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***Just a quick shout out to let you know that there’s some exciting news coming at the ASUG BusinessObjects User Conference with regard to SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1. Stay tuned!***

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1 is the first point release of SAP’s market leading Business Intelligence Suite, a BI Suite that allows organizations to have one suite for all insight, one place for all information and one standard for enterprise BI. If you haven’t noticed already there’s a play on the number one here.

This number one is significant because we all know that there is a large group of particularly conservative, often large, customers and partners supporting those customers, that wait for the first point release of any large enterprise software solution before they decide to make the leap and adopt it.  With BI 4.1 we now have over two years of development that has culminated in core stability and capability improvements spanning key new innovations, incremental product advances from 4.0 and re-introduced features from XI R2 and XI 3.  With a focus on quality deserving of a professional grade BI platform, all customers and partners, including existing XI R2 and XI3 customers, BW customers, DeskI customers, customers using OEM versions of BI, and partners, can migrate to this newest platform of SAP’s BI Suite.

New capabilities around enterprise self-service enable users at both the corporate and departmental levels to make real-time decisions without IT dependence, using their mash-ups of persistent and transient data to create a standard of truth that is essential when moving toward BI’s holy grail of a network of truth. And advances in Mobile BI and dashboarding provide the freedom for users to share that truth without being fettered by the traditional chains of location or platform.

The SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 What’s New L2 presentation is an abridged account of all of the goodness that can be found in BI 4.1. In addition to the thousands of hours of development work that has gone into making BI 4.1 the solid, enterprise ready, professional grade platform that our biggest stakeholders demand of us it is also chock full of new capabilities around self-service, dashboarding and mobile BI as well as enterprise class features like SAML SSO, multi-tenancy and simplified deployment and migration tools.

BI 4.1’s enterprise self-service capabilities like integrated collaboration with SAP Jam and the integration of SAP Lumira with Explorer enable users at both the enterprise and departmental levels to make real-time decisions without IT dependence.  With BI 4.1 IT is able to begin focusing more on curating information rather than creating it. As an end user I can mash up information from the corporate level provided to me by IT, with my personal data from a spreadsheet or web data, create a view of the information that is relevant to me and share it with the world through Explorer.  And because this is all done on the BI platform there is a standard of truth that everyone that uses the platform can rely on which gets us closer to the idea of a network of truth where people from all corners of an organization can use BI to create and see information in the many different contexts that are relevant to each department’s and each user’s point of view.

BI 4.1 also brings official support for both net new and updated versions of key platforms and database technologies which can be found in the BI 4.1 Product Availability Matrix. Now I know that sounds boring, blah, blah, blah, but let me highlight to you a few examples of how interesting this really is.

It means that you can use BI to fulfill the promise of Big Data. We love Big Data!  Hadoop is one example of Big Data.  At the end of last year we supported Hadoop Hive and with BI 4.1 we now support Amazon Elastic MapReduce, a cloud based variant of Hadoop. We now also support Teradata 14 which has arguably been in the Big Data space for years.  And of course there’s HANA.  We have supported HANA since it’s introduction.  Now with BI 4.1 we have the ability to auto-generate Universes against data that has been migrated from a traditional database based BI solution to a HANA based BI solution.  All of those universes and reports and dashboards and queries that you have created against SQL Server or DB2 or Oracle or any other relational database can within a few clicks be automatically re-created in to universes against HANA and be up and running with the same reports, dashboards and queries in a HANA-based BI solution.

As a BI company SAP has never met a data source it didn’t like. In fact we now connect to over 140 different data sources…more data sources than we have ever supported. And with BI 4.1 we have some extra special love for Oracle. We now officially support Oracle ExaData and Oracle OLAP.  For all of those shops that manage their data with Oracle databases, as of BI 4.1 we can now provide the opportunity to use SAP BusinessObjects BI, the world’s most successful BI solution, against all of your Oracle data sources, including plain vanilla Oracle 11g to the newly supported Oracle ExaData as well as Oracle’s OLAP sources of Oracle Essbase and Oracle OLAP.  You now have the ability to use SAP BusinessObjects BI against every major Oracle data source.

Our broad data connectivity story expands to OLAP, too. We now connect to more multi-dimensional data sources than ever before. With the native OLAP capabilities of Analysis for OLAP in BI 4.1 we can now analyze multi-dimensional data in HANA, BW, Teradata, Analysis Services, Oracle Essbase, and Oracle OLAP.  That represents probably 90% of all the multi-dimensional data out there.

And lastly, we have a number of re-introduced capabilities in the BI Suite including:

  • WebI, Universe and platform SDKs.  These are in addition to the new and enhanced SDKs for our visualization library called CVOM, Mobile BI, Dashboarding and Lumira that allow our customers and partners to customize, extend and integrate with their existing IT ecosystems and use BI to embrace the internet of things
  • Explorer is now supported against .unv type Universes
  • Both mobile and web-based (Xcelsius) Dashboards can now be used offline

And finally, all of the content that is created in BI 4.1, from Lumira documents and Exploration Views, to dashboards, to reports, to OLAP analysis views, can all be consumed in our upcoming unified Mobile BI application.

Now you may be asking how you can get your hands on all of this goodness, right?

Well just 4 short weeks ago we started giving customers and partners with aggressive BI project timelines access to the BI 4.1 Ramp-Up program. Many of you reading this blog have been waiting for this release for a long time.  We want to give it to you.  In order to do that we have aggressive objectives and timelines for the first phase of this BI 4.1 Ramp-Up and we are therefore concentrating on customers with equally aggressive project timelines where at least some portion of your project Go Live is in June or July. With a limited number of customers we will be able to provide the focus and support necessary to reach our exit KPIs as quickly as possible so that all customers can enjoy the benefits of BI 4.1 when it goes GA.

If your project timelines don’t meet the date criteria above, we continuously evaluate the status of the program and we may be able to offer an opportunity to participate in a second phase of Ramp Up currently planned for the end of July, 2013.

For more detailed information on BI 4.1 please refer to the Getting Started with SAP BusinessObjects BI Solutions site which includes a SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 What’s New L1 and SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 What’s New L2 presentation.

And for more information in general on how to get the most out of your SAP BusinessObjects BI investment please take advantage of these great resources:

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