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I’m a SAP customer and I help influence the direction and Business Intelligence approach in my enterprise.  We have SAP BW and BusinessObjects systems in our landscape, and together use these systems as a Business Intelligence platform.  More simply, BW is the back-end data warehouse for our enterprise’s data and BusinessObjects is the front-end presentation layer, with users accessing information in SAP BW through the BusinessObjects toolsets.  Like many SAP BW shops we started our BI journey with SAP BW and its BEx reporting tools, and have since added the BusinessObjects BI 4.0 platform.

Firstly, I’m a big fan of SAP BW and BusinessObjects.  I cut my teeth in data warehousing in SAP BW.  Whilst from a developer perspective it wasn’t the most straightforward system to learn, use, enhance, maintain, etc…  it worked.   From a user perspective the BEx suite of reporting tools weren’t the best looking or perhaps easiest to use reporting tools on the block, but they well and truly delivered in terms of functionality.  To name a few: true OLAP capability, slicing and dicing to my heart’s content and navigating and jumping into transactions through the Report to Report interface (RRI) to help explain what I was seeing in a report and take action. 

Then came along the BusinessObjects acquisition by SAP and I was reintroduced to Crystal reports which I’d been using in a non-SAP context on-top of a Holos server with a SQL database some years back.  To me, the usability and look and feel of the reporting tools seemed vastly superior to BEx and I was excited to use Crystal again and getting my hands dirty with the other BusinessObjects reporting tools.  Integration with SAP BW data was more of an issue at that time, but SAP has come a long way in streamlining this in the BI 4.0 release.

I’m regularly excited as SAP are constantly innovating and releasing new patches, support packs, functionality, products, etc. There’s always so much to learn and get stuck into.   Design studio and HANA, just to name a couple lately that continue to raise the bar.

However maybe partly due to this innovation, I’m a bit confused with the BusinessObjects reporting tools offering… here’s why:

1. Reporting tool proliferation

The number of BusinessObjects reporting tools is expanding.  On face value this should be a good thing right?  We now have more reporting tools at our disposal to meet a range of BI requirements.

This has introduced an overlap in functionality between some of the reporting tools.  I don’t think this is necessarily a full overlap, but instead a partial one.   For instance both Dashboards and Design Studio can be used to produce… Dashboards.  Highly formatted reports can be created in either Web Intelligence (with interaction) or Crystal (with limited interaction, but pixel perfect layout).

a. Convergence of functionality

This situation begs the question – are the tools converging? If so, why do we need to have so many tools?  Why couldn’t the functionality in certain reporting tools be extended and thus eliminate other reporting tools?  Wouldn’t it be more simplistic to have one reporting tool that can do everything, rather than one that can partially meet some requirements and another that meets the remaining requirements? Dashboards and Design Studio… I’m looking at you.

I think I’m over simplifying things, but one thing is clear.  There will reach a point where SAP cannot continue to produce new reporting tools without decommissioning other reporting tools… there cannot be infinite growth.  I don’t think SAP are suggesting that there will be, it’s just that as a customer I know that this is the case, a tool rationalisation is coming at some point and I need to choose tools that I adopt now wisely with this in mind… and perhaps with limited information.

b. Selecting the right tool

The increased number of reporting tools also represents a challenge in terms of selecting the correct tool for a given use case and audience.

I think SAP (in particular Ingo Hilgefort) do a great job in overcoming this challenge and helping customers understand the appropriate use cases and audiences for each tool.  There’s a great deal of collateral and community knowledge on SCN that I’ve found valuable in forming reporting toolset decision trees for my enterprise, and indeed challenging my own beliefs of what tools should be chosen for a given scenario and audience.  This information assists in forming a judgement of which tool should be selected, but at this point we’re only looking at the tools in isolation.

2. Reporting tool interoperability

It’s important (and I hope obvious) to state that the reporting tools however will not always be used in isolation… sometimes they will be, but not always.  Scenarios exist in which multiple reporting tools will need to be used to elicit a particular answer.  Where this is the case, from a usability perspective we should aim to make the transition between the tools as seamless to the user as possible.

One step in achieving this is through ‘guided navigation’ that SAP have often mentioned, that is passing the context (or intersection) of the information that the user is examining to the other report tool, so it can be further analysed.  For instance, a user might run a dashboard which highlights a particular exception (good or bad!) and they wish to understand what contributed to that result.  The dashboard doesn’t contain enough information to fully explain what is contributing to the result and as such they click on the exception and launch an analysis report which shows the components of the exception in greater detail and dimensionality.

Here’s my problem…. today the above scenario isn’t possible.  Well if I’m using BusinessObjects Edition for Analysis OLAP for the analysis report it isn’t possible to pass the context and if I’m using Web Intelligence it is.  So depending on which tool you choose, you will have a different integration outcome.

I find this hard to understand and am surprised that the integration and interoperability of the reporting toolsets doesn’t receive more focus from SAP.  Perhaps there are other factors at stake, but the fact is that SAP is releasing products to the market that do not fully interoperate with each other.  I don’t think I’m alone in being disappointed when we discover that this is the case.   I think to ensure my expectations are managed (and I tend to get pretty excited when new tools are released) I would like to see the interoperability of the tool with other tools in the suite more clearly spelt out in terms of what’s possible and what’s not.

Another scenario where disappointment arose was the functionality and integration of SAP BW data with the initial Design Studio 1.0 release. During a PoC we discovered that Design Studio 1.0 couldn’t leverage true OLAP slice and dice navigation on SAP BW data as BEx Web Application Designer (WAD) could, i.e. I couldn’t drag a dimension from a navigation pane into my crosstab.  Even though the tool was being marketed as a successor to BEx WAD, it was missing this core piece of functionality.  Also there were issues with the integration of BEx variable based prompting and RRI-like interoperability.

These issues led us to deferring adoption of this tool until they are rectified.  Again this lack of functionality and integration wasn’t clear until we tried and in our case, didn’t buy.  I’m aware that both of these issues are planned to be rectified in later releases, but I’d be interested to hear if other people had a similar or different experience to us.

Wrap up

While SAP might indicate that these shortfalls are addressed in the roadmap, it doesn’t fix the user angst today, and only adds to it when we need to change the options for the users later.  In addition there’s still a degree of uncertainty as the roadmap is subject to change.

While such fundamental problems remain, I believe it will be difficult for enterprises that have traditionally used SAP BW reporting tools to fully embrace the complete BusinessObjects tool suite.  For all the limitations in the look and feel and ease of use of BEx queries and the Web Application Designer, they did provide relatively seamless integration and interoperability through the SAP suite.

For such enterprises adopting the BusinessObjects tools would result in functionality being taken away from their user base, and that’s unlikely to fly.  I would like to see both tool interoperability and integration within the SAP suite receive more focus when tools are released to the market, otherwise I’ll continue to be a late adopter and a little bit disappointed.

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33 Comments

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  1. Tammy Powlas

    You raise some good points but I am sensing a tool convergence in some of the sessions at ASUG Annual Conference.

    Some of the things you raise, such as variable prompting, will be corrected with Design Studio 1.1 (planned GA in June).  While Design Studio is the premium successor to WAD, SAP told us yesterday it would take some time for the features to catch up. 

    I’m attending Ingo’s Select the Right BI tool session again today, will report back ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for posting.

    Tammy

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    1. Former Member Post author

      Thanks Tammy – very interested to hear back on the state of play re. Design Studio 1.1.  I’ll look forward to reading your blog on it as always ๐Ÿ™‚

      As mentioned we did run a proof of concept on Design Studio 1.0, and whilst we found that some features were lacking when compared to WAD – I’m hopeful and do think things are heading in the right direction. 

      I do believe if SAP are marketing Design Studio as a premium successor to WAD, then by extension, customers should be receiving enhanced or improved functionality over WAD.  Core functionality, as mentioned in this post, shouldn’t be taken away – otherwise it’s not a premium successor… at least not yet.  Customers currently using WAD would find it very difficult to explain to their user base that we’re adopting a new tool, but by the way, while certain aspects are improved, you can no longer slice and dice your report data.

      I hope my points re. interoperability and functionality are addressed soon (if not in version 1.1) and that there is a clearer path forward.  Most of all, I’m looking forward to fully adopting BusinessObjects tools that fit our requirements… and not as a late adopter!

      Thanks,

      Campbell

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    1. Former Member Post author

      Hi Raphael – firstly great post!  It definitely generated a lot of discussion on your blog and I share a lot of your thoughts and those of others that commented.  I think the fact that there are so many ways to cut the reporting decision tree, hints that there may be too many tools on offer.

      It’s interesting that some of the tools that you describe as niche are the very same tools that are being heavily promoted by SAP at this point in time, i.e. Visual Intelligence (Lumira!), Design Studio and the Analysis Edition for Office/OLAP.  I agree that with the current functionality and SAP suite interoperability issues that these tools are indeed niche and not enterprise grade.  However, from my perspective these tools should be enterprise grade by extending the toolset functionality and thus potential use case reach.  I do look forward to adopting them when the issues I’ve described are resolved.  Taking a specific current example, how can I adopt Design Studio 1.0 over the incumbent WAD when (a) It doesn’t receive the full range of BEx variable prompts, (b) RRI functionality with context is limited and (c) A simple, scalable solution to drag and drop navigation without using coding doesn’t currently exist?!  It’s just not going to happen.

      Also interesting that your decision tree references BEx as the BW OLAP tool.  Again I agree with this at present, but only because the RRI integration capabilities of Analysis Edition for OLAP compared to BEx are limited.  When these issues are resolved, I’d be looking at promoting (anointing?!) Analysis Edition for OLAP as the tool of choice for detailed analysis.  In an effort to increase usability and reduce the total cost of ownership, I’d prefer not to have to pick tools in BEx for certain use cases and BusinessObjects for others.

      Keep posting and look forward to reading some more of your blogs in the future,

      Campbell

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      1. Raphael Branger

        Hi Campbell

        Indeed espeically SAP employees like Ingo weren’t happy about my blog as it doesn’t go together with SAPs marketing machinery and message. But as usual marketing and present state of software is not necessarily the same… Therefore: The rule of thumb is valid as of today, it will (hopefully) be different in one or two years when many of the listed short comings in your blog will be solved.

        Best regards

        Raphael

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        1. Ingo Hilgefort

          Hi Campbell, Raphael,

          everyone can have his own view and it has nothing to do with being “happy” or “unhappy” about it.

          The fact to try to squeeze everything into one product will fail – regardless which BI client you choose. it will fail a lot faster when you running BW and select Web Intelligence because Web Intelligence has no understanding of a multi-dimensional source.

          Campbell:

          The items you mentioned on Analysis, edition for OLAP or Design Studio are already answered in the other response.

          regards

          Ingo Hilgefort

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          1. Raphael Branger

            Hi Ingo

            The fact to try to squeeze everything into one product will fail” – I agree with you. I can only repeat it again and again: The rule of thumb is about the decision process to find the right tool. Not about the outcome. No one states that Webi is the perfect choice for SAP BW. But it is a valid option in certain cases. And there are more aspects to consider for a customer (even a BW customer) than the multi-dimensional functionality. It is also about interoperability and espcially the *current* degree of product maturity and stability. This is what this blog and mines is about. Funny enough that you and the rest of SAP never use product stability as a decision criteria for tool selection… (at least I couldn’t find something) Would be highly interested how you rate stability and maturity for each product in the BOBJ portfolio!

            Regards

            Raphael

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            1. Ingo Hilgefort

              Hello Raphael,

              happy to do so.

              Lets start with Product Interoperability:

              Web Intelligence supports Open Document.

              So do all the other BI clients.

              Crystal Reports, Analysis Office, Analysis OLAP, Design Studio, Dashboards support the Report Report Interface in BW as well.

              Web Intelligence does not.

              Product Stability:

              Web Intelligence is probably the product that causes the most stability issues with BI4 up to this point.

              No Stability issues with Analysis Office, Analysis OLAP, or Design Studio.

              Product Maturity:

              Sure you will say that Web Intelligence is there for several years now, but Analysis OLAP is as well. SAP BusinessObjects had for several years a product called Voyager and Analysis OLAP is the success of it.

              Analysis f Office by itself is already 2 years in the market – very successful – and the maturity is very high also based on the prior existing BEx Analyzer.

              Sure Design Studio you probably see as less mature and we just released v 1.1 – ok – but already in v 1.1 Design Studio has functionality that Dashboards even still until today does not provide – such as a hierarchical navigation of data.

              regards

              Ingo Hilgefort

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              1. Raphael Branger

                Thanks for this. What about the following topics:

                – Crystal Reports for Enterprise stability in general

                – BI Platform interoperability like

                * Scheduling (very useful for slow BW implementations for all those poor customers who cannot yet afford HANA ๐Ÿ˜‰

                * Bursting aka Publications

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                1. Ingo Hilgefort

                  no issues with Crystal Reports f Enterprise.

                  Scheduling is there for CR, WebI, and Analysis.

                  So coming back to my original point:

                  To start with a statement to always try to create everything first with Web Intelligence, especially for customer based on BW or based on HANA, is a fundamentally wrong approach because Web Intelligence does not have a full understanding of multi-dimensional data and the first step for customers with BW and HANA should always be the Analysis Suite to leverage all the elements from the data source.

                  sure Web Intelligence can have a spot – but very limited and clearly not recommended as first choice how you put it

                  regards

                  Ingo Hilgefort

                  regards

                  Ingo

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          2. Raphael Branger

            Hi Ingo

            I’d like to get back to you with three questions posed by a customer recently:

            – Is it true that also A OLAP will be integrated into Design Studio somewhen in the (foreseeable?) future or is this a rumour without any kind of real background?

            – What exactly is the difference between the BICS functionality available in Webi compared to the BICS functionality in Crystal Reports for Enterprise today?

            – Is the BICS functionality in both tools (Webi and CR4Ent) further developed independently (e.g. risk that there is no further development of BICS in Webi) or can a customer assume that they are more or less on the same level of functionality?

            Thank you for your valuable feedback!

            Best regards

            Raphael

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  2. Ingo Hilgefort

    Hello Campbell,

    let me give you some pointers and let me clarify some items:

    1. You are talking about Dashboards and Design Studio and it seems that you assume that both products will stay. Which is not true. I would suggest you take a look at this statement of direction which was released 12 months ago already:

      http://blogs.sap.com/analytics/files/2012/04/External-SAP-SOD-Dashboarding-2012.pdf

    2. You also talk about the convergence of functionality where I would point to Dashboards and Design Studio again as an example. In addition a lot of people have the impression – just as an example – that SAP BusinessObjects Explorer and for example Visual Intelligence are totally different products, which would be a wrong impression as the one is web base and the other is a desktop product. The same is true for Analysis, edition for Office and Analysis, edition for OLAP.
    3. On your third point you refer to the guided navigation and you give an example to navigate from a dashboard to Analysis. that is for sure possible already. The complete BI suite is offering two things in this area: support for the Report Report INterface and we also offer an application called OpenDocument wich can call content from your BI server and you can hand over complete context. and the context is possible with all the BI tools – Analysis, edition for OLAP with BI 4.1 which is in RampUp now.
    4. You then mentioning the missing navigation items for Design Studio and I assume you refer to navigation on the right mouse click or a simple drag and drop navigation. Correct that is not there yet but you can achieve the navigation already using scripting. Hierarchical navigation is already available.

    So I hope that the information above corrects most of your views as most of the items yo u stating are already possible today – with the exception of the drag and drop navigation in Design Studio.

    In regards to the actual tool selection  two pointers here:

    Here some slides

    https://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-11876

    Here a webinar

    https://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-23504

    For a typical SAP BW with SAP BusinessObjects BI implementation the recommendation would clearly start with Analysis, edition for Office and Analysis, edtion for OLAP and then to extend to Design Studio for dashboarding.

    hope this helps

    regards

    Ingo Hilgefort

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    1. Former Member Post author

      Hi Ingo, thanks for your comments – especially during a busy time at Sapphire, it is much appreciated. I’d like to respond to the points that you raised, providing a perspective on what I was focused on:

      1. Dashboards and Design Studio.  My point was more focused on the fact that BusinessObjects toolsets (like these two as an easy example) that currently exist today that have significant overlap in functionality.  Other tools also have intersections of functionality that I could point towards too.  In such cases I would hope that SAP is (like with DesignStudio) seeking to converge the tools and reduce the choice of tools on offer, while increasing the functionality of toolsets.

      2. I think you’ve confirmed my point above in your SAP BusinessObjects Explorer and Visual Intelligence (Lumira) example.  I know it’s just an example, but it’s a great example of what’s causing the confusion.  I think a factor in this confusion is the proliferation of toolsets… it’s making things confusing.  If these aren’t totally different products, then why have two different products? With different names?  I think a lot of users don’t care about whether or not it’s a desktop version or a web based version.  How they access the tool is important, but I believe they care more about the functionality and capability of the tool and the value it delivers to them in their job.

      3. With BusinessObjects 4.0 we cannot currently receive Opendoc parameter context into Analysis Edition for OLAP, i.e. from Dashboards.  To confirm this we trialed this scenario ourselves, directly confirmed with SAP and have read other sources (such as: http://scn.sap.com/message/13901094) – should we have to go to such lengths?  This inability to receive parameter context breaks the guided navigation principle and where this context is of a high business value, we don’t have the option to take it away from our users.   Hence the continuing adoption of BEx in this scenario which can receive the context from Dashboards and an envisaged future (late) adoption Analysis Edition for OLAP.

      Interestingly, I note that in BusinessObjects 4.1 Analysis Edition for OLAP version guided navigation between two Analysis Edition for OLAP reports aren’t possible (out of the box without workarounds).  I can envisage some scenarios where this is of a high business value, i.e. where two analysis reports are at different levels of granularity, contain different dimensions and help explain the data in the other.  Again, not having this capability may prevent some enterprises from adopting the 4.1 version.

      4. Yes, I was referring to the navigation pane and really do look forward to the 1.1 version of Design Studio.  I think it’s a really promising tool and wish to adopt this as the premium successor to BEx WAD.  Scripting and introducing an additional code liability to support/maintain (potentially in each report) doesn’t sound like the most viable workaround to me, when this functionality is currently delivered out of the box with WAD.  Many users like me want that out of the box, and I’m sure that’s why it’s receiving some attention and will be delivered in the future.

      In short, the ground is still shifting underneath these tools and while we’re trying to avoid great tool shifts in the future with the roadmap* in mind (* subject to change), it is coming. I’m hoping that SAP is keeping this front of mind… in our case we will be delivering BEx and Dashboards to new users knowing that we’d be removing them once certain sets of key functionality are available.  I’d really like to avoid or minimise this as much as possible… and believe SAP can help me in this endeavour.

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      1. Henry Banks

        Hi,

        I’m sorry to hear of your disappointment.. You’re actually adopting our products at a most interesting and innovative time. The latest BI4.1 is the most complete, advanced and quality BusinessObjects offering to-date.

        Re: point # 2 – to confirm again: Visual Intelligence and Explorer are seperate products.

        • Explorer is part of our traditional BIPlatform.
        • Visual Intelligence is part of the newly named Lumira suite.  Lots of buzz about this at Sapphire right now about this self-service data discovery tool.

        Personally speaking, I’ve always taken point-0 releases (4.0, 1.0) as being the initial evolutionary step, with significant gains by the time the .1 version comes along.

        I’m hoping you’ll soon be able to benefit from the hard work we’ve been putting in these last years.

        Cheers,
        H

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      2. Ingo Hilgefort

        Hello Campbell,

        I think you missed the point on item #1 and item #2.

        Design Studio will take over the role of dashboarding, so it is not an additional product but instead it will succeed the Web Application Designer and Xcelsius.

        The example I gave on Visual Intelligence and Explorer is very similar. We do have customers that prefer a desktop environment over a web based environment, which is where Visual Intelligence comes in; think of Visual Intelligence like Explorer for your desktop environment.

        on item #3: as I mentioned in my response Analysis, edition for OLAP does support OpenDoc with Content in 4.1 which is already in RampUp.

        regards

        Ingo

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  3. Paul Burns

    To me the biggest dissapointment is the instability of Webi in 4.0. Right now it is a barrier for us to deploy BI 4.0. It sucks because I am a huge fan of the capabilities of Webi 4.0 as well as the Analysis MS Office would be a huge benefit for our company. But since everything is mostly packaged together in the new Launchpad and since we are mostly a Webi shop we are stuck until most of the Java related issues of Webi get corrected.

    Alongside of that I think the lack of training materials (specifically talking about Webi) is also severely limiting potential usage. Yes there is the basic training, however one of the biggest improvements is obviously the graphical capabilities of Webi 4.0 and the users are left to figure out all of the formatting options all on their own. I’ve been working in Webi 4.0 for about a year now and have recently upgraded to SP5 (which was a mistake, as its just a slow as 3.1 SP4, our current production environment) and am still finding new things on how to format charts and graphs. I have created some pretty awesome reports, it just sucks that I have to hit save every 5 min because at that point Im sure to run into some of the many Java errors that crash the report.

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    1. Tammy Powlas

      Hi Paul – I am not a WebI expert but I did attend an ASUG session yesterday from Mark Cooper of British American Tobacco.  If you are using BW as a data source, Mark recommended Analysis for OLAP, as it is also part of the BI4 launchpad.

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      1. Paul Burns

        Hi Tammy, we definately plan on using A-OLAP as one of our main reporting tools when we deploy. It will be our replacement for BEx Web. But A-OLAP or A-Office doesnt have the capabilities to replace our existing Webi platform. We have a few thousand Webi reports and a good amount are highly customized in both formatting and formulas (as well as requiring Rich Client to upload offline data sources). I know our folks will love A-MS Office especially, but most of our businesses are ran off of Webi reports.

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    2. Henry Banks

      Hi,

      it really shouldn’t be unstable.

      Is your Platform sized ok?  For the workflows you’ve described, especially in the area of APS configuration, the Charting (Visualization APS) and BEx access (DSL_Bridge) components will have to be heavily tuned.   See http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-31711

      Regards,

      H

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      1. Paul Burns

        Hi Henry, Im not a technical/backend person at all, but we did have a very reputable consulting firm come in and do our installation of 4.0. On top of that I know the technical folks on the team have reviewed the sizing with SAP help desk for tickets that we have opened. In addition to that myself and one of the technical folks did a 1:1 session with SAP down at BI 2013 a few months back and reviewed the sizing there. I will defaintely forward this link to them though, so thank you for that.

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      2. Paul Burns

        The 4.0 Administrator on the team confirmed to me that the recomendations from the document have already been implemented.

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  4. Former Member

    Trying to start Go-live with BO 4.0.

    Working with 4.0 from GA (09.2011).

    Crazy products (webi, crystall, a-olap). Buggiest. Non user friendly, a lot of missed functionalities. Prompt dialogues in webi and CRE – nightmare.

    And no one BO BI tools dont have any write capabilities.

    I opened more that 50 ideas on ideas.sap.com about BO!

    Small of examples:

    Reports based on BEx don’t able to Drill โ— . What for we need this without Drills?

    Webi – Unstable, Buggiest, UI modal dialogues – nightmare, low customizalable, WRC query editor dialogue <> DHTML query editor dialogue.

    If you want set calculated default value in prompt variable. (by example – Sysdate – 7 days). Now you cant…   Now 21 century…

    WRC – slowest desktop client that i ever seen. Bugs, bugs, bugs.

    Why do not implement Webi Desktop client on Ecplise platform like others – Vi, IDT, HANA Studio?…

    Crystal for Enterprise – does any one using them in real projects ?

    A-OLAP –  OLAP for analytic peoples? on the web? Are you kidding? Very strange product, also non user-friendly. And very-very slowly.

    A-Office – not bad, very user-friendly, my users like them. But doesn’t support RRI to ERP with saplogon. And does not support BO universes.

    A-DS (Design Studio) – not bad, perspective, but doesn’t not support BW-IP.

    IDT – still does not have universe variables… Still does not full support HANA models.

    BI LauchPad – must be rewritten, must be more user-friendly (by example like scn.sap.com).

    and more and more and more feedbacks.

    I think there time to focus on:

    1. User-friendliness

    2. Quality, Quality, Quality

    3. Simplification (reduce number of client tools, architecture)

    P.S.> I am not new in BI world (i am working  also with other bi tools – like MSAS, Oracle BI,  Micro strategy).

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    1. Henry Banks

      Dear Mikhail,

      With all your valuable feedback, I’m wondering if you are engaged with our Solution Managers via the “Customer Engagement Initiatives” ?

      These programs are running for each product (please search with the above terms).  It would be great if we could channel your anger into a more constructive outcome. 

      Incidently, your Ideas Places submissions have been well recieved by Product Group. That mechanism is not dead!

      Kind regards,

      H

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    2. Ingo Hilgefort

      Hello Mikhail,

      let me give you some pointers:

      – Drill : now lets clarify what a drill could mean as everyone might have a different understanding. When customers refer to a Drill they often refer to the option to simply add an additional characteristic / dimension to the report. lets say from Revenue by Country to Revenue by Country and Region.

      Such a drill is possible in all our products. In Web Intelligence the classic drill of a simple click is not possible – correct – because Web Intelligence is not able to leverage the DIMENSION from an InfoProvider (not to confuse with the characteristic).

      – You mentioned you would like to have a prompt based on a system date. In the BW context that is very easily done using an EXIT variable and then Web Intelligence will leverage it.

      – Crystal REports – yes we have lots of customers using it.

      – You seem to question Analysis OLAP as web client. Perhaps you wanna go to the conference session from SAPPHIRE / ASUG where several customers presented how they are using Analysis OLAP and they are using the web client because they prefer not to deploy software on the clients. Using Analysis Office or Analysis OLAP is a deployment question and we have lots of customers that do not want to deploy software on the client PC.

      – you are touching on the performance of A OLAP, here my guess would be that either there is already a performance issue in BW or the sizing of the BI4 system has not been done properly. We know that A OLAP has – size properly – the same performance as BEx Web.

      – Analysis Office does support RRI in the latest release 1.4

      – IDT – what are you referring to with universe variables ? Do you mean support for BEx variables in the Universe ? If so remember that the Universe in the BW context is a relational Universe and does not provide you the complete rich meta-data from BW.

      regards

      Ingo Hilgefort, SAP

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      1. Former Member

        Hi Ingo,

        – Drill : No exact, also – it’s report to report interface. You know what i mean.

        Did you work with A-Olap – it’s UI nightmare. It’s feedback and opinion from my pilot users (business-analyst).  They are not ready to using A-OLAP in they everyday  work.

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        1. Ingo Hilgefort

          Hello Mikkhail,

          Report Report Interface is support by Crystal Reports, A Office, A OLAP, Dashboards already.

          Web Intelligence does not support it.

          and yes I worked a lot with Analysis OLAP and we have lots of customers that replaced BEx Web Analyzer with Analysis OLAP.

          regards

          Ingo Hilgefort, SAP

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          1. Former Member

            A-office?  I write letter to SAP with feedback of my users from financial departments.

            RRI in A-Officce true Web-GUI is not good for end users. ERP transations in Web-GUI interface….No way. They was very disappointed.

            Also WEBI does not support Alerts.

            About A-Office.

            Again and Again: Web-like, Very slowly, Non-UI Dialogs (just look at Select elements popup screen). Do not trying replace desktop clients for analitics  using web-like interfaces – it’s bad idea.

            In every-day business-analytics work with  fast desktop-like BI-clients. It’s comfortable and It’s real life. Why VI is very popular?  because VI – it’s pretty, fast and desktop like.

            P.S> But i seen fast  web-like interface – it  is web in MSTR (Microstrategy). And in IBM Cognos,  and  in Oracle BI.   Just compare.

            Cognos – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USfaTTJuc-Q

            Oracle BI –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7Qp32_QjGs

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            1. Ingo Hilgefort

              Hi Mikhail,

              A Office and A OLAP have similar UI – yes – because that is what customer are asking for so that people don’t have to learn each UI over and over again.

              You seem to now compare VI with A Office and A OLAP and sorry to say – you can’t. Both products have a very different user in mind. VI for example has no notion of true multi-dimensionality, A Office or A OLAP do.

              and the “performance” is not something that the BI tool decides, it is the underlying backend and the configuration and sizing of the backend – in this case BW and your BI4 server.

              regards

              Ingo Hilgefort

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          2. Former Member

            Hi Ingo – can you provide any references for the report to report interface development (assume this is called Open Document). Looking at the master guide below currently, any other good reference?

            http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/boexir4/en/xi4_opendocument_en.pdf

            Is there any current (or planned) support for such report to report interfaces with Explorer? Thinking of a use case where aggregated information is analyzed to a certain point and a user needs to jump to corresponding detail, possibly in Analysis (OLAP/Office).

            Thanks,

            Justin

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            1. Ingo Hilgefort

              Hi,

              RRI interface is supported with A Office 1.4, A OLAP 4.1, Crystl REports for Enterprise already, Dashboards already.

              Explorer does not support it at this point in time.

              Ingo

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  5. Vineet Gupta

    We have been trying to transition from using BEx Analyzer and BEx Web Application designer to the new Business Objects reporting tools and I have to agree with the majority opinion in the comments above. Business Objects tools bring in a lot of new features that make reporting easier to use but are missing some key functions of BEx and WAD. With that users end up with too many different tools and a not very happy user experience. None of the developers on the BW team have come to the conclusion that the new BO tools are providing the expected usability improvement. Frustration level is high, specially as relates to variables, performance and stability. We are hoping that with some more product development time, situation will improve. Ingo ASUG session on what BEx features are supported in which BO tool was excellent and of great help for developers on our team.

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  6. Former Member

    Unfortunately my team still haven’t any workarounds on missed basic functionality – prompts default values.  Very child limitation, but very painful.


    Ideas ad details about this:

    Calculated default values – ideas

    https://ideas.sap.com/ct/ct_a_view_idea.bix?c=1DA84A30-1E5A-43FA-95C5-857A8B99D197&idea_id=161A4002-5B4C-4823-943B-B447CF052F3E

    https://ideas.sap.com/ct/ct_a_view_idea.bix?c=E445BDF0-DEF5-4D6A-8A1D-519A4D301682&idea_id=1918147C-6E1A-4DDD-939A-E9182391E508

    Ability to using functions/calculations in @prompt default value parameter on Semantic Layer (IDT)

    @Prompt(‘Enter value(s) for Something:’, ‘A’, ‘Class\Something’, Mono, Free, Persistent, {sysdate – 14} )

    https://ideas.sap.com/ct/ct_a_view_idea.bix?c=E445BDF0-DEF5-4D6A-8A1D-519A4D301682&idea_id=8D91ED5D-99CA-44C8-B49A-B107E723361D

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