This week sees the release of the new NetWeaver 2004s rampup. But if you were in Dusseldorf like me last week you were able to see it before. SAP’s development did a great job the last year and a half (or so) and made the BI jump a step ahead. If you weren’t there and just want to know what lies ahead here is the summary of the two days. The BI conference started with a big surprise to me. All topics were held in English with simultaneous translation into German. Every visitor received a head gear to switch between the different presentations and all the presentations were in one big hall. While it was a cultural shock at first it turned out to be great throughout the two days. If some slides aren’t interesting to you just switch to the next presentation. And with all the people in one hall you really had a chance to find someone if you were looking for him. But what is new within BI? For me the hottest topics of the conference were:– Integrated PlanningPlanning and Reporting in the same tool is finally possible. The whole tool looks well thought and it seems easier to use than the old BPS. The only disadvantage: You need to migrate your old BPS scenarios which might be quite a lot of work but if you find the time it seems to be worth the effort. – Printing and AdobeWeb printing looks really cool. Just use the Print button and a window opens where you can set all scaling and line break setups you like. The next click either delivers a PDF or directly prints the PDF to the printer. Simple and powerful. – Enterprise Data WarehousingThere were lots of presentations about EDW. Take a look at it in the conference slides. Volkswagen told us that they have an EDW with more than 800 ODS objects (that are now called Data Stores) and managing that takes a lot of effort. But they seemed to have done a good job there. – Formatted ReportingBetween Query and Web Template there is a new feature now, the Report. The Report is a kind of formatted Query that can be displayed in Excel or Web. So if you want to enter just an empty row between two other rows or paint one column in a different color you are now able to do it. And it seems to be easier to use. By the way the Query Designer handling has improved quite a lot. Things like the properties bar or filter values that an be changed during query navigation are excellent ideas and I’m looking forward to using these features a lot. – TransformationsWhen you don’t do a lot of programming in your transfer and update rules SAP has made life easier for you. Instead of using transfer rule, InfoSource and update rule you can now use transformations. Transformations are modelled by a graphical tool to do the mapping which looks quite nice and seems to be a bit easier to use if you have multiple rules sets. And the best thing is: You have an end routine. Finally you’re able to manipulate the data in the cube structure. – BI AcceleratorI must admit that I still don’t know the correct naming. While referred to in all the presentations as HPA (High Performance Analytics) its name was changed slightly before the conference and it is now officially called BI accelerator. For a better explanation look at Thomas’ Comparing the BI Accelerator (f.k.a. HPA) to Traditional RDBMS Technology. It seems that it is quite hot if used in the right situation. The evening event was very nice, good food, good music and a chance to play lots of different games. You really missed something (as I missed the SDN booth 😉 So you want to be among the first to use these excellent features? All the presentations were asking for Ramp-Up customers. Just contact your local sales person and ask for details.