parameters. Backed by a well designed data mart, Tableau can be the solution that pretty much allows the end user to replace the need for IT. It has excellent training materials available in one-click and many forums where people are ready share their cool experiences. Developing a report in Tableau for me was more like playing a video game, a throughly enjoyable experience to get to a cool end-product. You want the end-users to cherish the process of creation and Tableau does that with ease.

Like (0)29 July 14
Reviewer74586 li?1414329857
reviewer74586Real UserTOP 20

I would focus on Tableau and MicroStrategy (we went with MSTR several years ago to supplant BO), although QlickView has its proponents for ease of use...

Like (0)28 July 14
Anonymous avatar x30
Keith BreedloveConsultant

I've been looking at these tools for a lot of years from the perspective of an end user analyst. I think that the best, all-round solution is MicroStrategy. MicroStrategy has focused on end user enablement and for a number of years now has offered true solution development through a browser front end. But under the covers, MicroStrategy's strength is three-fold; 1 - a single metadata repository (database) that integrates all the objects in the system, including user metadata, 2 - a stellar multi-pass SQL generator powered by that metadata (so you avoid manual scripting), and 3 - a ROLAP architecture that offers unlimited scalability. For years now, both Gartner BI MQs and the BI Survey have highlighted MicroStrategy's strengths when dealing with very large data sets and its low TCO. From an end user perspective, if one uses a MOLAP architecture (i.e., multidimensional cubes), you find your analytical questions often fall into the "white space" between cubes, which means going back to the IT shop to have a new cube constructed. Note that this delay kills response time. MicroStrategy is much more amenable to gracefully extending access to meet the new requirements and in many cases, this can be done by the end user, while they are in the course of their analysis. In addition to all of this, MicroStrategy has been in the BI business since it's founding and his built all of its capabilities from the ground up (thus the single metadata), is backed by a robust training organization, and has seen probably most of the analytical problems (at the data processing level) that are likely to come up. It would be worth your while to check out MicroStrategy's web site and download their comparison reports (MSTR vs Tableau, among others, for example) and the most recent copy of Gartner's Magic Quadrant for BI applications. Bottom line, be wary of newer applications that work fine with smaller data sets, but then don't scale, or that still require too much manual scripting to answer the tough questions.

Like (0)28 July 14
Patrick de witt li?1414329470
Patrick de WittConsultantTOP 5

It depends more on having insight on the datamodel and how difficult the
reports will get that they will need. Even with BO from SAP or Microsoft
BI you can do it without IT if you have enough insight and authorization.
If you are looking more in the direction of analyzing and dashboarding I
would at the moment suggest either SAP Lumira or Tableau. I have a slight
preference for Tableau, but as they already now SAP, Lumira will probably
has less impact for them.

Like (0)28 July 14
Anonymous avatar x30
reviewer77067Consultant

Hi, I suggest you use Arcplan which already has SAP connectors. As you may know SAP does not use a DB in a traditional way. It uses a DB as data repository and access method but actually it control its own architecture so you cannot see what you want using a regular query. To access SAP data it is necessary to use "connectors" for different functional modules.  Arcplan has developed its own connectors to extract data and for interfaces design and building is totally graphic.

Regards,

Marcelo

Like (0)28 July 14
Picture 1226 1362011135
Chuck HooperConsultantTOP REVIEWERPOPULAR

Simple answer=Tableau. Easiest to get started with, and, has incredible capabilities once you get into it. Self Service BI is always problematic - users, typically, need some IT help. Tableau minimizes that situation - you can go directly at any data you have access rights for. The reply from reviewer91872 is spot on... I do training classes on Tableau - always amazed at the excitement new users experience when they can do great things, quickly!

Like (0)28 July 14
Picture 1897 1365060665
David SelibReal User

The question was ...

For a company which has been using SAP BO and Microsoft BI for many years
and is looking for a BI solution which business users can use to create
reports without involving IT, which solutions are the easiest and the best
choice?

My first thought was ... if they are using SAP BO, why haven't the folks in
charge of implementing and maintaining the current BO installation
engineered a self-service solution using the toolset? BO is highly
tailorable and can be configured to be a 'drag-and-drop' environment (at
the report/document level, not at the 'query panel' level)?

Of course, self-service reporting environments -- no matter what the
reporting tool in this case SSRS or BO -- mandate a suitably engineered
data infrastructure that can support self-service. This includes a very
thorough analysis and documentation of report requirements and the
subsequent orderly organization of reports (not to mention the supporting
data architecture and management) directed to each type of reporting
agenda. This is a bit of effort to do this but it is required to have a
sustainable self-service reporting environment. The important message
here is that the toolset alone, eg BO, cannot get you there.

*David Selib*

Like (0)28 July 14
Reviewer91872 li?1414330324
Ron BayesReal UserTOP 20

We have been using Tableau for a few years. It has an Excel pivot drag and drop type feel but allows for great reporting and analysis. We've tested it with new users who have never used Tableau or familiar with the underlying data and were able to create some impressive reports and a dynamic dashboard within 30 minutes with little instruction.

So why are you not wanting to involve IT in your report development? Are you trying to lessen the impact on your IT resources?

Like (0)28 July 14
Anonymous avatar x30
Nick RosarioReal UserTOP 20

We have tried many BI / Analytic solutions, Cognos (all studios, cubes,
etc), Tableau, QlikTech, Oracle BI, just to mention a few. Here is my
conclusion:

1- Doesn't matter how easy or intuitive is your front end tool, if you
don't have a solid back end you wont have a good user adoption rating.
2- You need to have a solid plan to train your user community on the tool
and another training on your data / metadata
3- Create a community and try to organize monthly meetings, on witch they
can share new information and techniques

QlikView is nice and simple, but it gets messy if you don't know what you
are doing.
Cognos is very solid and it has new functionality, they are coming with
some fresh stuff after 10.1.1 ( now on 10.2.1 FP3). it could server your
purpose if you leverage workspace and dynamic query mode.
Oracle BI, if you have oracle products (customer care and billing,
enterprise one, etc) is a no brainer, just try to plug a secondary front
end tool to help on the short comings.

Hope that helps.

Thanks.

Like (0)28 July 14
Sylvain depont li?1414337289

Hi,
I'm looking the same thing, but unfortunately, BO & MSBI can't be the right thing. So now I implemented ReportOne Myreport solution. It was very efficient, but limited for the Excel end user without knowledge.
So now I have to keep a main reporting solution around MSBI to implement high level BI report for the IT guys.
Regards,

Like (0)28 July 14
Add aazaria

When looking into a new Bi solution you need to consider a few things:

1. Is it a full stack solution? (front & Back end)
2. How much scripting & coding including sql you will need to create a report?
3. Does the solution supports the amounts of data you expecting in the new few years?
4. Does it support multi data sources ?

I would suggest SiSense as the best platform that supports all the above and more.
http://www.sisense.com

Good Luck

Like (0)28 July 14
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