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Author's profile photo Thierry AUDAS

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, accelerated version: what’s new?

During TechEd in Vienna SAP just announced the latest release of SAP BusinessObjects Explorer: SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, accelerated version. With this new post I’m highlighting what is new with this latest release.

With this latest release SAP extends the power of SAP BusinessObjects Explorer to tap into all data across the organization. This major innovation comes on top of multiple other significant improvements.

Let’s go through a quick recap of the 3 major steps which have paved the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer way to clearly understand why this is truly a breakthrough innovation:

  1. The fast search and intuitive exploration capabilities of SAP BusinessObjects Explorer have been available for any data source through SAP BusinessObjects universes for 18 months or so already (with Polestar as a former name).
  2. Then, mid 2009, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, accelerated version for SAP NetWeaver BW added the high-performance and scalability of SAP NetWeaver BW Accelerator with a direct access to the latter in addition to universe access to other data sources. This version was predicated on BWA and thus primarily aimed for BW customers.
  3. Now, in its latest release, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, accelerated version, delivers the full value of fast search and intuitive exploration combined with high-performance and scalability of in-memory analytics and acceleration across any data, anywhere within the organization. This version is aimed for any organization with a heterogeneous IT landscape and no requirement for running BW 7.0.

Now let me be more explicit about these great new capabilities.

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, accelerated version, comes with embedded data extraction, transformation, and load (ETL) capabilities to directly tap into any data source in addition to BW. These embedded ETL capabilities enable to source any data to load it directly into the in-memory analytics and acceleration engine. As result and although search and exploration of BW data is still supported, customers are no longer required to move all their data into BW beforehand, they are free to leave it in its current location and can access it directly to benefit from the full value of fast search and intuitive exploration combined with high-performance and scalability of in-memory analytics and acceleration.

This new open data acceleration capability built from the combination of BWA and a subset of ETL capabilities from the SAP BusinessObjects Information Management solutions is named SAP BusinessObjects Accelerator. SAP BusinessObjects Accelerator is currently only available with SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, accelerated version. It is intended to support additional BI clients in the future, though.

Note that users of SAP BusinessObjects Explorer who want to search and explore BW data can still accelerate this data independently from the newly embedded ETL capabilities, as they used to do with BWA and the previous accelerated version of SAP BusinessObjects Explorer focused on BW. Moreover BWA remains available to accelerate BW queries and lowering the cost of operations with no change to this scenario.

Nevertheless BW users will also benefit from this new accelerated version through the multiple other significant improvements it brings with regard to native support of Restricted and Calculated Key Figures, Hierarchies, and Multiproviders (homogenous and heterogeneous).

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      Author's profile photo Witalij Rudnicki
      Witalij Rudnicki
      Hi Thierry,

      It is a nice annoucement, but I believe it is too marketing for rather technical SDN community.

      What we need are hard details:
      - What status is the product right now: pre-Beta, Beta, Pamp-Up, GA?
      - What is an official release numbering, is it 1.x (per Blade Edition), 7.0x (following NW) or XI 3.x (as BObj) or something else?
      - Where can I check PAM?
      - What technical documentation is available and what's the link to it? I did not find it at http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/boc/explorer.
      - What's the licensing model?
      etc

      I read as well original announcement. Does it mean that BWA can now run on TeraData hardware (without TD software)?

      Having those questions answered I will feel that I understand something about this enhanced version of BOE.

      Thank you!
      -Vitaliy

      Author's profile photo Thierry AUDAS
      Thierry AUDAS
      Blog Post Author
      SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, accelerated version, is entering ramp-up shortly in November. More detailed information will be made available to the SAP community as we go through the ramp-up.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I agree with Vitaliy, SDN is a technical forum and you need to include the details.

      Having said that, we are a Beta customer for this product and so far I've been very impressed.  Response time is very impressive and the UI is really slick.

      Here's a couple key tech points:
      1) Don't underestimate the work to get this new product setup.  Current BWA customers have dealt with Linux blades since day 1 but really haven't had to do much hands-on work there.  This version of explorer is recommended to run on the Linux blade, therefore we pulled one of our blades out of the exisiting BWA cluster and used it for our Explorer blade.  Much more complex setup steps than simply installing Explorer on a Windows box so keep this in mind.

      2)You'll need to upgrade to BI Ehp1 SP05 in order to use this new product.  I'm guessing that will be the hardest requirement for most customers since it was just released.  We setup a sandbox BI just for this purpose since we didn't want to upgrade our production support landscape yet.

      3)Last point isn't super technical but figuring out which data you want to put into Explorer is a tough challenge.  You really have to think about a data set that your user community would like to freely explore vs. their current reporting constraints.  Some of your data sets help "sell" the Explorer UI better than others.  Start thinking about this while you're getting your landscape setup.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I agree with Vitaliy, SDN is a technical forum and you need to include the details.
      Having said that, we are a Beta customer for this product and so far I've been very impressed.

      Here's a couple key tech points:
      1) Don't underestimate the work to get this new product setup.  Current BWA customers have dealt with Linux blades since day 1 but really haven't had to do much hands-on work there.  This version of explorer is recommended to run on the Linux blade, therefore we pulled one of our blades out of the exisiting BWA cluster and used it for our Explorer blade.  Much more complex setup steps than simply installing Explorer on a Windows box so keep this in mind.

      2)You'll need to upgrade to BI Ehp1 SP05 in order to use this new product.  I'm guessing that will be the hardest requirement for most customers since it was just released.  We setup a sandbox BI just for this purpose since we didn't want to upgrade our production support landscape yet.

      3)Last point isn't super technical but figuring out which data you want to put into Explorer is a tough challenge.  You really have to think about a data set that your user community would like to freely explore vs. their current reporting constraints.  Some of your data sets help "sell" the Explorer UI better than others.  Start thinking about this while you're getting your landscape setup.

      Author's profile photo Witalij Rudnicki
      Witalij Rudnicki
      Hi Alexander,

      Thank you for sharing. Are you beta customer of "BO Explorer, accelerated version for SAP/BW", or "BO Explorer, accelerated version", which has BO DataIntegretor pre-installed?

      It is interesting what you mentioned in point 3 about "figuring out which data you want to put into Explorer". Every time I am asking SAP what are the business scenarios for BOE I hear about nice UI and fast querying. But that's not what I am asking them for. I am looking for industries / business functions / kinds of data that are ideal fits for BOE. Yet, SAP guys promise to come back with those, but I am not hearing back.

      It is really cool to be excited about technology (I am technical guy myself), but what BI markets is SAP targeting with the Explorer? I think syndicated data is a great example, but I want to hear more.

      Regards,
      -Vitaliy

      PS. Seems you are getting the same issue: once you post a comment to the blog, you do not see it immediately. So you post it twice. Is it the case?

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I'm currently planning to put SAP CRM's TPM transactional data into Explorer.
      That's a great use case in my opinion.
      -Alex
      Author's profile photo Witalij Rudnicki
      Witalij Rudnicki
      Hi Alex. It was my idea as well 🙂 Unfortunatelly my TPM project got delayed for 1 year. The other good case would be all the different market measurements data like from IRI and the like.

      Cheers,
      -Vitaliy

      Author's profile photo Thierry AUDAS
      Thierry AUDAS
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Alex, this TPM use case seems interesting. Could you please elaborate a bit and share some details?
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      SAP should be good in giving a clear idea where the train is running  to, too many products to many constructions sites, too many licences modelss.
      Fuzzy Product Portfolio - Fuzzy Licening - Fuzzy Marketing

      No clear path and tool how to integrate BW and SAP data in a BI-enviroment.

      All looks more like a provisoric quick and dirty repair to intergrate SAP ( BW, ERP and 7. Data) than a round product suite.

      Still BO is only and mainly focused on None SAP BI Data Integration.

      This kills customers sooner or later.

      Author's profile photo Witalij Rudnicki
      Witalij Rudnicki
      Hi Martin,

      There are some comments that I would agree, but as well some comments where I believe SAP is doing much better now.

      First of all, SAP tries to change an image to very innovative company and on that way produce some products that are breakthrough. But they are killing all of us with the pace of that innovations. If someone is not following the story of BWA and BOE very closely, than marketing of the names is extremely confusing starting the beginning of 2009.

      Another perception I got, is that everyone in SAP (and many SIs as well) now try to get on the train called BO Explorer. These people believe to make a breakthrough in their career being on that train. So, there are multiple sessions, presentations, blogs, articles, podcasts etc from people who have no clue what they are talking about and have no gift of conveying the message. This IS the most confusing for the market in my perception. Btw, it is not applicable to the blog we are commenting on, which tries to clarify some confusions. Although per my previous comment I am looking for more technical message.

      As well worsening of support and licencing of BO products is something that many customers are complaining and is mentioned in many analysts and press publications too. Seems SAP finally realizes that. First sign is famous 22% fee.

      Regards,
      -Vitaliy