The Americas SAP User Group (ASUG) announced last month that it was immediately terminating the Global BusinessObjects Network (GBN) Special Interest Group. This was a group set up a few years ago to represent the BusinessObjects Only community – those BusinessObjects users who did not use SAP ERP or other SAP products.
The GBN tried hard to bring value to the BusinessObjects community through a unique mini-series of training webinars on Web Intelligence, BO Dashboards, Universe Design and Crystal Reports but ASUG complained that the training was being delivered by partners instead of customers.
It is these same partners that have consistently sponsored and supported ASUG’s annual Business Intelligence and Analytics conference but, unfortunately, this conference took a drastic wrong turn a couple of year’s ago when it both dropped BusinessObjects from its name and its core content. It has been reduced to a shadow of its former self and lost the majority of its BusinessObjects attendees.
SAP has happily encouraged it’s experienced BusinessObjects partners to service the BusinessObjects customer base while it focuses on its newer offerings. What ASUG has failed to understand is that the partners are the experts on the core BusinessObjects product suite.
SAP’s current Business Intelligence strategy is a complete mystery to me and I cannot find two people who can agree on what it is. However, what is clear is that the BusinessObjects BI suite remains incredibly popular around the world and SAP is very aware of this. I estimate there are over 40,000 organizations using it in the US alone and when you add in the OEM solutions that bundle Crystal Reports, Web Intelligence or Xcelsius with their applications that number is multiplied by at least 10.
The BusinessObjects community is strong and growing and has learned to be self-sufficient in terms of its collaboration needs. There are many independent BusinessObjects/Crystal Users Groups holding regular meetings sponsored and run by partners and users around the country and more are starting up every month. The Let’s Speak BO Community is also growing in numbers holding core BusinessObjects educational webinars every two weeks and with a growing library of valuable recordings.
The annual IBIS conference is completely focused on the classic BusinessObjects products and is packed with hands-on training, best practice seminars and real world customer case studies.
There are many passionate individuals from SAP , BusinessObjects partners and the user community who are supporting these events and helping them to thrive.
ASUG has made honest efforts over the last several years to connect with this community but were never able to fully commit and sustain the trust needed to make it successful. I see the elimination of the GBN as an end to this difficult relationship and maybe a better way forward for the BusinessObjects community who have new and exciting options outside of ASUG.