As you know, I’m currently covering SAPPHIRE as a blogger. But as a BI person, I’m also interested in what would be said about BO and how existent BI (Bex) users should look at it. As you know from a From The Grumpy Old Man: Throwing Out the Baby With the Bathwater concerning a Business Objects for Higher Education, it’s rather vague to me when I need do depend on such kind of information.
Again, I don’t have anything against the new direction one is going into, in the contrary. I strongly applaud the ‘new’ technologies which could bring BI frontend to a next level. Yes, it isn’t new indeed. Business Objects has been there for a long while now and SAP customers are already using the software. My personal concerns are about the users who aren’t using BO (yet) and have invested a lot of time and effort in the ‘ancient’ BI (Bex) technology. How will SAP will ‘reward’ this loyalty? Or are they left in the cold?
Things shown were certainly flashy and impressive, which is off course needed as a sales pitch. One needs to convert as many souls as possible. But not a single word was said about BI. It’s just one single vowel different, but one which one can’t get ones tongue round. I must say that I didn’t learn anything until yesterday afternoon.
As a blogger, I had the opportunity to attend the BO press conference and after the initial presentation I could ask some question. Here’s my report on how I understood things:
Q: You said earlier that SAP customers can start right now using BO, but the roadmap only speaks about things starting from 2009 on for joined effort products?
A: That’s indeed the case. This roadmap on SDN is for existent BI (Bex) customers on how the plans look right now and how to move on.
Q: Speaking about existent BI (Bex) users, how will you help people to migrate towards the new tools in order that people don’t need to kick out their work and investments and start from scratch.
A: The support for BI (Bex) doesn’t stop today. SAP will support it for a long time. Pioneer is one of the products on the roadmap which will interest people who are used working with BI Bex and will maintain the MS Excel approach.
Q: What about licensing? I understood that Business Objects have their own licensing policy.
A: A lot of SAP customers are already using BO and we will check with the customers for the licensing.
Q: What about people who don’t have any Business Objects? Will they have to pay out the full license.
A: Yes, it’ll come to this
Q: SAP has a vertical product line with focus on the different industries, whereas BO doesn’t.
A: It is clear that we need to pay attention to it and we’re are currently looking on how to achieve things.
So are things are become more clear for me? Yes and no. I guess I’m bit a impatient about things and smooth folds out eventually. The only problem with this is the fact that companies are wanting to start projects today and asking themselves which way to go in order not to lose track and do the correct investments.
Maybe this community can help to clear out things too. The SCN mentors had to chance to have a meeting with Zia Yusuf , Mark Yolton and Chip Rodgers. I asked if it was possible to merge/integrate with the Business Objects community. Both ends – if you want to look at it the ‘us against them’ way – can learn from and help each other. This remark was given a warm welcome.
I hope that it doesn’t end like in the nightmare I had the other night. What if one said: ‘At the end, you don’t need BI anymore, not even the backend. What’s the use making extractors and putting everything in a DSO/ODS or a cube whereas Business Objects can connect directly to the R/3 system?’. I hope that dream never comes true.