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From The Grumpy Old Man: Throwing Out the Baby With the Bathwater

I was rather thrilled when I saw a Business Objects for Higher Educationappear in my RSS reader about Business Objects within the Higher Education market since these are two areas where I’m active in. Sadly enough, this excitement turned into a disappointment. So I decided to add a few lines of comment to this blog, but since the words kept flowing, I decided to turn this into a blog.

I totally agree with Bhanu’s comment. This blog has to me no added value at all and contains nothing more than hollow marketing crap. Sorry is this hurts Marco, but I like to say things in straight words.

First of all, this blog puts forward that there wasn’t any tool available for the Higher Education (and Research) market before Business Objects. This is rather strange for an SAP employee to say and he seems to forget SAP’s own product called BEx. I didn’t see anything about it in this blog at all and even the server end of BI isn’t mentioned at all!.
Four year old articles on SCN like show that there IS something available for my sector.

And yes, not everything is perfect, especially after the release of the BEx suite 7 where SAP is somewhat wide off the mark. First of all it changed the BEx Analyzer in such way that even wintered users loose track. The Web Application Designer has even lost the table interface with the result that people (still) don’t have a proper way to format BI data to their desire.

A simple layout like

Title (dependable on gender of person) Name First_name
Postal_code City

is not possible to interface with the current WAD. This is not understandable in times of flashy desktop applications, widgets, etc.

A last example is the report designer which is a joke and can’t be taken seriously. It’s much easier, faster and more flexible to create a BSP application which reads the BI data and you convert things on the fly with e.g. HTMLDOC (see also

In certainly hope that the BO tools can finally bring consolation but -personally- I will not yield to temptation though to kick out everything we’ve built up all the years that the BEx suite exists like Marco/SAP seem to do. It is rather strange that SAP was promoting BI Visual Composer as the perfect management tool last year at SAPphire where one seems to say the opposite this year. I  know that one will say that BEx will be supported for x years, but the problems with the current release will not be solved though.

Sure, SAP has acquired a company with its product and you want to promote this as much as possible since one needs to make one’s money / capital work. I understand this very well.
But this isn’t the way to do this. Some examples and a comparison with BEx is the least I would expect over here.  A migration path and more important the price for all of this are in my eyes a must. This blog seems deliberate to obscure the fact that BO -as I understand it- will keep its own price structure and that the customers will need reaches into his pocket very deep (again).

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  • The grumpy old man beats the slightly peevish woman to the draw in the next chapter of the How to community series … this really is a question that begs asking and answering as we struggle to champion content that makes sense, provides (adds) value, is free of marketing jargon and is useful.  That’s where the voice of the customer is crucial as sounding board, mirror, reality check, quality gate.  Ratings, consensus, thought leadership on the topic of what constitutes quality will be very welcome music to our ears….  however grumpy it may sound.
    • We have tools to everybody improvement of content, maybe our expert contributors in this specific area (BI for High Education) could work together for it. I am personally working in a positive focus for my sdn contribution, with the premise to find where I can help.
      • Ignacio,

        BI for High Education as such doesn’t exist as BO for High Education probably won’t exist either. My lamentations were more general, and – based on the other comments – I don’t seem to be only one.


  • Yep – I’m waiting for the $$$ answer too. I’ve seen the Roadmap document that seems to make it clear the most of the existing reporting tools go away and are replaced by BO tools.  I’m looking forward to using them, actually, but I have not seen anything from SAP that tells me I will or will not have to pay extra for.

    I understand there are apparently premium offerings, e.g. Crystal Enterprise, and perhaps the Excelsius product,  but what I need to know in order to make plans is – will I receive BO tools at no charge if they are the replacement for an existing 7.0 BI tool?

    Shouldn’t be that hard to answer, but I haven’t found it any where and I know many, many customers that have recently upgraded to 7.0, that are trying to figure out whether they should start any development at all with the new BI 7.0 frontend tools, or should they be ordering BO tools that are to replace the BI 7.o frontend.

    If so, when can we do it, what will it cost?  Help!

  • I was at the BI conference in Orlando and asked questions on new products like outlooksoft, BO etc to every SAP employee who cared to answer. I ended up no wiser at the end.

    Answers sounded like – we support IP and outlooksoft, or we support BCS and outlooksoft etc. There was no clear direction on which way to go.

  • Grumpy has raised a point I have noticed recently. A lot of blogs which are low on content and appear to of been written in a rush or without much enthusiasum. For example explaining how you can do something but no screenshots or as you have pointed out just marketing material. When I read a blog I want to be able to scroll down and read in detail, not find that the text ends in half a page.

    Even more worrying is the fact that a lot of the poor blogs appear to of been written by SAP Employees. I do not know if SAP are pushing for people to write blogs, but if someone isn’t very interested in writing a blog and has to write one because their manager is telling them to, it isn’t always going to be very good. I haven’t written any blogs for a while as I haven’t had anything I deem interesting enough to write about.

    As for the 50 Business One blogs today… don’t get me started. One blog referring to the new entries in the WIKI would of been much better.

  • Hi Eddy,
    I see you keep fit, as always…
    Thank you very much for this contribution: besides the matter, this time it sounds you’ve written something that many of us here are turning over in mind for a long time…
    I hope SAP will be more clear on BI strategy side in the next days.