BusinessObjects Web Intelligence vs. PowerBI – The Truth from the Trenches Part 4

So, for Part 4 of this blog series, I would like to review how you can leverage BusinessObjects to enable and accelerate tools like PowerBI. 

There appears to be a general misunderstanding that organizations can save money by converting from BusinessObjects to PowerBI. Nothing could be further from the truth. PowerBI is not free and requires a lot of skilled resources to implement and maintain it. I have witnessed several organizations attempt to convert and abandon their efforts after a couple of years because they realize it will take many more years to complete and they have run out of budget. 

In Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this blog series, it was clearly shown that PowerBI does not have an equivalent to the BusinessObjects universe and semantic layer and that the best way to convert from Web Intelligence to PowerBI is to recreate everything from scratch. If you are going to recreate from scratch, you may as well do it right and re-gather requirements and design/develop something better and more efficient than what currently exists. Obviously, this will take more time but if you leverage the BusinessObjects universes and workflows that already exist, you can at least get your users using PowerBI now as their primary BI interface. 

Rather than a choice between Web Intelligence and PowerBI, why can’t you use both and leverage the best capabilities of each tool?  

Well, you can and that is exactly what most organizations that have both tools are doing. They are keeping Web Intelligence for their BI reporting and ad-hoc queries and using PowerBI for their business analysts and power users to use for data discovery and data visualization or dashboards. 

This state of co-existence makes perfect sense since Web Intelligence is a better and more mature reporting tool than PowerBI and there is no return on investment for converting hundreds of existing Web Intelligence reports to PowerBI.  

At the same time, if an organization has decided to adopt PowerBI for their BI strategy going forward they will want to focus on the new BI capabilities that they are not currently using in BusinessObjects rather than on reporting. 

And while the two tools can happily co-exist alongside each other, they can actually work even better when you integrate them. 

Most BusinessObjects customers have invested many years of work into creating and refining their universe and Web Intelligence reports which will often contain unique logic, crosstabs and business rules. Rather than attempting to re-create all this in PowerBI, why not simply leverage it by accessing it directly from PowerBI? This can be done by either utilizing the SDK’s or using third party tools like InfoBurst PowerBI. 

This will not only save a lot of time, resources and expense, but it will also help to get PowerBI dashboards and applications rolled out quicker and accelerate end-user adoption. Think of it as using PowerBI as your user interface to BusinessObjects. 

Co-existence is a far more sustainable approach which is why the majority of BusinessObjects customers using PowerBI have adopted it. 

About pgrill

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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