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BI4 has been picking up momentum lately. Actually each customer I talk to in meetings and conferences were either deploying BI4 or planning to do so.

So everyone is quite excited with the release and can’t wait to get started but… there’s this one question we all have to answer: WHY should you put money in an upgrade?

I must say that answering this question is not easy. Not that we’re short of reasons to upgrade, quite the opposite actually.

There are several new useful features that you and your organization can benefit from with this upgrade. While I could share all of those with you, Let me keep it short and share the top 3:

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Going Mobile

A big shift happened in the last couple of years around how BI is delivered. It’s not just executives and managers demanding instant information on their smart phones. Everyone in your organization has a device and there is high expecation to make information available anytime, anywhere. Researches show that 30% of BI will be consumed on a tablet or smart phone by 2013.

At the time SAP BusinessObjects XI 3 was released, you were happy to get emails on your Blackberry.

In today’s market, mobile Business Intelligence is a key competitive advantage to your business. You need to get that insight into the hands of your organization at their point of engagement and this is less and less likely to be sitting at their desk. 

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If I am in IT and I have to meet this expectation, my very first thought will be – How can I leverage the content that I already have and make that available on devices?  Let me share how BI 4.0 will address these needs.
 
You can leverage all of your existing Crystal Reports, Web Intelligence reports and Dashboards content and mobilize them.  That’s a big advantage.
You do not need to build anything from scratch. This is absolutely great quick win for any organization.

End users will be able to create Exploration views (interactive business views) and publish to devices. Exploration views are extension to SAP BusinessObjects Explorer workflow, which will enable your end users to get answers to multiple business questions.

We have also recently released SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio, a new solution for SAP BW and SAP HANA customers to build engaging applications for web and mobile devices. This solution was built from the ground up to generate HTML 5 Analytic Applications (multi-dimensional) and is a great alternative for customers already looking for a modern alternative to Bex Web Application Designer or simply wanting to fully leverage their dimensional modeling done in BW or HANA in a visual and interactive dashboard.

These contents are supported in Android and iO6 devices, with more platforms planned in the pipeline.

So again, Mobile in BI4 is an undisputable vehicle to deliver additional BI value to the business and a key reason to trigger an upgrade project.

Cost of Ownership

This one resonates not only with your CIO, but also with your business stakeholders. These days CIOs are under tremendous pressure to drive innovation, meet business priorities and SLA and at the same time keep IT cost down.

You certainly want to keep your cost down maintaining your BI infrastructure , and focus more on delivering new capabilities and value to users.

This was one of the key pillar for the development of BI4. And since we’re talking about upgrade here, just ask your administrators and operations team to review the new capabilities in details and assess for themselves.

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To quote a few among many more:

  • Built-in monitoring : it’s like your annual physical, keep an eye on your system, have pro-active maintenance and stop facing the craziness of frantic users calling in the middle of the night.
  • Improved auditing : an easier way to stay compliant with rules and regulations. Easier to manage, easier to query, less time spent on recurring tasks.
  • Streamlined BI content management with improvements around Life Cycle Management, integration with CTS+ if you use SAP Netweaver and a brand new Upgrade Management tool in place of the Import wizard.

We also have hot backup, delegated administration, new 64 bits architecture, role-based portal customization…

Ability to Engage More Users

More users = more business value and ultimately more traction to do even greater things with BI.

When I say more users, I am talking about not just savvy BI users, there are all types of end users in your organization. With BI 4.0, you can deliver self-service BI to your consumers.

In BI 4.0, the user experience was largely re-designed with user’s productivity in mind. The interface was homogenized across the portfolio, attention was given to reducing the number of steps to perform most common workflows and the ribbon-based menus expected to be more familiar. 

The expansion of mobile, already discussed above, is also definitely a way to expand the reach of BI to new users.

New data access capabilities enable business insight that was not possible or much more difficult to achieve with previous versions. For example, streamlined access to BW queries, the capacity to build universes based on multiple data sources, access to social data and SAP HANA.

Lastly, new BI clients were introduced to serve evolving business requirements:

  • The Analysis clients (Analysis, Edition for MS Office and Analysis, Edition for OLAP) are the next iteration after Voyager of an online OLAP analysis client.
  • Visual Intelligence, extending from the Explorer family, delivers self-service BI in a matter of minutes while preserving the enterprise-readiness and integrity of the IT landscape.
  • Predictive takes your business to the next level by allowing analysts to elaborate complex business projections from an engaging use interface.

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A few other thoughts to get you started

BI 4.0 Upgrade Resources is an article where I try to compile select upgrade pointers and resources. Please subscribe to get notified of updates.

When unsure, get help. SAP services and partners now have a great deal of experience with upgrade and can greatly reduce the cost and timing of your project.

That’s it. You’re all set. Please comment and share with us other good resons for you to consider an upgrade to BI4!

JC

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