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I was reviewing old files on my PC and found my notes from the May 2008 ASUG Annual Conference pre-conference session.  These are notes and they are outdated but sometimes it is fun to look back.

Business Objects

On Sunday, May 4, 2008, ASUG sponsored an all day pre-conference session on Business Objects, to review the new BI platform.

Business Objects is the new face of BI in SAP. Business Objects has worked with SAP for 10 years.  2000 SAP customers use Business Objects.  Business Objects “completes” the front end of SAP; SAP is the leader in all other areas of data warehousing. 

SAP spent $7B to buy Business Objects, instantly offering a fuller suite of BI solutions.  It offers a complete, integrated stack.

Business Objects is a division of SAP.  The immediate value to customers includes providing a full suite of BI solutions available in one SAP system, an integrated BI platform with deep integration.  SAP will have immediate access to a premium suite of reporting, analytics, and dashboard.  Access will be given to a broader set of performance management solutions that include budget consolidation, operational analytics and compliance reporting.

Business Objects provides ability to unlock information, enabling insight and management performance regardless of application or data source.  It has 3 core layers:


Core BI – foundation for reports, dashboards

EIM – tools solution to build a trusted data foundation, ETL, data quality, metadata management

EPM key areas:

  • Strategic managmenet
  • Planning and consolidation
  • Profitability
  • Combined analytic applications

Going forward, combine EPM and GRM with an integrated BI platform (marketecture)

Business Objects, being the front end, will work on top of NetWeaver.  It will have its own server, a platform to manage dashboards, Crystal

EIM includes data integration, data quality, metadata management, and a data mart solution.  If you currently do not have an ETL tool, you now have Business Objects Data Integrator. 

Data Quality, from Business Objects, plugs into ERP. SAP will combine data quality into Master Data Management.

Metadata management allows you to see source of the system; the lineage of the report back to the source.

Front End Core:

Reporting: Crystal reporting is for formatted reports. Reports can be pushed to the inbox, the web.  These reports are in a static format.

Web Intelligence is used for query reporting, empowering users to build reports on the Web.

Dashboards can be built using Xcelsius and can be displayed in the portal or pushed to PowerPoint.

What happens to Bex (business explorer?)

SAP will continue supporting Bex but innovation will be on Business Objects.

Are there any changes to Data Modeling?

The modeling strategy stays the same; Business Objects needs the back end modeling.

Visual Composer continues to be the go forward strategy.  It is part of the composite application framework and ties processes together.

Future BI Roadmap

Formatted reporting: Crystal Reports will replace Report Designer, eventually.  Report Designer will be supported until 2016.  Crystal connects to ERP and BW.  “Crystal Light” is part of NetWeaver with BI data only. 

Crystal Reports

Only a handful of people develop reports in Crystal. The end user receives the reports. It has a pixel perfect design. 

OLAP Analysis

Voyager works with OLAP only sources and offers a visualization for the OLAP engine.  Pioneer will include Excel Analyzer and Voyager, starting in 2009 for Business Objects customers. 

2010 is the end of maintenance for 3.5.

Ad hoc Query

Web Intelligence is the ad hoc reporting tool.


Xcelsius + will replace Web Application Designer. WAD will not be enhanced beyond 7.1. Web dashboards have a short life. Xcelsius+ is a future release of Xcelsius.  Xcelsius uses flash. 

Visual Composer

The Composition Environment includes Visual Composer.  Visual Composer continues to be the go forward for Composite Applications.

Business Accelerator

In 2010, SAP plans a “standalone” BIA to not work with just NetWeaver, but also work with Business Objects Universes.

If you are on 3.5, you need to upgrade to 7.0 to even begin to use Business Objects tools.

Business Objects XI and SAP Solutions

Two approaches:

  1. Direct approach for ERP and BI
    1. SAP Integration Kit – plug in
    2. Assumes SAP is the datasource for BI
  2. Indirect (ETL) approach for SAP
    1. Data Integrator and SAP Rapid Marts
    2. Assumes a target data mart


End of notes.  As you all know, Xcelsius did not replace WAD, there was no release of XCelsius+

With BI4 the SAP integration kit is no longer required.

Visual Composer is no longer the go-forward strategy.

I've tried to attend every pre-conference session possible since 2007 - a valuable way to spend the day.

Today ASUG members and others still ask about BEx - and for those interested there is a BEx Quo Vadis session next week at ASUG Annual Conference.

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