InfoSol https://www.infosol.com/ We're passionate about inspired business intelligence Tue, 06 Dec 2022 23:09:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 BusinessObjects Solid for the Next Decade and Beyond https://www.infosol.com/businessobjects-solid-for-the-next-decade-and-beyond/ https://www.infosol.com/businessobjects-solid-for-the-next-decade-and-beyond/#respond Tue, 06 Dec 2022 17:25:26 +0000 https://www.infosol.com/?p=14206 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 …

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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.

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Let’s Speak BO Webinar: Using the latest features in SAP BO 4.3 to take your Webi Reports and Dashboards to the next level! on December 6th https://www.infosol.com/lets-speak-bo-webinar-using-the-latest-features-in-sap-bo-4-3-to-take-your-webi-reports-and-dashboards-to-the-next-level-on-december-6th/ https://www.infosol.com/lets-speak-bo-webinar-using-the-latest-features-in-sap-bo-4-3-to-take-your-webi-reports-and-dashboards-to-the-next-level-on-december-6th/#respond Wed, 30 Nov 2022 22:00:57 +0000 https://www.infosol.com/?p=14193 Let's Speak BO Webinar - Upcoming EventMore details coming soon on this session where Alan will share the latest features in BO 4.3 to take your Webi reports & Dashboards to the next level. Tuesday, December 6th, 2022 at 10AM PT/1PM ET

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More details coming soon on this session where Alan will share the latest features in BO 4.3 to take your Webi reports & Dashboards to the next level.

Tuesday, December 6th, 2022 at 10AM PT/1PM ET

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Let’s Speak BO Webinar: BusinessObjects Q&A on Tuesday, January 3rd https://www.infosol.com/lets-speak-bo-webinar-businessobjects-qa-on-tuesday-january-3rd/ https://www.infosol.com/lets-speak-bo-webinar-businessobjects-qa-on-tuesday-january-3rd/#respond Wed, 30 Nov 2022 19:03:45 +0000 https://www.infosol.com/?p=14195 Let's Speak BO Webinar - Upcoming EventJoin us for a Q&A focused Let’s Speak BO webinar where you, the community, get to ask, answer and discuss everything BusinessObjects! Registrants to this webinar will be contacted in advance in order to submit questions that will be addressed at the start of the live webinar. Real-time questions throughout the webinar will also allow …

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Join us for a Q&A focused Let’s Speak BO webinar where you, the community, get to ask, answer and discuss everything BusinessObjects!

Registrants to this webinar will be contacted in advance in order to submit questions that will be addressed at the start of the live webinar. Real-time questions throughout the webinar will also allow the community to speak directly to the expert panel.

Running on Tuesday, January 3, 2022

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Let’s Speak BO Webinar: SAP BusinessObjects BI4.3 SP4 Roadmap with SAP France on Tuesday, February 7th https://www.infosol.com/lets-speak-bo-webinar-sap-businessobjects-bi4-3-sp4-roadmap-with-sap-france/ https://www.infosol.com/lets-speak-bo-webinar-sap-businessobjects-bi4-3-sp4-roadmap-with-sap-france/#respond Wed, 30 Nov 2022 18:06:50 +0000 https://www.infosol.com/?p=14198 Let's Speak BO Webinar - Upcoming EventAttend this session to explore the roadmap and future directions of SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, including: What’s coming in the next releases, as well as the timeline and priorities for 4.3 SP4 The enhancements to help you adopt the BI 4.3 How the BI 4.3 SP4 will prepare the next future release, code name SAP …

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Attend this session to explore the roadmap and future directions of SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, including:

  • What’s coming in the next releases, as well as the timeline and priorities for 4.3 SP4
  • The enhancements to help you adopt the BI 4.3
  • How the BI 4.3 SP4 will prepare the next future release, code name SAP BusinessObjects BI 2024

On Tuesday, February 7th, 2022

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Virtual Arizona BusinessObjects User Group (AZBOCUG) – Thursday, February 9th at 1:00pm AZ (MST) http://azbocug.com/register/ http://azbocug.com/register/#respond Wed, 30 Nov 2022 17:00:18 +0000 https://www.infosol.com/?p=2559 We hope you can join us at the next information packed Arizona Business Objects and Crystal User Group (AZBOCUG) meeting. Attendance is free, however; we do ask that you register for count purposes. Visit the AZBOCUG site for more information

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You and your colleagues are invited to join us at the next information packed VIRTUAL Arizona Business Objects and Crystal User Group (AZBOCUG) meeting Thursday, February 9th from 1:00pm to 3:30pm AZ (MST) on Zoom and YouTube Live. 

Registration is free, but we do ask that you register to help us keep count. You can see the location and agenda below the form.

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View Our Upcoming Virtual BusinessObjects Training Offerings https://www.infosol.com/view-our-upcoming-virtual-businessobjects-training/ https://www.infosol.com/view-our-upcoming-virtual-businessobjects-training/#comments Thu, 10 Nov 2022 17:00:43 +0000 https://www.infosol.com/?p=11971 InfoSol Upcoming Virtual BusinessObjects Training GraphicWe offer all of our most popular BusinessObjects training offerings as virtual courses with a live instructor, allowing you to attend the training from your office or home without the added time and expense of travel.  All course materials and connection to the training servers are provided prior to the course start. VIEW OUR UPCOMING …

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We offer all of our most popular BusinessObjects training offerings as virtual courses with a live instructor, allowing you to attend the training from your office or home without the added time and expense of travel.  All course materials and connection to the training servers are provided prior to the course start.

VIEW OUR UPCOMING VIRTUAL BOOT CAMPS:

InfoSol runs virtual hands-on training courses led by a live instructor throughout the year. You can the upcoming courses below and click to view the agenda details for each one.

The Following Courses are Available Upon Request:

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Training is Key to Smooth BI 4.3 Transition https://www.infosol.com/training-is-key-to-smooth-bi-4-3-transition/ https://www.infosol.com/training-is-key-to-smooth-bi-4-3-transition/#respond Tue, 01 Nov 2022 22:25:14 +0000 https://www.infosol.com/?p=14180 Training is Key to Smooth BI 4.3 Transition Feature ImageRecently I was asked to coach a team of 9 year-old boys in a recreational soccer league. I had retired from soccer coaching several years ago after my youngest daughter went to college, but the league said they would have to cancel this age group if they could not find another coach, so I agreed. …

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Recently I was asked to coach a team of 9 year-old boys in a recreational soccer league. I had retired from soccer coaching several years ago after my youngest daughter went to college, but the league said they would have to cancel this age group if they could not find another coach, so I agreed.

It only took a couple of practices for me to remember why I gravitated towards coaching girls rather than boys. There is no shortage of energy and enthusiasm from 9 year-old boys but they just don’t listen. Simple instructions like pass, tackle, shoot go right in one ear and out the other and when you take them to one side and quietly explain what you want them to do, they nod with an eager “yes, coach” and go right back on the field and do the opposite!

The girls I have coached on the other hand, actually listen and tend to follow instructions and learn strategy.

I realized by the time of our first game that the only way the boys would learn is to make mistakes and then they would want to listen and learn. Well, they made a lot of mistakes and we lost our first game and our second and our third. I was beginning to doubt my strategy but then I had a revelation. I had been focusing on basic skills during the practices and they had these pretty well down but what they needed now was more real-world practice so I changed the practice sessions to playing real games.

We played 3 more league games and although we lost them all, we were noticeably getting better. In addition, the boys were having a great time and loving soccer practices as well as the games.

The final weekend was a knockout tournament for all the teams and since we had lost all our regular league games, we had to play the best teams. Amazingly, we made it all the way to the final winning our first ever games. We put up a good fight in the final won second place. When the boys all received runners-up medals, they acted as if they were the champions of the world and were so happy.

So, right now, a lot of BusinessObjects customers are upgrading to BI 4.3 and the biggest change is the radically new Web Intelligence user interface. Anyone who creates or maintains Web Intelligence reports would be advised to take at least a 1-day differences training course to fully understand both the visual changes and new functionality. Taking this course is equivalent to the basic skills training for my soccer team.

However, this basic skills training needs to be supplemented with “real world” practice so you need to take what you have learned and apply it by trying things out in your development or test environments. You will make mistakes and you will get frustrated, but you will also improve and get so good that you will both love Webi 4.3 and become true champions of it.

Just like with my soccer team, the path to success is a combination of learning the Webi differences with formal hands-on training and then get lots of real-world practice.

Of course, the female BusinessObjects developers will have a slight advantage over their male counterparts after the formal training, but the guys can catch up if they keep up with their real word practicing!

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BusinessObjects Web Intelligence vs. PowerBI – The Truth from the Trenches Part 4 https://www.infosol.com/businessobjects-web-intelligence-vs-powerbi-the-truth-from-the-trenches-part-4/ https://www.infosol.com/businessobjects-web-intelligence-vs-powerbi-the-truth-from-the-trenches-part-4/#respond Thu, 06 Oct 2022 22:24:25 +0000 https://www.infosol.com/?p=14157 BusinessObjects vs PowerBI Part 4 Feature ImageSo, 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 …

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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. 

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Let’s Speak BO Webinar: What is Coming Next in 4.3 on Tuesday, October 4th https://www.infosol.com/lets-speak-bo-webinar-what-is-coming-next-in-4-3-on-tuesday-october-4th/ https://www.infosol.com/lets-speak-bo-webinar-what-is-coming-next-in-4-3-on-tuesday-october-4th/#respond Tue, 13 Sep 2022 00:03:16 +0000 https://www.infosol.com/?p=14149 Let's Speak BO Webinar - Upcoming EventWe will be joined by SAP France and they will let us know what is coming next in BI 4.3! Running on Tuesday, October 4th, 2022 at 10AM PT/1PM ET.

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We will be joined by SAP France and they will let us know what is coming next in BI 4.3! Running on Tuesday, October 4th, 2022 at 10AM PT/1PM ET.

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BusinessObjects Web Intelligence vs. PowerBI – The Truth from the Trenches Part 3 https://www.infosol.com/businessobjects-web-intelligence-vs-powerbi-the-truth-from-the-trenches-part-3/ https://www.infosol.com/businessobjects-web-intelligence-vs-powerbi-the-truth-from-the-trenches-part-3/#comments Fri, 09 Sep 2022 19:48:45 +0000 https://www.infosol.com/?p=14141 BusinessObjects vs PowerBI Part 3Well, this was supposed to only be a 2-part blog (Part 1 and Part 2 ) but there has been such an overwhelming interest and fantastic feedback on the first two parts, that I feel compelled to keep going since the topic is obviously of great interest to many. One of the best responses to the …

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Well, this was supposed to only be a 2-part blog (Part 1 and Part 2 ) but there has been such an overwhelming interest and fantastic feedback on the first two parts, that I feel compelled to keep going since the topic is obviously of great interest to many.

One of the best responses to the blog I received was from a customer working at a large organization who is currently using both solutions who responded by email and then was kind enough to spend some time on a Teams call with me to expand further on his experience and assessment.

So, for this blog, I would like to share with you all, this truly customer-centric viewpoint.

The first point they made addressed the issue of replacing a BusinessObjects Universe with a PowerBI (PBI) model and here is the response unedited :

“It isn’t possible, no matter the amount of time, to replace a BusinessObjects universe with a PBI model because:

  1. BusinessObjects universes can have unlimited numbers of objects and tables. PowerBI doesn’t have the equivalent of a business layer that can organize objects in folders. Every table has its own folder in PowerBI, and they are just organized in alphabetical order making it impossible to build understandable models to report writers as the number of tables and objects increases.
  2. All tables in PBI have at least some data whether they are imported or direct query. In a BusinessObjects universe there is just metadata. For this reason, and others, a PBI model can get too large to work effectively on the desktop where all models are built.
  3. Every table in PowerBI has to be written in freehand SQL because there are no aggregate functions and because there is no way to limit which columns to use from the table in the model. This is extremely time consuming to build large models. In a BusinessObjects universe you can use a table browser to select tables and choose specific columns within that table to have objects created from.”

In the subsequent web meeting, I had with the customer, they listed out the following additional characteristics of the BusinessObjects architecture that clearly differentiates it from PowerBI. This list may not include everything but it is an excellent check list to use if you should ever consider replacing BusinessObjects with PowerBI :

  • SQL queries are dynamically created within a Web Intelligence report
  • Objects can be organized in a way that makes sense to business users by nesting folders
  • Tables can be built quickly in the universe foundation layer using a table browser
  • Complex joins can be easily created and edited in the universe
  • Ad-hoc reporting requires the possibility of sometimes hundreds of tables and thousands of objects being at the disposal of the report writer. The BusinessObjects universe contains only metadata so no matter how many tables and columns, it will not grow more than a few hundred megabytes in size.
  • BusinessObjects is designed to work at the database level using native SQL. This is possible because native SQL is used to define objects in the Universe Business Layer.
  • Using the Query Builder editor, a user can easily build reports that contain very complex SQL such as sub-queries, set analysis, AND/OR conditions and user-entered prompts.
  • Objects can be renamed or organized and that will cascade to reports using these objects.
  • Synchronizing and Merging of Queries

I would like to express my gratitude to this customer who asked to remain anonymous for this excellent insight that adds further valuable information to the BusinessObjects Web Intelligence vs. PowerBI solution comparison.

I am looking at writing a Part 4 to this blog, at the suggestion of another customer, about how you can leverage BusinessObjects to enable and accelerate tools like PowerBI, so please standby.

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