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Business Objects – SAP integration…

SAP To Acquire Business Objects In $6.8-Billion Friendly Takeover …old 2007 news. The integration process is well into its final phases. How has the integration impacted you?

One of the things SAP does not do is to keep duplicate competing products. An initial product roadmap has been announced for the Business Objects and SAP product lines. The immediate impact is on the front end tools targeting the business user community

BEx bye bye!

The plan is to

  • Replace BEx Report Designer with Crystal Reports and Crystal Reports Light
  • Replace BEx Excel Analyzer and BEx Web Analyzer with Voyager. Voyager will be renamed to Pioneer. A stripped down flavor called Pioneer Light will be available. This is an Olap analysis tool which can connect directly to cubes and BEx Queries.
  • In the Area of Dashboarding — Web Application designer will be replaced by Xcelsius, called Xclesius+ in late 2009 and beyond
  • Business Objects Polestar is an innovative search engine facilitating intuitive analysis.
  • Business Objects Web Intelligence will continue on its current path and serve the adhoc business user community. Web Intelligence requires a proprietary ‘universe’ or semantic layer for it to be able to create reports.

The latest Business Objects Enterprise release available is XIR3.1. An SAP Integration kit is available as a separate package which enables SAP and Business Objects Systems to communicate. 

There were quite a few questions in Infodays. I was intrigued by two in particular

  • 1. What will happen to the BusinessObjects Enterprise platform? Will we have a BusinessObjects powered by Netweaver in the future? The challenge here is that BusinessObjects Enterprise supports a wider variety of third party products making it harder to replace..
  • 2. What is the future of the BusinessObjects front ends – Infoview and CMC.

The field eagerly awaits details. The current BEx tools are tightly coupled with SAP. Crystal provides the widest range of options for connecting to SAP presently.  It can connect to Tables Clusters and Functions via the OpenSQL driver, talk to Infosets, Queries, cubes and the ODS and seems to be front runner. The OLAP/BAPI driver is used by Webi and Voyager and does not require the transports. Web Intelligence and Voyager  is much easier to use than Crystal and puts the power of adhoc analysis in the hands of the Business User.

SAP product set is considered strong when it comes to heirarchies, ragged – unbalanced and the kind while this has been a traditional weakness on the Business Objects front end…expect more synergies here.

( I plan to post my journey on working with the Integration kit, complete with links so that it can be retravelled, progressing to the specific toolsets of Voyager, Web Intelligence, Xcelsius in  the near term…so keep checking. comments welcome).

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  • Hi Asim,

    I think the statement 'BEx Bye Bye' is not a good fit when you consider BEx Query Designer. As per my understanding, Query Designer will be here even after complete integration of BO tools with SAP. What do you say?


    • Thats a good point Kamaljeet. With 2009 the term 'Business Intelligence' will cease to be assoicated with Netweaver and will be associated with offerings from the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio. Similary the term 'Business Objects' will cease to exist to be replaced by 'SAP BusinessObjects'. BEx is no longer a strategic direction from the front end analysis view point but investments in the existing tools will continue to be protected by maintenance agreements.
      • You mean BEx Query Designer will be replaced by Web Intelligence Report Designer? If yes, then do you think SAP Customers will be creating BO Universe on top of SAP BI backend which they already have in place? Personally I doubt on this scenario :o( If SAP is having such a strong backend system which is tightly integrated with all the modules, then why someone will create Universe for reporting purpose only? Correct me if I am wrong?

        In my view for SAP Customers the change in technology is more towards using Xcelsuis in place of WAD, and Crystal Report in place of BEx Report Designer( RD-which hardly any client is using), and offcourse some new tools (not sure how they will be utlized for current SAP Customers?) which we will get with BO. What are your views on it?


        • No I don't mean that and that's why you had a good point. BEx as a reporting front end will not be the go-forward strategic choice. BEx Query designer is not mentioned explicitly as a tool which will be replaced. Reporting will be done using a mix of Crystal,Voyager, Excelsius and Webi. So we still await exact details on its path. Currently the best practice for a universe is to use a BEx query and which requires BEx Query designer as you point out.
      • It's a surprise to me that the term 'Business Intelligence' will be replaced by 'SAP Business Objects'. While the term 'Business Intelligence' adds more sense and infact more self-explanatory, SAP Business Objects is not!
  • Hi,

    You posted a question, but no answer, so I am not quite sure about the future of BObj Enterprise Server vs Netweaver AS. My understanding from last TechEd was that both are going to survive mid term: BES for current customers, but NW AS is to be a platform for BObj tools for SAP. Is it correct?

    Thank you

    • Hi Vitaly

      Businessobjects Enterprise is a platform. It is to Business objects what Netweaver is to SAP. It is not an application server and does not compete with NW AS. The BusinessObjects product suite requires an application server for web enablement and can work with a variety of servers like Websphere,Weblogic, Tomcat and of course SAP AS to name a few..

  • Using transient info providers , data from OLTP can be reported via crystal reports. Also there is strong tendency in literature and on the market to emphasize OLTP analytics ('Operational Reporting'). But, does this mean the main emphasis would shift to OLTP reporting and OLAP reporting loses its charm?
    • I guess, to answer your question, 'Composite Applcations' is the one that will cover different kinds of applications in single application. Say OLTP reports and OLAP reports in the same application. OLTP Analytics are quite useful, since they operate on operational data rather than historical data.
  • I've been hoping that SAP would provide a light version of Pioneer similar to what they plan for Crystal, and this is the first time I've heard it mentioned in a way that makes it sound like reality.

    The current BOBJ roadmap and the BOBJ & SAP FAQ both say that Pioneer is a premium offering, and BEx Analyzer is the base offering (and BEx updates will be limited).

    Can you confirm that Pioneer Light will in fact be made available, and if this information is published anywhere else, can you point me to it?

    Thank you.

    • Guys, sorry, don't have much time to be active on SDN these days. I am the responsible Director, Product Management for Pioneer.
      Pioneer comes in two flavors: A web-based and an MS Office integrated version. "Pioneer Light" refers to the ability to connect the Pioneer Excel client directly to a BW server without using any additional middleware (BOE, J2EE) inbetween. This option will come with many restrictions, e.g. you cannot save Pioneer workbooks to any server but only work locally on the client with them etc.) so we regard the PIO Office light option rather as somehting for testing purposs or real ad-hoc scenarios but not as an enterprise wide solution. I can't comment here on SDN further, sorry. I know there's a lot of speculations on Pioneer. We will release more details at the TechEds later this year.
      Eric Schemer
      Director Product Management
      Advanced Analytics
      SAP Business Objects Division
      Dietmar Hopp Allee 16
      69190 Walldorf, Germany