Great BI platform for organizations with established well-defined data practices, although not for the self-serve visualization era
Updated May 24, 2016

Great BI platform for organizations with established well-defined data practices, although not for the self-serve visualization era

Jody Gitchel | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with SAP Business Objects

In my prior organization, SAP Business Objects was the organization's company-wide Business Intelligence platform delivering reporting, ad-hoc reporting, and visualizations to the business. It brought with it a unified approach to delivery, and rapid development while also putting self-serve reporting in the hands of the business users taking full advantage of the universe architecture in 4.1.
  • First and foremost the business presentation layer is top-notch (previously called universes, now called business layers). This architecture provides an object oriented development layer for use across the platform including WebIntelligence, Lumira, Dashboard Designer, and Crystal Reports (Enterprise).
  • Crystal Reports is still a standard among reporting tools, and the next evolution into enterprise is on the right track. Crystal Reports has always been the defacto standard in enterprise reporting and the enterprise version brings with it better integration with Business Objects.
  • The launch pad provides a great delivery mechanism to business users. Security is very granular and easy to maintain, and providing users with their own document space allows each user to maintain their own work spaces.
  • Web Intelligence is a great ad-hoc tool. Users coming from Excel will have enough familiarities to be able to transition easily. It really unlocks a world of opportunities for the normal business user to do analysis and reporting in a controlled manner.
  • Integration with Microsoft Office is great with the newer collaboration of Power Query. The organization was able to move away from cube driven analysis and into self serve dimensional analysis utilizing universes with Excel.
  • To stay relevant, SAP is going to need to introduce a self-serve dashboard tool to compete with the likes of Tableau and other emerging companies.
  • Dashboard Design is SAP's weakest area, in particular Dashboard Designer (formerly XCelsius). This product is very dated and feels like legacy.
  • The development tool integration into the platform as a whole is lacking. Each tool seems to have a different way for connecting and interacting with data and feels a bit broken and non-cohesive.
  • Predictive Analytics could benefit from some attention. Explorer is a decent discovery tool but would benefit from the next generation of whatever it will become and bring better predictive analysis.
The biggest advantage that SAP Business Objects has over these competitors are value and options. Value wise, it brings together a tool set that delivers a bit of something for everyone. With integration into Microsoft Office, additional options are available to for those organizations closely intertwined with Microsoft tools.
For the report centric organization with an established data warehouse that would like to enter the self-service realm, SAP Business Objects is a great platform. For organizations with disparate, unorganized data that wish to gain immediate utilization benefits and self-service analytics from a variety of unestablished sources, your data strategy should either be to spend time devloping a data warehouse and solidifying your data practices, or looking at a tool more suited for this such as Tableau.

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Feature Ratings

Pixel Perfect reports
Customizable dashboards
Drill-down analysis
Formatting capabilities
Report sharing and collaboration
Publish to Web
Publish to PDF
Report Versioning
Report Delivery Scheduling
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
Predictive Analytics
Multi-User Support (named login)
Role-Based Security Model
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
Responsive Design for Web Access
Mobile Application
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile

SAP Business Objects Implementation

Post installation configuration is not for the faint of heart. There is performance tuning and manual configuration file manipulation to get everything set up correctly.

SAP Business Objects Reliability

Like any BI stack, how well it performs is dependent on many factors including what resources you provide the system itself and how well the source data is structured. If you do it right as at least a 3 tiered installation separating the processing components from the front end and keeping the database separate, along with a dimensional data warehousehouse as your source, it is a star performer.