SAP Business Objects is a strong choice for an Enterprise reporting solution
Updated December 30, 2014

SAP Business Objects is a strong choice for an Enterprise reporting solution

Carla Simoneau | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

XI 3.1

Modules Used

  • Web Intelligence, QaaWS, Designer

Overall Satisfaction with SAP Business Objects

We use SAP Business Objects as our Enterprise reporting tool at our organization. SAP Business Objects is used here for analytics, operational reports, supporting external customers through web services, letters, and custom applications. Thousands of batch reports are created nightly to support business operations.
  • The flexibility that BOBJ offers is what sets them apart. We have some pretty complex needs around batching multiple reports and maintaining one schedule. We were able to set this up with a package or publication if we needed it bursted and then have that schedule trigger another batch of reports.
  • We wanted to offer our external clients the ability to access information by calling a web service from their external applications. Using Query as a Web Service we were easily able to offer this to them. The Query as a Web Service client tool is easy to use even for a non-technical user. We have our clients create a report with what they want to see and then we turn it into a web service and let them consume it.
  • We had a need to produce mass amounts of emails to our customers that would give them a summarized view of their accounts. Using the bursting option we were able to produce a single report that is sent monthly to each customer with only their data on the report. We created a custom application that our business could use to maintain a table of email addresses that the report should be sent to each month. This eliminated the need to have IT involved.
  • We are not on the latest version (4.1) yet and would love to get there, but SAP has made this difficult. We have to add hardware and we are currently using the .NET Infoview. This is no longer supported in 4.1 and they only have Java BI Launch Pad. We have a considerable amount of work to convert over.
  • SAP Support Portal is very difficult to use. It makes you login every page you go to and trying to get help is very difficult. I find most answers through trial and error or the BOB.
  • I would really like to see the ability to schedule a report to an email, but rather than attach the report it includes a link to the report in the email. I know Cognos has this functionality and I would like to see it here.
  • I also would like to see the ability to schedule to a text format. Currently it only lets you save to this format when you have the report open.
I have recently been evaluating Information Builders, MicroStrategy, and Cognos. IB had some nice dashboard and analytics, but was lacking on the scheduling side. We were looking for something more robust. MicroStrategy had a very impressive UI and the dashboards were among the best I've seen. MicroStrategy didn't work for us because we have a very normalized database for reporting and the metadata layer required architecting every attribute that will be used in a report. This brought challenges to us since we have very wide tables. In BOBJ I can define the relationship at the table level rather than the attribute. MS also did not have shortcut joins or the concept of stored procedure universes. Cognos was the most similar to BOBJ, but we found some key components missing. They did not have the ability to put a large number of reports in one package with a single schedule. They also only allow one schedule on a report. If you need to define more than one schedule you have to create a report view. The ability to define success/failure emails for a report was not in the product either. We use this to keep the business informed on their reports so they don't call IT to find out if the report completed.
We are currently evaluating other reporting tools to see if they can satisfy our business needs and if it's a better long term solution. Price and long term costs will be a major factor in the decision.
We have around 3,000 active users that includes company-wide and external customers.
Our data sources include many Sql Server databases. We have built a custom application that allows a user to import a text file into Sql Server that can then be queried against. We have many tabbed reports where each report accesses a different server and database. This works well for bringing different sources together.
I rated this low because I have seen some other products do this much better. I would like to see more work put into a nice collaboration interface.
With the Lumira product they have come a long way with visualization, but I still see room for improvement in webi.
I would recommend SAP Business Objects if they are looking for a flexible enterprise solution where they need the ability to create pixel perfect reports and many scheduling options. If they are looking more for analytics and dashboard type data analysis there are other products for less money that can do this.

SAP Business Objects Support

Very difficult website to use that is not very intuitive. It's hard to reach a good support person that can actually help with the issue. We usually end up solving the issue ourselves.