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Sapphire Conference 2016 - BusinessObjects Resurgence

What’s in a Name? Everything, if it’s BusinessObjects!

SAP has always had a fondness for renaming products . This has often caused confusion particularly when the new name does not catch on and most people still refer to the product by its old name as in the case of Xcelsius renamed to SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards.

Then sometimes the new name does catch on but the product does not, as in the case of Lumira renamed from Visual Intelligence.

However, the latest renaming of BI and Analytics tools  by SAP, announced at Sapphire 2016 this week, is more of a complete re-branding and brings a refreshing breeze of reality to the true state of play.

As of today,  all of SAP’s Business Intelligence and Analytics tools will unify under the BusinessObjects brand.

There will be two main suites namely :

  • SAP BusinessObjects Cloud (formerly called SAP Cloud for Analytics)
  • SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise ( which is the on premise offering and now includes both the classic BusinessObjects suite and all the newer analytics tools – SAP BusinessObjects Lumira and SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Analytics)

On top of these will sit SAP BusinessObjects Roambi, the new acquisition by SAP with its stunning visual mobile analytics that is available as both a cloud and on premise solution .

Since BusinessObjects remains the most popular BI suite in use today, the name certainly has brand recognition and is synonymous with Business Intelligence. This could definitely help relatively new or unknown products in the ever-growing SAP analytics portfolio.

It could  also be advantageous for a future marketing strategy of encouraging on premise  BusinessObjects users to look at the BusinessObjects Cloud  solution .

However, the branding does not change the fact that the tool sets themselves are very different and there is little or no integration between them and an unspecified roadmap as to if and when they will ever come together.

The classic BusinessObjects suite with Web Intelligence, Crystal Reports, Dashboards (Xcelsius), Live Office, Analysis, Explorer is tried, trusted and incredibly popular and will be around for years to come. The tools are embedded and mission critical in so many industry applications that it makes no sense to deprecate them and SAP has no plans to do so.

The newer analytics tools like Lumira have struggled for five years to evolve and become viable but they have so little presence outside of the SAP ERP world that their market share in the overall BI product marketplace is insignificant. SAP just announced the convergence of Lumira and Visual Design Studio (now called SAP BusinessObjects Lumira Studio) but the two tools combined are not likely to change their lack of popularity. Yes, they run well on HANA but so does Tableau.

SAP BusinessObjects Cloud is the latest BI offering from SAP and the one that they are investing in very heavily going forward. It has great potential but a long way to go before it can seriously compare or compete in the very overcrowded and competitive BI marketplace that exists today. However, Roambi could help fill that gap for them as a viable BI Cloud offering in the interim.

I feel the BusinessObjects branding is a smart move on the part of SAP but they need to follow up with a clear BusinessObjects product strategy and direction keeping in mind that at least 75% of BusinessObjects users today do not use SAP ERP, BW or HANA.

In the meantime, the BusinessObjects resurgence continues to surge.

About Paul

Paul Grill started his career in Information Technology in the U.K. in 1978, as an Executive Data Processing Trainee for Honeywell. More than thirty years later, he still has a voracious appetite for learning as Information Technology continues to advance at an ever accelerating pace. He was first introduced to the world of Business Intelligence in 1991, in France, when he saw a demonstration of an early version of BusinessObjects on Windows 2.1. He returned to the U.S. to rave about this phenomenal product, but it was many years before BusinessObjects made it into the mainstream. Paul founded InfoSol in 1997, and made Business Intelligence one of the key solutions offered by the company. Today, InfoSol is a leading SAP BusinessObjects solutions partner, known for its expert consulting, education and innovative add-on solutions. Paul is well known within the SAP BusinessObjects community for his extensive knowledge of Business Intelligence, and he has lectured and written many articles on the subject. Paul enjoys writing, running and coaching kids soccer, and is passionate about Ancient Egyptology.

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2 comments

  1. Thanks for the information Paul. I came from a company which was an SAP shop and we used Bobj. I am now with a new company and we’re in the process of evaluating which BI tool to bring in. I’m intrigued by the new SAP BO Cloud offering, primarily because it runs on HANA. However, in terms of functionality what on-prem product is it the equivalent of? webi? Lumira? Design Studio? and does it have all the functionalities of those products or only a subset? Does it include any of Roambi’s mobile BI functionalities? Any info you provide will be appreciated. Thanks

  2. Hi Monty – I am not sure there really is an on-prem product from SAP that is the equivalent of the new BO Cloud offering. SAP is truly building this from scratch. It could be argued that Lumira and Lumira Studio (ex. Design Studio) provided a proving ground but I am sure SAP will want to avoid making the same mistakes as they did with these tools. Roambi is a good choice for tool that can deliver compelling results quickly and works both on-prem and in the cloud but it is not as comprehensive as a full BI platform where complex reporting as often required. If it was me, right now I would bring in the BusinessObjects suite and use Web Intelligence and HTML5 dashboards (solid, proven , fast to deploy and get results). I would definitely avoid any new tools. Paul