By now most of our customers have heard about the new SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 release and are probably starting to think about the upgrades of their existing SAP BusinessObjects landscapes and how they will be able to take beneift of the new upcoming functionalities.
Now some of you might have heard advice – including from me – during SAP TechED 2010 that there are situations where a customer perhaps should wait for the SAP BusinessObjects 4.1 (4.1 meaning first Enhancement Package for the SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 version) and I would like to clarify the scenarios and provide an important update on those recommendations.
At SAP TechED 2010 there was for customers using the SAP BusinessObjects XI 3.1 release in combination with OLAP Universes the recommendation to consider to wait for the SAP BusinessObjects 4.1 release as the plans at that point in time (October 2010) pointed to a more stable and more functional rich multi-dimensional semantic layer on top of SAP NetWeaver BW – functional richer compared to the SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 release at that time.
Now in the interims there has been a change in the product plans.
As part of the SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 release all the BI client tools are now going to leverage the BICS (BI Consumer Services) connectivity directly connecting towards the SAP BEx queries in SAP NetWeaver BW and therefore there is no need for an additional Universe. Now that was – in addition to the multi-dimensional Universe – always the plan – even at SAP TechED 2010 so this is nothing new.
Now coming back to the point that some customers received the message to wait for the SAP BusinessObjects 4.1 release. This message was based on the plans to create complete OLAP Universes on top of SAP NetWeaver BW as part of the new semantic layer in SAP BusinessObjects 4.0.
This is the change that happened now during the RampUp period – as shown above. OLAP Universes XI 3.1 are still fully supported but are not getting any further enhancements, which also means that there are no multi-dimensional Universes on top of SAP NetWeaver BW and therefore there is no need to wait for the SAP BusinessObjects 4.1 release.
As part of SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 customers can leverage the direct BICS connectivity (recommended) or leverage the semantic layer and create a Universe with a relational view on top of SAP NetWeaver BW. The relational view on top of SAP NetWeaver BW is then helpful when you would like to combine data from multiple sources and one of them being SAP NetWeaver BW.
This now leaves the question when should customes leverage SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 and I tried to simplify this decision a little bit as shown below.
You will notice that for customers using SAP BusinessObjects XI 3.1 already, that there is a migration effort involved to move the reports from the existing OLAP Universes in XI 3.1 to the new direct BICS connectivity.
Here is a huge advantage of SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 – you can perform a technical upgrade and leave the content “as is” and simple as an initial step keep using your XI 3.1 OLAP Universe in an SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 environment and then at your own time migrate the Universes and content.
At last but not least I would like to also highlight the fact here that customers shouldn’t just simply look at SAP BusinessObjects BI as a replacement for their existing BEx reporting landscape and simple make a comparison of BEx Analyzer to SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office and BEx Web Reporting to Analysis, OLAP Edition. Customers should take the time to really understand the requirements around their BI landscape from their business users and look at the complete BI offering from SAP BusinessObjects and match their requirements to the right tool.
The above table is only a simplified view on which tool matches to what kind of requirements. In case you are interested in further details you can find them here.
I hope that this now clarifies, if customers should wait for SAP BusinessObjects 4.1 or should start leveraging SAP BusinessObjects 4.0. The simple answer is – start using SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 in combination with the new BICS direct connectiivty.