SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 Update and BI4.x Roadmap ASUG Webcast Part 1
Ty Miller , of SAP provided this ASUG webcast yesterday. Note that the usual legal disclaimer applies that things are subject to change.
The focus of this webcasts was the “breadth of BI”, which is difficult to cover in 60 minute presentation. Ty covered SAP’s plans for what doing throughout this year, including the 4.1 release update. Also covered were additional innovations outside of 4.1 release still part of 4.x ecosystem. Please note these are my notes taken during the webcast.
Note there was so much information that this blog contains only part 1 of the webcast and part 2 will come out soon.
Figure 1: Source: SAP
Figure 1 shows the strategic focus and how things are changing over time. SAP recognizes the core BI suite.
Figure 1 shows on the left the core BI4 suite. It includes reporting ad hoc, dashboard, BI Platform, semantic layer and continue to develop on that.
Creative includes business users to create content without IT, install a BI client that is not too difficult. IT wants some control for data access, security.
Mobile for enterprise is here. Some users expect to experience BI on Mobile and then browser later.
The amount of data expected is going more extreme with millions of records, as well as the desire not just to have BI on what happened in the past and what should do in real-time, what do tomorrow, what should happen tomorrow (predictive)
Social pillar includes that we all work in teams now – we need to share with colleagues to make organization more efficient
Figure 2: Source: SAP
Figure 2 shows three primary areas. The Discovery/ Analysis is where most innovation is coming.
Figure 3: Source: SAP
Discovery & Analysis, as Figure 3 shows, is the ability of to do search and exploration, an analysis of OLAP and multi-dimensional data, grouping analysis, forecasting. The idea of the creative user who is not in IT and who is comfortable using Visual Intelligence, Predictive Analysis, Analysis for Office.
Figure 4: Source: SAP
Figure 4 shows the dashboarding and application and provides the ability to professionally create dashboards to run business. The products include Design Studio and Dashboards/XCelsius
Figure 5: Source: SAP
As Figure 5 shows reporting will always be needed. It includes the ad hoc query through Web Intelligence or a pixel perfect report through Crystal Reports
Figure 6: Source: SAP
Figure 6 shows the platform that supports this in terms of an enterprise deployment.
Figure 7: Source: SAP
BI 4.1 is a migration release
Customer validation is like a beta program and today SAP is in the customer validation stage.
SAP wants 3.x customers to participate
In Phase 1 today with the first build of 4.1 release with a second build phase 2 planned to start in April.
SAP expects to go into ramp up in May with BI 4.1 and let your account executive know to complete the ramp-up form for 4.1
Figure 8: Source: SAP
4.1 is the migration release targeted at getting customers and partners on the latest platform. Figure 8 reviews the upgrade scenarios.
You can do a side-by side install. The recommended scenario is to install new BI4.1 on a separate server.
On the NOTE you can do a direct upgrade path for migrating and upgrading from XIR2 SP2 & IX 3.1 but the operating system must be 64 bit.
Figure 9: Source: SAP
Figure 9 shows if you are going from BI4 to 4.1 you can do an in place install – on top
The recommended scenario is separated and use LCM to migrate
Figure 10: Source: SAP
Figure 10 shows enhancements to upgrade management tool including the service dependency check prior to upgrade to help customers determine dependencies.
Active directory, SAP authentication, this migrates over.
For customers & partners using multi-tenancy allows segregation of duties/actions/line of users with the ability to record ids for auditing purposes.
They are adding around SDK to interact with platform include customize SSO with Active Directory & support JSON format
In terms of supportability they are including more integration with Solution Manager.
For BI Launchpad you can replace existing agnostic document when you want to upload a new version (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) – this is important as it preserves the CUID for that document.
Figure 11: Source: SAP
Part of the platform includes the semantic layer and BICS and Hana analytic views.
For non-HANA and non BW data use the Universe with the Information Design tool, and it includes the ability to format multiple objects.
New Universe Creation wizard allows you to get up and running quickly with the universe
Multi-source universe in .unx inherited from Data Federator technology. One remaining item was the designer tool and now it is included in IDT with 4.1.
With BI4 SP04 you can connect ERP via universe, and with BI4.1 it will allow support for optional input columns.
Figure 12: Source: SAP
Figure 12 shows the new UI for SDK to create and convert a universe for partners who want to programmatically update universes
SAP will have API’s to author new universes as well.
As a reminder, the old UNV is still there in 4.1
Figure 13: Source: SAP
Figure 13 covers BusinessObjects Explorer; Ty says Explorer is becoming more critical in use of BI as users want to do exploration themselves.
Performance optimizations include sending multiple queries in parallel and free facet loading.
Users will be able to edit an Exploration view and visualizations for it and undo and redo button
Exploration views allow the customer to build a dashboard without having to wait for IT to create it for you.
Today Explorer mobile application is its own application; in the future it will be part of the Mobile BI application.
Figure 14: Source: SAP
Web based multi-dimensional client, premium alternative to BEx Web Analyzer and the replacement for Voyager.
It will support SAP variants and support merging of prompts.
Report to Report Interface allows you to drill down to SAP transaction – “insight to action”.
Hana is critical for SAP applications and agnostic applications.
Figure 15: Source: SAP
Crystal for Enterprise will have the ability for freehand SQL – you write your SQL against relational data sources.
You can join a BEx query with another relational data source.
It uses the BICS connection to BW.
Report designer has a verify database option
Figure 16: Source: SAP
Web Intelligence is for ad-hoc reporting.
It provides some degree of manipulation but meant for users to get quick access to reporting environment.
Many users equate Web Intelligence like Excel; Web Intelligence is not a replacement for Excel.
In 4.1, you can define columns you want to freeze as shown in Figure 16.
You will have control over the color and visualizations.
Figure 17: Source: SAP
With the user interface, administrators decide what to hide/see and you can do to users or groups of users such export data and Excel
There will also be more consistency amongst the viewers as shown in Figure 17.
Figure 18: Source: SAP
SAP is reintroducing the SDK for Web Intelligence. The SDK will be RESTful and web-services based.
Figure 19: Source: SAP
SAP knows that many still use Desktop Intelligence
Desktop Intelligence content, reports, love to move to BI4.x but cannot use your tool today.
Desktop Intelligence Compatibility patch allows you to host DeskI reports in BI4.1 platform (see Figure 19)
You can still use 3.1 client to view reports
SAP recommends look at Visual Intelligence for that same type of use case – manipulation and combining of data for multiple sources and enabling for users to consume
Figure 19 shows that save/consume Desktop Intelligence content
End of life timelines still applicable for Desktop Intelligence
Part 2 covers the rest of the roadmap and I will post as time allows.
Upcoming ASUG BI 4.1 Webcasts:
- February 25: What’s New in SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4.1
- February 27: What’s New in Crystal Reports 4.1
- March 6: What’s New in Web Intelligence 4.1
- March 12: What’s New in the Semantic Layer 4.1
- March 13: What’s New in Explorer 4.1 / Visual Intelligence
- March 14: What’s New in Mobile BI
- April 17: What’s New in Predictive Analysis
- April 29: What’s New in Analysis 4.1 / A Office 1.4
Note if you are not an ASUG member you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to request a trial membership.
You can also meet Ty in person at BI 2013 in Las Vegas in March for a pre-conference workshop titled “Lessons for preparing, deploying, and optimizing SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 SP5 and a sneak peek at what’s coming with SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1“