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SAP’s Top Reasons to Upgrade to BI4 – an #ASUG Webcast

SAP’s JC Raveneau gave an ASUG webcast the other week on top reasons to upgrade to BI4.  The usual disclaimer applies, that things are subject to change.

This objectives of the session were to cover key differentiators in the BI4 release and not details on BI4 capabilities/implementation.  JC hoped to provide more information to “evangelize your stakeholders”.


  • Introduce BI4
  • New capabilities – going Mobile, save on cost of ownership, engage more users
  • Path to BI4


Figure 1: Source: SAP

BI4 is the first release of BI Platform after SAP acquired BusinessObjects. 

JC said it allows you to “access any kind of data”

They added around social and BW access and new SAP Hana platform

The semantic layer is different from the past as it is no longer just the Universe but a universal way of accessing data that is homogenous as possible

As Figure 1 shows the client tools are categorized into 3 different buckets:

  1. Discovery & analysis
  2. Dashboards & applications
  3. Reporting

The idea is to be as integrated as possible on the platform and be agnostic.


Figure 2: Source: SAP

Figure 2 shows the BI client tools classified for a clearer message

On the left is Discover & Analysis which is more for consumption for OLAP capabilities.  The Analysis tools and  new tools such as Predictive and Visual Intelligence are used analyze the cube and find meaning of data

In the middle is dashboards & apps – Dashboards, explaining your key metrics and adding new tool Design Studio

On the right side is Web Intelligence, Crystal Reports


Figure 3: Source: SAP

Figure 3 shows the renaming of applications.  JC mentioned the Desktop Compatibility patch is available and that is discussed further here.

According to JC, the three easy areas to remember to go to BI4 are “go mobile”, “reduce costs” and “engage more users”.

BI4 is a big step forward to access to BI for Mobile.

End of Life link:


Figure 4: Source: SAP

SAP Dashboards for Mobile (formerly known as XCelsius Dashboards) is shown in Figure 4.  The BI platform side has it in SP05. 

Mobile application 4.4 is supposed to be this month (any day now)

SAP BusinessObjects Mobile Exploration Views are only available in BI4

Design Studio for Mobile is also only available with BI4. Databases supported are BW/Hana.  It is a dashboard and application


Figure 5: Source: SAP

Figure 5 shows that Mobile BI for Android is only available with BI4.  Android is the second largest operating system after Apple.


Figure 6: Source: SAP

Moving forward, mobile BI is a tangible feature to move to BI4 says JC.

The next reason to move to BI4, according to the webcast, is to reduce costs of ownership of the platform.


Figure 7: Source: SAP

As Figure 7 shows, monitoring is mission critical aspect of BI now.  The platform is monitored so you don’t get calls in middle of night.

Auditing is used for compliance and usage of platform, for usage and planning, cross charging.

JC said the import wizard & LCM was not easy to use or straightforward in XI3.

BEx queries for SAP customers can be used to leverage existing investment


Figure 8: Source: SAP

Figure 8 shows there is added built-in monitoring capabilities in platform in BI4.

JC said you could ping the server, look at key metrics, and integrate with existing framework such as Tivoli

Also integrated in CMC includes charts, highlighting, and watches.

You be the first to know if platform is in trouble, he said.


Figure 9: Source: SAP

Figure 9 shows auditing enhancements.

Auditing in XI3 was hard to implement / leverage, he said.

Consistent auditing in BI4 and easier database schema to report on and make sense of data


Figure 10: Source: SAP

Figure 10 shows the Life Cycle Management content and an improved, integrated in CMC,

It also offers an improved LCM console.

It also offers integration with SAP CTS+ so you can move reports, queries at once, check on dependencies


Figure 11: Source: SAP

Figure 11 shows that BI4 offiers direct access to BEx queries via BI Consumer Services which is easier than the universe says JC.

It leverages metadata and design from the BEx queries.

Upgrade and deployment features include multilingual BI delivery across geographic locations, enhanced scalability with virtualization and 64 bit support, hot backup, delegated administration and automatic tenant provisioning,  and BI Launch Pad customization and role-based personalization.


Figure 12: Source: SAP

Figure 12 shows the Upgrade Management Tool can detecting dependencies.


Figure 13: Source: SAP

Figure 13 shows the new semantic layer features and the ability to have multi-source universes.

For BW customers they do not have to create a universe any more and use the BICS connection to the BEx query.


Figure 14: Source: SAP

Some tools are better paired with HANA – he encourages you to talk to SAP account team


Figure 15: Source: SAP

Figure 15 shows a common interface, improved usability.


Figure 16: Source: SAP

Figure 16 shows a common query panel, a paradigm to make it easier for users to access data.


Figure 17: Source: SAP

There are two versions – one for Analysis OLAP on the platform, a web interface and Analysis for Office via Excel.

If using BW SAP highly recommends using these tools.  Also see this new eBook on Analysis OLAP by Ingo Hilgefort.


Figure 18: Source: SAP

Figure 18 shows Visual Intelligence, which is lightweight and install in a couple of minutes, says JC.

It can use Excel, data in HANA, BI universes, and is quick & simple

It is an “enterprise ready” tool

Business users don’t have to wait on IT to visualize data.


Figure 19: Source: SAP

Figure 19 shows Design Studio, the premium replacement for Web Application Designer, a new tool.

Path to BI4

Upgrade Information on SCN:

JC says help is available from SAP and partners.

Also see this BI4 pattern book wiki:

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