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BEx or SAP Business Objects Advanced Analysis – What’s your View?

BEx or SAP Business Objects Advanced Analysis – What’s your View?

As we all know the marketing blurb suggests Advanced Analysis is designed for financial and business analysts, advanced analytic tools create real-world value from your information assets. Relying on sophisticated analytic engines that can access both numeric and text data, these tools interrogate complex historical data to look for trends, outliers, and patterns through a visual interface.

But what is the reality and are customer going to migrate to it ?

Whenever I speak to people about the arrival of Advanced Analysis maybe by Christmas this year the question I am asked time and time again is Why would I adopt it at a cost (implementing the XI platform with associated licensing and project costs) when I can stay with the notionally free BEx tool for the foreseeable future. Apart from restating the SAP Business Objects technology roadmap and explaining about the convergence in the two technology suites I am at a loss as to the “compelling event” that will be the catalyst for customers to move to Advanced Analysis. Is there a compelling event in your mind?

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  • Hi. I am not sure why it is posted as a blog, and not question, but here is my understanding.
    The way SAP presented the topic in 2009 (and I might not be up to date with all the latest product management) is that there will be special version for BW that does not require BO enterprise Server: “Pioneer Office lean scenario – BW only” (I am using last year name, that I still prefer).
    To the question of why would customers move to Pioneer – I should leave this to customers.
    • Vitaly,

      Thanks for mentioning the the Lite / BW Only version, I hadn’t seen or heard that.

      With respect to whether folks will  migrate to to it, slowly, quickly, or perhaps not at all.  That’s  a good question, I think the latest message from Waldorf seems to throw a curve in to the decision process – saying we won’t even need a BW in the future, ECC will eventually all be on an in memory database. 


    • Vitality,

      In my mind a blog is not just a statement of facts it can be an opinion or a point of view to incite discussion. 

      I am posting a point of view here to incite the type of discussion that is in fact occurring.

  • I participated in few workshops and read few articales and I still don’t know what is all about?
    Where in BO do you have data model? Data staging? From my perspective it very nice presentation layer. There is no improvement in data model layer, there is no improvement in tuning performance. Accessing ERP from BO level? Right :), someone who never ever worked with huge data volume can say it is great idea. Common guys don’t cheat your customers, SAP BI 7.0 is a must in BI landscape. Without this your BO will suffer huge performance issues.

    A the end I think that Waldorf is trying to force customers to get back money that they spend on BO acquisition. Today BI 7.0 is very good business intelligence tool on the market. Of course there is issue about presentation, but backbone of any BI system, data modelling is on very good level.
    Unfortunately SAP is not allowing us to use Xcelsius to improve presentation layer. I am not sure why.

    So in my opinion, BI 7 + visualization tools (which should be common for BI7 and BO) are what customers  require now. BO package should be customer choice, not mandatory as today SAP is trying say.

    Concern BI consultant 🙂

    • A) To my understanding there is no “SAP BI 7.0” it is “SAP BW”. The term “BI” in the SAP world  refers solely to the frontend tools/SAP BusinessObjects

      B) What good is a great backend system such as SAP BW if business analysts do not have intuitive frontend tools to get to the data, analyze the data, re-formatting data on the fly into bar charts or historical line charts, filter data, etc? Here is where the SAP BusinessObjects product suite comes into play IMHO

      C) Part of the old BusinessObjects product suite is “DataService”s (formerly known as Data Integrator), an ETL tool which allows building datamarts (hosted by relational DBMS). There are many customers worldwide who do not use SAP BW or SAP at all.

      D) SAP BEx is very functional & technical. “AdvancedAnalysis” (Pioneer) is way more comfortable, this is based on the first pre-views I saw!

      E) 2011 is going to be a great year with SAP’s  commitment to in-memeory technology (see SAP BW Accelerator – Wave 2) etc. 🙂

      • SAP changes names of products very often so I am surprised that you used this as argument to call BO products BI solutions. I would call BO – PI – Presentation Intelligence :). If our discussion is about analysing presentation tools than you can stop reading now.

        Ok, SAP sold pure BI 7 aka BW  or whatever you call it, and no BO comes with new toys. So we can throw away our landscape and spend again huge many for shiny dashboards?

        “intuitive frontend tools to get to the data, analyze the data, re-formatting data on the fly into bar charts or historical line charts, filter data, etc? Here is where the SAP BusinessObjects product suite comes into play IMHO”
        are you working in SAP marketing department? Do you have any idea how change process is being done in SOX ruled world? Business analyst changing balance sheet on the fly? Where is the data validation? Proofing data?

        BEX is crap and every BI (BW) consultant knows about it. But presentation layer is only result how you did your job creating data model.  In SAP BW I miss “only” product like xcelsius or whatever SAP will call it.

        Do you know what is virtual characteristic or key figure?
        SAP Note Number: 1143411

        Will this new WAVE solve issues with characteristics that are calculated on the fly based on user exits? See lists of SAP Notes about BIA.

        Other point, is there any tool from BO to check reports runtime performance and statistics? How to improve performance in BO products? Please don’t tell me: reduce volume data.

        As I wrote, I don’t know deeply BO products, but I am a little bit confused how strongly and quickly SAP wants to have great ROI on BO.

        Give me arguments, not marketing slogans.

        • BI for me is front to back and back to front 😉
          I have been woking with BusinessObjects since spring of 2000 as a consultant (no Marketing/Sales guy here).

          Regarding performance: Xcelsius or WebIntelligence are frontend tools and as such they rely on the backend to deliver performance, there are certain things one can do on the frontend side, see here for WebIntelligence:

          With SAP BW as the backend things change though: Apply the latest SAP BW EHP and SP available and run the latest version & SP of BusinessObjects Enterprise (BOE) as SAP has introduced many performance “patches” with respect to the OLAP BAPI/mdx interface, etc.

          Now, Change Management/SOX compliance etc. is a valid issue, and one could provide so called “canned”/pre-fabricated reports, which canot be changed by the end-user, just consumed: meaning opening them and refreshing data.

      • Hi Andreas,
        >E) 2011 is going to be a great year with SAP’s commitment to in-memeory technology (see SAP BW Accelerator – Wave 2) etc. 🙂
        I think we should keep this point aside of the topic’s discussion for the moment, unles 2011 product HANA (which is actually BWA Wave 3) will work directly with Pioneer, and this will be value prop to move from BEx Analyzer to Pioneer.

        But having brought this topic I cannot stay aside 🙂 It is interesting to observe the power of SAPPHIRE (directed to business and analysts community) event comparing to TechEd (directed to technical community). Hasso presented keynote at TechEd 2009 on the topic of in-memory OLTP, and there was almost no echo. Now Hasso presented the same at SAPPHIRE 2010, and wow! Everyone is discussing this 🙂
        The real question is why SAP went with “in-memory” into stand-alone component with 100s of GB instead. There is OLAP Cache in-memory functionality build into BW, but usually it is 40-200MB per app.server “because of memory limits”. Now, have anyone ever made a test pumping additional GBs of RAM into BW app.servers and configuring to use all this GBs for BW OLAP Cache? Then we replace current data roll-up step into BWA with delta cache refresh in app.servers and voilà! here is our in-memory technology that already existed in BW!