This is usually the time of the year when people make predictions about the coming year. I have done this myself many times but, this year, I am going to make a prediction about the next 10 years.
Here it is :
“BusinessObjects will continue to thrive and remain the most solid BI reporting tool for the next 10 years and beyond”
It is not just the fact that SAP changed it’s BI and Analytics Statement of Direction in June this year and announced a 10-year plus roadmap for BusinessObjects which, by the way, is unprecedented among BI vendors, there is a lot more to support my prediction.
Firstly, Let’s take stock of the current BI landscape. While it is currently dominated by PowerBI and Tableau with efforts from Looker, Sisense and Thoughtspot to get some attention, I do not see any BI solution out there that is as capable as Web Intelligence or Crystal Reports for comprehensive BI reporting. Yes, organizations still run on paginated reporting – like it or not – it is reality.
As far as I am aware, Tableau has no plans to introduce paginated reporting and Microsoft has ported their SSRS (Reporting Services) tool to PowerBI to provide this capability. This is not widely used among PowerBI customers today and those that are using it are finding some challenges in recreating what they have in Web Intelligence and Crystal Reports.
Secondly, there is no simple and inexpensive way to replace Web Intelligence and Crystal Reports. You cannot migrate and conversion requires an enormous effort in resources and cost that it is almost better (and recommended in my opinion) to re-create in the new tool. If you are going to re-create, then you may as well go back to the business and re-define requirements and needs and build something better and more functional than exists today. That, of course, will be the most expensive option in terms of time, resources and cost.
Thirdly, the BusinessObjects product is not standing still. Even after 30 plus years, it continues to evolve and add exciting new functionality with no signs of that slowing down for the foreseeable future. Just look at some of the new features coming out with each service pack of the current BI 4.3. The new user interface, data profiling, improved dimension merging, using the semantic layer on top of any data source just to name a few. Also with the announcement of BI 2024 to be released after BI 4.3, we can be sure to see a lot more.
Some organizations have prematurely canceled maintenance on BusinessObjects only to come back and reinstate it a year or two later when they realize how costly it will be to replace it. Some believe that nobody is buying BusinessObjects any longer but we are seeing and implementing new deployments.
I cannot remember seeing so much demand for BusinessObjects and Crystal Reports consulting services in 2022 than in the last 7 years.
Having worked with the BusinessObjects product for more than 25 years, I could not be more excited about it’s future. It is a solid investment, a solid product and has a solid future.
good to know, good post.
Insightful article, and in complete agreement regarding the effort of re-creating existing Webi & CR reports. The BOE hosting options with PCE (Private Cloud Edition) are interesting and address many customer concerns regarding maintenance.
Ed – thank you for your feedback. The BOE PCE hosting option has not been very popular due to the cost so most BO customers who have moved to the cloud are hosting on their own Private Cloud.