What are the differences between Tableau and SAP Business Objects?

What are the differences between Tableau and SAP Business Objects?

I’m new to Tableau and I would like to know whether it has any middle layer like there is a Universe in Business Objects? If so, what is it called?

55 Answers

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Sorry, I do not know Tableau, I know BO just for upgrading old reports. I use Qlikview.

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Basically and besides for some differences between tools, Business Objects has "direct access" to data allocated on SAP DBs, since SAP storage has its own data structure and even its own indexes and the DBMS are used just as a repository or mapping tool. This means that access to SAP data is not a trivial task.

I don't remember at this moment if Tableau has interface modules with SAP but anyways my advice is: If you are using SAP ERP and technology then you have a big budget for your project and therefore just use the "native" tools that will let you access to SAP easily. If you are playing as a BI Consultant and needs to access SAP at a lower cost try Arcplan instead that have direct SAP connectors. Otherwise if you just need data mining on a regular DW or a set of application tables you should use Tableau, Qlikview or Arcplan -my favorites.


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Tableau and Business Objects come from two different (although overlapping) segments of the BI space. BO is an enterprise BI platform and Tableau is a data discovery tool.

Tableau doesn’t have a semantic layer comparable to a BO Universe, this is both a strength and a weakness. The user connects directly to the data sources and is exposed to the schemas in their native form. The advantage is that the user can be completely self-sufficient, all they need from IT is data access. And they don’t need to know much about the data before they can start exploring it. Tableau is also very good at data visualization.

We use both Microstrategy and Tableau, the former is comparable to BO. We have a number users who use both tools.

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Tableau is a data exploration and visualization tool with an in memory
feature. There is no middle layer like BO (universe). BO is an enterprise
product and so many tools falls under the umbrella. Xcelcius can be
equivalent to Tableau ....

In Tableau you create your own data sources with the help of odbc. Just
like Crystal Reports. The advantage being that Tableau compresses and stores its data internally in a compressed format and through the In memory feature its quite faster.

You can create your own hierarchies on the fly, can do any amount of
analysis on data visualization, drilling is very easy and it's very user

As it's a visualization and exploration solution ... You can't have basic styles like
section breaks of BO.

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Beginning with version 7.0.4, Tableau supports connecting directly SAP® Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW) using the Tableau SAP BW connector. The Tableau SAP BW connector uses the OLE DB for OLAP provider and issues live queries to SAP BW using the MDX query language. One benefit to this type of connection is that you will always connect to the latest data. Additionally, the connection experience is very similar to using Tableau with other OLAP data sources, such as Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services and Oracle Essbase. Beginning with Tableau 8.1 the Tableau SAP BW connector also supports data connections using extracts. For more information about using SAP BW extracts, see SAP BW Extract limitations.

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