All of you who started reading this blog are already familiar with SAP acquisition of business objects. Its definitely an eye-catching merger that all of us as SAP practitioners come to aware of. There are several theories on why it happened such as expanding customer base, product consolidation,…etc. What ever might be the reason, the affect is very clear. More and more customers
are opting for SAP Business objects as their de facto BI standard. The reason behind that flocking is simple and complex at the same time. Simple because business objects BI suite standardises existing BI infrastructure. The other reason which I say complex is that it allows business users to write their own reports. Are we talking BI self services here? Is it a simple job to make BI self services reality? Then what happens to the IT departments who are serving the business needs so far in terms of creating reports? In order to understand this little better, we need to dive into history.
Did you remember the old days of telephone systems. People used to call telephone operator and then they used to get connected to their corresponding party. I wasn’t present long enough to do that but I saw that in history channel. Slowly, the operators were replaced with automation that resulted “self service telephones”. Similarly, take instance of DVD rentals. Now a days we see self service kiosks. Hence, reliable level of automation leads to self services.
Now let us come back to SAP world. Self services in SAP HR world is quite famous just because it removes the burden of maintaining employee information from HR dept and gives it back to employees. Does this mean that HR department vanished? Their headcount might have decreased but they can focus on more strategic issues unlike ever before. But this didn’t happen in a single day. First the backbone of HR became reliable and stable enough to support this transformation. Once the Org management, time, payroll areas have stabilized as products then self services are on full swing.
Similarly, we have all kinds of self services such as manager, supplier, and customer self services which save money & time. So, what is the next thing in line. The answer may be business intelligence. Based on what I read the business objects tool set allows business users create their own reports. In order to make that happen the underlying framework needs to be robust enough accommodate all the needs as well as reliable. Also, the end users tools needs to be as good as iPhone gadgets. I think the merger of SAP with Business objects accelerated this much desired change. The IT department needs to do is to embrace this change. They take a back seat and provide the services that enable business users get what they want in a way that they desire.
I look forward to sharing how SAP BusinessObjects tools enable the BI self services in companies and corresponding challenges in future articles.