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If you are looking for a good source of technology guidelines and recommendations on SAP products, and what is important to consider when planning new projects (or evolving existing ones), the Best-Built Applications Guidelines (BBA), which SAP published at http://bestbuiltapps.sap.com, are an increasingly popular, valuable and SAP-official resource.

I am the editor for the “Business Intelligence (BI) Tools” chapter and delighted to share with you this latest book edition. One of the key catalysts for updating the BI chapter was the release of SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0, which general availability was announced on September 16th 2011.

There are a lot of new material in this chapter that will make it an interesting read for any professional working with SAP Business Intelligence tools, to highlight a couple:

–        New guideline about the usage of BEx tools.
Readers have been requesting that we included more information about the BEx tools. This topic has been a hot topic of discussion for many months inside and outside SAP and the unwritten recommendation is finally written! Moving forward SAP does not encourage use of BEx Report Designer, BEx Analyzer, and BEx Web Analyzer.

There is no need to panic if you are still using those tools I just mentioned. SAP will give you time for switching in the long term. SAP’s product and maintenance supported promises are unchanged, your past investments in these tools is secured. However, if you are about to embark on a new project you should be seriously looking at using the SAP BusinessObjects suite of products that will supersede them.

There are two tools under the BEx umbrella that are the exception to the rule: SAP BEx Web Application Designer (SAP BEx WAD) and SAP BEx Query Designer. 

SAP BEx Web Application Designer (SAP BEx WAD) currently remains the tool of choice for customers and partners to design web-based analytical and planning applications connected to SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse. In 2012, SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for application design will provide a premium alternative to SAP BEx WAD. SAP BEx Query Designer remains the tool of choice for IT departments to model BEx Queries on top of BW data providers. 

–        Updated Semantic Layer session
SAP next generation Semantic Layer has been released with BI 4.0 and it introduces a lot of new capabilities that will make your life as a metadata developer a lot easier. The Semantic Layer, which is part of the BI platform, abstracts the complexities of the underlying data structures to make them more understandable and usable by end users.

We have revised the Semantic Layer section to elaborate on the universe concept and introduced new guidelines that reflect the direction SAP is taking with this important component of the BI Platform. 

–        New session about SAP BusinessObjects Mobile and SAP BusinessObjects Analysis
The chapter was updated to have coverage of all tools under the SAP BusinessObjects BI suite.

A lot of people helped me put this chapter together: Solution Managers, Product Experts, SAP Mentors and many more. I thank all of them for their invaluable contribution and patience.

If BI is part of your job description, the chapter is a must-read. The content you will find there will help you make the right tools decisions. And remember to come back regularly to check for updates.

Please leave your comments and send us your feedback here. Or if you prefer to send me a private email you can reach me at Erica.lailhacar@sap.com. For those of you attending Sapphire and Tech Ed in Madrid, feel free to contact me if you would like to give me feedback in person. Thank you!

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