What are viable alternatives to SAP Business Objects Enterprise?

Currently, I am using SAP BO Enterprise and running on Oracle.

I'm looking for a much less expensive solution. It's not enough to use MS SQL instead of Oracle. 

I'm still profiling the SAP BOE implementation, but would like to head towards a DWH implementation that users can report off. Various users have mentioned in passing: PowerBI, Qlik, Tableau. 

At this point, the only solid knowledge I have is that management want to get rid of SAP and Oracle.

Any recommendations?

66 Answers

author avatar
Top 5Real User

There is no easy way to convert or replace BusinessObjects which is why most BusinessObjects customers today are in a state of co-existence (BO-Tableau being the most popular followed by BO-PowerBI). Since neither Tableau nor PowerBI are great at BI reporting, customers keep BO for the reporting and use Tableau/PowerBI for data discovery and visualization. You should look at right-sizing your BO deployment to save on costs. For the DWH, if you are looking at Cloud then Snowflake or Azure are the most popular with BO customers

author avatar
Top 5LeaderboardMSP

So, operating with a segment of our client base, mostly commercial stage startups where the staff comes from larger, national firms, we often get a directive: We want new infrastructure software and it can be anything as long as it's not Tier One (SAP/Oracle and similar). I guess the $5m upgrades were getting old at their previous companies. 

Also, with the Covid issue last year, many companies had to pivot very quickly to stay alive. Looking at a SAP 18-24 month rollout was looking company death in the eye, so again, please perform the impossible with the unlikely were the marching orders. 

Fortunately, around 2014 we'd started what we called 'component software' which relied on made for cloud backends (NetSuite/Acumatica/Intaact). Mostly because these were recent (in relative terms) developments but more because of being built to integrate with other external systems, along with an open development toolsets  - what we couldn't find to integrate, we could develop ('we'- being the developers we could find to handle the job). 

That approach has helped a lot of the early stage startups through the IPO process and launched into initial 5 year growth stages. We've also implemented NetSuite sub systems so we could launch eCommerce or other pivot options quickly and they're feeding financials to backend SAP/Oracle. 

In any case, we have some relatively large clients who've had substantial success with this approach, and if your management is serious about parachuting out of Tier One, perhaps you could set up your backend data in a more easily reportable structure (just a wild stab - not knowing the real issues). 

I'd also point you toward the FP&A side instead of BI if it's truly reporting that's needed. Anaplan/Host/Hyperion - (I think Hyperion has undergone rewrites, the verision we mostly use is the NetSuite Planning Budgeting and Analytics - which the users say, "Oh look, it's Hyperion").

Hope some of that is relevant to what you're looking for. 

author avatar
Top 5LeaderboardReal User


You cannot build a DWH by using PowerBI, Qlik or Tableau as they are mainly data visualization platforms. Qlik does have its own tool but it creates proprietary datasets that cannot be accessed from outside Qlik. It seems you want a data mart tool instead of a DWH as you want users to be able to create reports. Please look into my review of SAS Data Integration studio for a better idea.

author avatar

@RaviLagu You are right.  I didn't state it clearly that those were reporting tools that various users had stated experience with.
The DWH is to support the existing reporting off of the BOE universes that I want to replace.  
Ultimately, I'm going to need to replace and augment.  As we're looking at joining several org's feeds, we'll be hosting a data hub and offering shared feeds.
Personally, I don't *mind* Qlik, but I mainly worked w/ QlikView, and was not a great fan of the way they work and embed data.

author avatar
Top ReviewerTop 20Real User

I'd second looking into Snowflake, Big Query or Redshift for your DW (and would lean toward Snowflake). I'd also recommend doing some research on Looker. For us, and likely for some others, it has been a viable alternative to Business Objects (and Data Cubes). Tableau, while arguably the strongest data viz tool, doesn't lend itself well to business user, drag and drop report authoring and/or report scheduling and distribution. I believe Qlik was a little stronger here with their acquisition of nPrinting a ways back, but it's been a long time since I've worked with Qlik in any capacity.   

author avatar


It would be great to know a little more about your architecture and problems to be more helpful.

But as a general guide, something like BigQuery (Redshift/Snowflake) would work as your "DWH" and Qlik/Tableau/Looker/PowerBI/Datastudio would work as your visualization tools.

author avatar
Real User

Managements want to get rid of a lot of things but at the end of the day some other guys are responsible for the seamless replacement and migration of those things :)..

BO lets you set your reporting layer(Universe in BO World) on ANY data model with any complexity, literally on ANY! You don't have this option in Tableau. So how complex is your environment?

DWH: you want to replace Oracle with SQL Server. SQL Server may not perform so well compared to Oracle. Ok Oracle ist costly, but once it has the data in memory, it is lightning fast for any selects.

So if you stick to BO-Oracle the only thing left is the need of replicating the data to DWH/Oracle. And there are some replication solutions in the markt..

As last since you hardware is fast, you can virtualize(DB Views) your modelling/cleansing needs.

So it means you can survive without ETL's in your old solution! against additional costs for BO/Oracle. (virtualize(DB Views) your modelling/cleansing needs if you don't need to historize the data)

 I would look at two things in your place: How complex is my reporting layer, what are some complex queries hitting the db's? to ease answering the question: Can Tableau/SQL Server pair can master the tasks I have?

2. I would look at the most complex use case(universe) I have : copy the relevant data to Sql Server and try to implement the reports in Tableau what you originally had at BO on Oracle. It is a costly effort but just look at the future: you migrated to Tableau/SQL Server and things are not going as you dreamed of! ;)

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