How to Select the Best BI Tool to Meet Your Requirements: Part 1

  • by Ingo Hilgefort, Vice President of Product Management, Visual BI Solutions
  • February 22, 2016
Gain a look at the overall SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence portfolio offerings, including the new SAP Cloud for Analytics, to help you evaluate your company’s requirements and carefully select the best products to meet those requirements and the ones that also are a safe investment for the future roadmap.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article, you will:

  • See a review of the overall SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) portfolio and the main target users of the different product offerings
  • Learn about the main differentiators of the different BI tools
  • Delve into the details about some of the more technical differences between the BI tools, with a focus on SAP BW and SAP HANA.
Key Concept

SAP’s recently announced the consolidation of its SAP BusinessObjects BI portfolio. As part of this strategy, SAP introduced SAP Cloud for Analytics, which offers additional options in the overall BI portfolio for companies that are interested in a pure software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution without having to deploy on-premise software. With all these changes occurring in the BI product line, it is critical for companies to re-evaluate their overall BI strategy and the available BI tools.

For several years, SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) has been the BI portfolio for the SAP customer base. However, some companies are still confused when it comes to selecting the best BI tool for their requirements and overall landscape. Companies are used to a single tool—SAP Business Explorer (BEx)—and are now faced with a wide variety of BI tools to select from when it comes to making this decision, and also a variety of deployment options, such as on premise versus cloud.

An Overview of the SAP BusinessObjects BI Portfolio

Overall, the SAP BusinessObjects BI portfolio can be broken down into several areas, focusing on different aspects of your requirements and your main target audience.

Figure 1 shows the first part of the overall portfolio—Agile Visualization—sometimes also referred to as Data Discovery. In this group of products you find SAP Lumira, BEx, SAP BusinessObjects Analysis (all editions), and SAP Predictive Analysis. All these products have one key common criterion: They are all designed for a self-service scenario with the business user as the main audience. Your business user should be able to use these products without having to rely on the IT department to create a new report. The one exception in this group of products is SAP Predictive Analysis. SAP Predictive Analysis is not your typical BI client for analytical reporting, but instead allows the user to create a predictive model and create the predictive algorithm. It therefore does require a different skillset.


Figure 1
Agile visualization

Ingo Hilgefort

Ingo Hilgefort started his career in 1999 with Seagate Software/Crystal Decisions as a trainer and consultant. He moved to Walldorf for Crystal Decisions at the end of 2000, and worked with the SAP NetWeaver BW development team integrating Crystal Reports with SAP NetWeaver BW. He then relocated to Vancouver in 2004, and worked as a product manager/program manager (in engineering) on the integration of BusinessObjects products with SAP products. Ingo's focus is now on the integration of the SAP BusinessObjects BI suite with  SAP landscapes, such as SAP BW and SAP BW on SAP HANA, focusing on end-to-end integration scenarios. In addition to his experience as a product manager and in his engineering roles, Ingo has been involved in architecting and delivering deployments of SAP BusinessObjects software in combination with SAP software for a number of global customers, and has been recognized by the SAP Community as an SAP Mentor for SAP BusinessObjects- and SAP integration-related topics. Currently, Ingo is the Vice President of Product Management and Product Strategy at Visual BI Solutions, working on extensions to SAP’s product offering such as SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio and SAP Lumira. You may follow him on Twitter at @ihilgefort.

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