There is no doubt that consumer-like experience brought by innovative companies such as Apple, Facebook, and Evernote has pushed SAP to offer more compelling software interfaces and easier to use capabilities. In 4.0, a more unified, visual, and interactive user experience can be witnessed across the entire BI suite (See posts about our new Innovations in 4.0: Unified User Experience, Innovations in 4.0: Unified User Experience, and Innovations in 4.0: Next-Generation OLAP Analysis). But we’ve also worked hard to make BI/EIM deployment, administration and maintenance easier for administrators and IT personnel as well. 4.0 offers a new range of comprehensive monitoring and diagnosis capabilities that will minimize interventions by administrators, provide detailed information on the deployments performance for optimization and to get more value from their existing BI/EIM infrastructure.
Easier to Deploy
Business Intelligence and Enterprise Information Management on one single platform, we’ve been talking about this one for a long time, but it is now a reality. In 4.0, if customers decide to deploy both our BI and EIM solutions, it’s one common platform.
If they decide to deploy BI only, it’s the same platform; just EIM solutions… same platform deployed. This means customers will have a single repository for all things BI and EIM (users, passwords, connections, etc). It means that customers can take advantage of the extensive platform scheduling capabilities for any EIM jobs and tasks. It means that user authentication and authorization are the same for all BI and EIM solutions. It means that all users are on the same infrastructure and BI and EIM administrators have the same granular control for any group of users.
For customers currently on XI R2 SP2 or XI 3.x, this is an upgrade, NOT a migration. 4.0 will be easier for administrators in charge of upgrading BI systems with a new upgrade management tool that covers 2 major scenarios for the server and web tiers:
1. Complete upgrade where everything (including dependencies and permissions) is copied and transferred over
2. Incremental where you pick and choose the objects you want to move over
We are also delivering a small command-line based utility, specifically for SAP BusinessObjects Data Services. It is a tool that reads the XML file we used in the past to store configuration information and converts in a format accepted by the BI platform central management server (CMS).
Easier to Monitor
In 4.0, we also have introduced a number of innovations for people who are monitoring and administrating BI deployments. In this release, the central management console (cmc) provides insight into the platform’s performance and health. 4.0 allows administrators to detect potential stability and performance issues before users can see them. It gives administrators the opportunity to perform pro-active maintenance of the platform thus saving the stress and costs associated with reactive measures and user dissatisfaction.
- 4.0 allows administrators to monitor various server metric and user-defined watch and alert administrators of abnormal situations before they become critical.
- 4.0 allows administrators to launch a probe simulating a particular workflow and see if there’s a problem with particular server or service. Example of workflow could be: User logs in, selects Web Intelligence report, picks a particular value out of list of value, executes Web Intelligence analysis; closes analysis, and logs off.
- 4.0 allows administrators to visualize monitoring information directly within the SAP Business Objects BI platform central management console and quickly assess and track the health of a given deployment.
- 4.0 allows integration with SAP Solution Manager, Tivoli and other JMX instrumentation tools to provide a window into the SAP BusinessObjects infrastructure and able to monitor and manage it under their umbrella. More on that particular point in a future post.
Easier to Audit
In 4.0, the auditing capabilities (and the audit data store) have been totally revamped in order to better track usage and analyze how the system is being used by business users over time. A new auditing dashboard – accessed directly from the central management console – allows administrators to enable/ disable different auditing events and view potential issues (warnings) that might affect the integrity of their audit data. Auditing configuration has also been greatly improved in 4.0. Administrators can determine the optimal auditing configuration and automatically apply these settings to the entire system, thus reducing time-consuming manual configuration for each server or application.
Other articles, posts, and links about SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 Innovations: