While we have definitely seen an acceleration in organizations using or moving operational applications to the cloud, Business Intelligence has lagged behind.
Today, the majority of BusinessObjects customers use the product on premise and that will not change for a while.
Well firstly, if the main data warehouses, repositories, or application databases that BusinessObjects accesses are on premise, it makes no sense to move BusinessObjects to the cloud until you move its data sources to the cloud.
Some customers are building new cloud-based data warehouses or data lakes using products like Snowflake or SQL Server on Azure but this is expensive and takes time and is often a multi-year project.
Those customers that have already moved BusinessObjects to the cloud have been pleased to find it is quite easy and surprised to find that it runs and behaves exactly the same. The reason for this is that all you are really doing is hosting BusinessObjects on a server in the cloud which is no different to hosting it on a server at a datacenter or in your building. The software is exactly the same and will remain that way for the foreseeable future.
Now if you are moving your data warehouse or repositories from, say, an on-premise instance of Oracle or DB2 to Snowflake or SQL Server on Azure, then you will need to regression test all your BusinessObjects queries and reports. This makes sense because the underlying database and, possibly some SQL, have changed. However, if you are moving from SQL Server or Oracle data sources on premise to SQL Server or Oracle data sources in the cloud, then just sample testing should be fine.
A lot of customers already have some applications in the cloud and may have their own private cloud for these applications. It therefore makes sense when they move their data warehouses and BusinessObjects to move them to their existing private cloud.
You also have the option of hosting with a third party. Many software vendors, including SAP, offer cloud hosting for BusinessObjects and its data sources. SAP recently launched its BusinessObjects Private Cloud Edition (PCE) offering which includes cloud hosting on AWS, Azure or GCP along with license subscription and maintenance of BusinessObjects. The pricing is based on the size of the cloud resources required and includes regular backups and one service pack upgrade a year. What it does not include is the day-to-day administration of your BusinessObjects deployment. You will still be required to manage users, access, monitoring and troubleshooting or contract it out to a managed services vendor.
InfoSol has seen an upsurge in its BusinessObjects Managed Services offering since early 2020 and it is probably no surprise that it coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic. While almost all of these deployments are on-premise, we are starting to see some switching to the cloud which is very straightforward for a company that has already done this many times.
Will you save money by moving BusinessObjects to the Cloud?
Whether or not you save money by moving BusinessObjects to the cloud is debatable and there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration. Those customers that already are paying for their own private cloud and just add BusinessObjects to it, will probably see some savings.
So the bottom line here is if and when you decide to move BusinessObjects to the cloud, take your time as there is no real rush, and when you do, it is really no big deal.