In December 2019, my employer became a participant in the SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 beta program (see related article, SAP Announces SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 Beta Release).
— Dallas Marks (@DallasMarks) December 23, 2019
To preserve the terms and conditions of the beta program, I’ll defer to my friends at SAP to reveal the improvements and changes coming later this year [UPDATE: Check out Christian Ah-Soon’s SAP BI 4.3: What’s New In Web Intelligence and Semantic Layer]. But there are some broad themes in BI 4.3 that BI managers can start planning for right now.
The End of Browser Plug-Ins
Adobe is pulling the plug on Adobe Flash at the end of 2020. Accordingly, Explorer and Xcelsius/Dashboards support won’t be included in BI 4.3, just like Desktop Intelligence wasn’t included BI 4.0. Organizations that use those Flash-based products should already be planning ahead by phasing out their use (see my related blog, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer and Xcelsius End of Life Doesn’t Have to Mean End of World). If you haven’t already, now is also a good time to begin weaning your Web Intelligence users away from the Java plug-in based Web Intelligence in favor of the HTML edition, as the former will not be included in BI 4.3.
64-Bit Client Tools
BI 4.3 client tools like Web Intelligence, the Information Design Tool and Crystal Reports are getting supersized from 32-bit to 64-bit applications. While most PCs have 64-bit processors, many organizations are still running 32-bit Windows on those 64-bit PCs. Microsoft provides a helpful resource to determine if your workstation is running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows (see related article, 32-bit and 64-bit Windows: Frequently Asked Questions). BI Managers should survey their universe and Crystal Report developers now and begin phasing out 32-bit PCs (and Windows 7, ahem) as needed.
SAP BI 4.3, like its predecessors, will include robust browser support. However, as with SAP Analytics Cloud, Google Chrome is SAP BI 4.3’s preferred browser, with Microsoft Edge being SAP’s second most-preferred browser. Organizations that have historically only supported the aging Internet Explorer should push it to the curb and allow users to choose from either of these two more modern browsers. The latest release of Microsoft Edge has the same Chromium engine that Google Chrome uses, which will hopefully make product support easier for software developers like SAP.
An Upgrade, not a Migration – Maybe
Technically speaking, SAP BI 4.3 should be a simple upgrade for most organizations, not a migration as it was from XI 3.1 to BI 4.0. However, if your server OS is aging it may make sense to build SAP BI 4.3 on new hardware using a modern OS and SAP’s migration tools. Moving to BI 4.3 might also be an opportunity to move your BI implementation to the cloud, especially if your organization’s data warehouse or other primary data sources are also moving there. The current BI 4.2 release supports multiple public cloud options from Alibaba, AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, Oracle, and even SAP via HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) and you should expect cloud support to continue with BI 4.3.
A Fiori Future
The BI 4.3 Launch Pad, including Web Intelligence, will sport a brand-new Fiori interface. While this new user experience will bring the product in line with the rest of the SAP portfolio, it will introduce training challenges for both casual and experienced users. SAP BI 4.2 SP4 and higher have an optional Fiori BI launch pad that can be used to view but not create documents. It may be worthwhile to begin to train new casual users who will consume but not create BI content to use the Fiori BI Launch Pad in BI 4.2 so both your users and your support teams are better prepared for the future.
I hope you’ll find these planning tips useful as you prepare your organizations for the arrival of SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.3.
UPDATE: SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.3 SP0 went into General Availability on June 12, 2020. Here are some helpful links:
- SAP BI 4.3: What’s New in Web Intelligence and Semantic Layer by Christian Ah-Soon on the SAP Community blog
- SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform 4.3 on the SAP Help Portal
- SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.3 Product Availability Matrix (PAM)
- SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform 4.3 Supported Platforms
- The Webi Bulletin on the SAP Community Wiki
What feature or benefit are you most excited about in SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.3? Share your thoughts in the comments below.