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According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), less than 44% of employees know where to find the information they need for their day-to-day job.

As an IT professional, you might think that this doesn’t apply to your company. After all the dashboards and data you’ve made available, it’s hard to imagine your users don’t have the business intelligence they need to make the best decisions. But in my experience, the HBR study is not far off the mark.

I don’t want this to happen to any of our customers in Asia-Pacific Japan (APJ). Not on my watch. That’s why we’re launching Analytics Plus for APJ, to help our SAP BusinessObjects customers in the region close the “access & availability” gap and provide information consumers access to all the innovations that have taken place since BOBJ, as it is affectionately known, became a part of SAP.

SAP is the market leader in Business Intelligence, and has been since BOBJ became part of our portfolio in 2007. BOBJ was one of a handful of firms that invented the Business Intelligence space in the early 1990s, and later rose to dominate it. SAP acquired BOBJ’s technology and a worldwide customer base of over 46,000 companies.

BOBJ has matured and continued its leadership in BI as part of SAP. But ironically, many long-time BOBJ customers are still sitting on the sidelines unsure how to move forward with BI, and that’s especially true in APJ. That’s unacceptable.

Analytics Plus is aimed at customers who invested in BOBJ five or ten years ago and are still running an older version of the product. It’s designed not only to make it simple to upgrade to the latest and greatest version, but to make life easier for IT as we move into the future of BI.

Here’s how it works. The Analytics Plus program lets customers take their investment in BOBJ and apply the full price paid for all currently licensed and supported products to new BusinessObjects 4.0 Enterprise Suite licenses. It’s like saying, if you bought the original iPhone, show us the receipt and we’ll credit you the full purchase price toward an iPhone 5. How’s that for simple? I wish Apple would do that!

How are we able to do this? Most companies that bought BOBJ solutions were licensed either by the number of users, or for the number of CPUs on the server. That pricing model is now outdated.

As CPU speed has gotten better, companies don’t need as many CPUs. With regard to users, now that just about everyone has a mobile phone, a tablet and a desktop computer, now you’re not one user, you’re three users.

So what SAP did was change our pricing to be concurrent user-based. We no longer care how many CPUs you have. We basically say, OK, you can have it on every device, and when you turn on one device we count you as one concurrent user.

With this program, companies can either buy off their legacy contract and continue to pay user or CPU pricing if that’s what they want, or they can pay concurrent user pricing and get all the new things.

The bottom line is that if you originally paid us $500,000, we’ll take that $500,000 and tell you how much that gets you in concurrent user pricing, and you can figure out what additional components you want.

The only thing we require is that companies run the latest version of the software. Most customers want it, or want some functionality that it has that they can’t buy on a stand-alone basis. So, this is a great opportunity to get our best cutting edge stuff such as Mobile BI, Explorer, and Visual Intelligence, Design Studio (aka Zen) and multi-source universes, which all come as part of the suite.

Most companies originally only licensed one or two interfaces or components; with the trade-in program they get them all, and all the future upgrades. This is where life gets easier for IT.

Whether you use all the interfaces right now or not, and we think most companies eventually will, there’s tremendous value to getting all the solutions from one vendor.

As you know, in any company there are always a handful of super-users on the leading edge, whose demands exceed the requirements of the average user IT buys for. These people often end up going out and buying these niche products and before you know it, IT is supporting two solutions, with two different back ends, and two different skill sets. Our goal is to be a full service vendor that solves that problem.

The data structure that sits underneath all the tools in BOBJ is called the Universe. So the value for IT of getting the full suite is, they only have to deal with one universe. In most cases this will reduce the need for data marts, data warehouses and rogue Excel spreadsheets. You get to go to your business users and offer them everything, and on a mobile device--and you only ever have to support one skill set so that’s huge.

The value to the business user is they’re now getting access to all state of the art components. They may use one, they may use two; it doesn’t really matter. What we’re seeing from most corporations these days, SAP included, is that they provision everybody for everything and the user gets to decide what’s the right tool for the job.  This is great stuff. If you haven’t seen BOBJ in a while, or think I’m just drinking the Kool-aid, check out SAP Analytics TV on YouTube and see for yourself. 

That’s why for a lot of companies this the right thing to do. Not every company is the same, but in any case for SAP to resell them completely new licenses just so they can get the latest and greatest isn’t the right thing to do. It’s not right for the customer, and it’s not right for SAP.

We think this provides tremendous value to our customers in APJ. The value to SAP is that as we continue to innovate with BOBJ, we can all move forward together.

If you want to see it all live and first hand join me at SAPInsider in Singapore October 16th – 18th.  I’ll be there with the Global Business Intelligence Leadership team, key customers, mentors and partners.  We will have hands-on sessions, meet the expert events and you’ll even hear from customers who are using these new solutions.

If you can't make it to Singapore, and your company or your customer's company could benefit from Analytics Plus, contact us at, leave me a comment, email me or DM  @bilafer on Twitter.