The newest version of SAP analytical solutions, known as SAP Business Intelligence 4.2, is completely modern, with an abundance of improvements, as well as capabilities resulting from better integration with SAP and other data sources. When it was introduced to the market, many companies began to think about an upgrade to the newest version of the SAP BusinessObjects solution, its range, and selection of suitable applications. Michal Gruszecki (Hicron), expert in Business Intelligence, helps to dissipate all doubts related to this matter…
SAP BusinessObjects or SAP Business Explorer?
SAP Business Explorer (aka BEx) is recognized as an older version of the SAP analytical solutions available today. It’s considered a relatively inexpensive solution for creating OLAP analyses. This tool enables reports to be embedded both in the MS Excel (BEx Analyzer plug-in), and Web (Web Application Designer and BEx Web) environment. SAP Business Explorer allows users to analyze reports, but these reports can be used only to review and examine data. User involvement during report creation is usually limited to the requirements of the creator of the report. This is a rather obsolete and troublesome approach.
Investment in SAP BusinessObjects is definitely recommended for companies that want to have analytical tools with more clarity, more detailed reporting, and ease of use – in short, modernity and intuitive handling. In contrast to SAP Business Explorer, SAP BusinessObjects enables reports to be created intuitively, even by end users. You can prepare ad-hoc analyses and predefined reports that can be modified for use in any manner, without disturbing the structure of the parent report.
Moreover, SAP BusinessObjects offers very interesting capabilities as regards creating dashboards. Thanks to the visualization, you can use reports practically without any specialist training, and data are presented in a way that facilitates decision making. As SAP BusinessObjects offers popular simulations and what-if analyses, it’s not only a good looking visualization layer. This tool allows users to observe trends and the effect of different components on the company’s KPIs – it helps managers to determine what elements of the strategy will have the main impact on the most important indicators.
Some words about the newest solutions of SAP BusinessObjects
The SAP BusinessObjects Explorer solution is also very helpful for the user. It is based on predefined data view that allows the user to get fast replies to urgent business questions, without having to create reports. For MS Excel enthusiasts SAP offers the SAP BusinessObjects Analysis tool (Advanced Analysis) that allows for the analysis of OLAP queries in the Excel environment. In some ways, this tool can be considered as the successor of SAP BEx Analyzer, due to the very similar functionalities. The icing on the cake is the analytical capabilities of BusinessObjects reports on mobile devices (phones and tablets). As analysts predict – these are the devices that we will use in the future to analyze reports and make decisions.
Complementary or substitute solutions?
Although the function of both solutions: SAP Business Explorer and SAP BusinessObjects is generally similar, they aren’t competitive applications. Both tools can operate at the same time and supplement each other, creating a powerful Business Intelligence solution. Furthermore, companies using SAP BW don’t have to implement the data model again, but are able to apply (after a small modification) existing structures, and use the new solution (SAP BusinessObjects) as a visualization layer for users.
What if I don’t have SAP Business Warehouse?
A lack of SAP Business Warehouse isn’t an obstacle for the use of SAP BusinessObjects solutions. So, from a BusinessObjects level you can download data from SAP and other external data sources, and generate reports from purified, enriched, structured and consolidated data, in an extremely friendly environment. All this happens while maintaining all safety procedures, according to the rule of limited user access to data.
Select the optimal…
When it comes to the selection of BusinessObjects solutions, there’s not only one right decision. The portfolio of tools in the BusinessObjects package is very extensive, and selecting suitable solutions, perfectly adjusted to the company’s needs and area of activity, depends on many factors. It includes: user expectations concerning the analytical platform, company policy for development in the Business Intelligence area and creation of current and future reports, the desired functionalities in this domain, the amount and type of users who generate reports, the parameters and type of database, as well as the expected effect after implementation of the tools. These factors are only a fragment of the aspects that have to be taken into consideration. So if you have to choose from many SAP Business Intelligence solutions available on the market, it’s worth answering some questions:
- Will the functionalities missing in your current version be available in the new version?
- If yes, how important (from the business and user point of view) are these functionalities, and how will they affect productivity?
- What added value will the implementation of SAP BusinessObjects 4.2 bring?