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On June 23 2016, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. This unexpected referendum result – commonly referred to as Brexit – came as a surprise to many observers across the Channel. Thankfully, the decision not to support SAP Business Explorer (BEx) in SAP BW/4HANA —let's call it the SAP BEx-it strategy!—didn't come as such a surprise to long-time SAP Business Warehouse (BW) users.

These users are indeed familiar with the SAP product strategy which focuses on SAP BusinessObjects Analytics as the strategic go-forward business intelligence (BI) and analytics front-ends for SAP BW. While SAP Business Explorer  had been the preferred SAP BW front-end for a long time in the past, the focus on SAP BusinessObjects Analytics has been public for a decade – since SAP completed the acquisition of Business Objects back in 2008 – and not to support SAP Business Explorer  in SAP BW/4HANA (BW/4) simply shows continuity of this product strategy.

Good bye SAP Business Explorer

The backbone of this product strategy has focused on providing BW users with a premium BI and analytics experience addressing commonly accepted limitations in the suite of SAP Business Explorer  tools. One of the key challenges that SAP Business Explorer  users have expressed relates to a dated user interface that is now far from meeting end user's expectations for a modern experience. This user interface has barely evolved in the last decade under the SAP standard support and maintenance terms and conditions applied to SAP Business Explorer . Another key challenge that SAP Business Explorer  users have faced is the lack of support for new use scenarios such as mobility and modern BI with self-service data discovery.

When you consider that SAP  BW/4HANA aims to deliver a modern user experience for all users, it becomes very clear that SAP Business Explorer  is no longer your best bet.

Enter SAP BusinessObjects Analytics

SAP BusinessObjects Analytics solutions provide the full spectrum of modern BI and analytics capabilities that SAP BW/4HANA users need, including reporting, dashboarding, and self-service data discovery, as well as budgeting and planning, and predictive analytics. SAP BusinessObjects Analytics integrate natively with SAP BW/4HANA to support all specific features and advanced capabilities of SAP BW/4HANA through optimized and high performance interfaces and protocols. They enable users to easily combine SAP  BW/4 data with other SAP and non-SAP applications and data sources and they are available for both on-premise and cloud deployments. Unlike 3rd-party front-ends which require extracting data from SAP BW/4HANA to consume it in the best way, SAP BusinessObjects Analytics connect directly to SAP BW/4HANA – and therefore don't require SAP Open Hub.

So, should you still use SAP Business Explorer  today, it's a straightforward recommendation to transition to BusinessObjects Analytics without further ado. You will amplify the value you'll get from SAP BW/4HANA ultimately.

Transition without Disruption

The many BW users who have adopted SAP BusinessObjects Analytics already confirm that SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Microsoft Office, SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio and SAP BusinessObjects Lumira (as of release 2.0) work with their existing SAP Business Explorer  queries enabling a smooth transition without disruption from SAP Business Explorer  analyzer, web analyzer, and web application designer.

So, SAP recommends SAP Business Explorer  users to continue starting there to maximize investment protection and business continuity with front-ends which support the same use cases as SAP Business Explorer  tools. Furthermore, SAP Business Explorer  queries are backend objects not impacted when transitioning to BW/4, so they continue to work as BW queries in SAP BW/4HANA and remain available for consumption with SAP BusinessObjects Analytics.

Moving Forward

While SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Microsoft Office, SAP Design Studio and SAP BusinessObjects Lumira (as of release 2.0) make the perfect start for historical SAP Business Explorer  users, they can be seen as the beginning of a new modern era where massive user adoption becomes a reality and use cases that weren't in reach before with SAP Business Explorer  are now mainstream.

Consider the following:

  • SAP BusinessObjects Roambi delivers stunning visualization of SAP BW/4HANA content on your preferred mobile devices

  • SAP BusinessObjects Lumira enables self-service data discovery of SAP BW/4 in standalone or with the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform to scale trusted data discovery to the enterprise

  • SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation combines planning, budgeting, forecasting, and financial consolidation in a single application that will be available for SAP BW/4HANA very soon

  • SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Analytics automates building and deploying high-performance predictive models online with BW/4

  • SAP BusinessObjects Cloud offers the flexibility of modern BI along with planning and predictive analytics all in one product delivered as software as a service in the public cloud with connection to cloud and on-premises data sources, including SAP BW/4HANA

All these options leverage strong and unique integration to SAP BW/4HANA; all very good reasons to keep moving forward on your path to modern data warehousing with SAP BW/4HANA and best-of-breed BI and analytics on top.

As a next step, you might like to read more about SAP BusinessObjects Analytics and SAP BW/4HANA with this comprehensive FAQ which sheds more light on the combined value of the end-to-end solution.

Are you prepared to embark on such a project? I’d be very interested in your perspective. We can continue the discussion here, by email, or on Twitter @taudas