SAP BIP what is it and what can it do?
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Updated June 10, 2016

SAP BIP what is it and what can it do?

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with SAP Business Objects

The SAP Business Intelligence Platform is an enterprise solution for the distribution, and analysis of business decision making content. We have it deployed on premise and in the cloud as our primary reporting business analytical tool. It managed through the product development life cycle (Development,Test and Production). Web based access is provided from any location secured by Active Directory Single Sign On.
  • Online report development [for] a query. Business Objects uses a Symantec layer to turn the complex underlying data to user identifiable objects for business queries. This makes it a good choice for self service environments.
  • Is has robust built in security that is can be customized and granular down to the object level. It also has integrated security modules that [can be] utilized with third party security interfaces.
  • The base platform can be scaled horizontally and vertically to meet growing demand on Windows or Linux.
  • A suite of developer tools are also incorporated with the base platform to provide the use of the right tool for the required task.
  • The Platform Search tool can be troublesome to establish in a clustered deployment.
  • Issues that are repaired in on release, should not resurface in a future release. This is rare but annoying when it occurs.
  • Some of the developer tools require more documentation that what is provided.
Analysis Services and Oracle Discoverer are more developer oriented than true self service tools and their development capabilities as well as their content delivery is limited. The Symantec layer sets BO apart in that regard. Heavy development is also possible and custom system development kits are available. Business Objects can be deployed with SAP Data Services and SAP HANA to provide a complete business intelligence solution. Varied content delivery types (reports, dashboards,alerts..) are supported. It provides robust security if fully configurable.
One of the strongest points of the Business Intelligence Platform is the ability to connect to disparate data sources through the Symantec layer or direct connectivity whether the data source is a flat file, relational (historical /real-time) or in memory. The only limitations are the version of the application you deploy and the structure/quality of the data source you are connecting to. (Remember BIP only takes a snapshot of the underlying data source for rendering. It is not an ETL tool).
Object access, development, scheduling etc., is granular. Custom access levels can be created including delegated administration to provide secured user control of designated aspects of the system. Built in content sharing capabilities include scheduling, internal Inbox/personal folder delivery. There is also a built in online chat application for user collaboration. Robust development capabilities are available at the technical and end user levels.
SAP Business Objects is not a data repository and is not designed for data dumps or long running queries on demand. The built in scheduling feature provides overnight processing to handle that. The strength of the product lies in the ability to provide varied content types to users in the manner of their choice and the capability of self service.

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) Platform Feature Ratings

Pixel Perfect reports
9
Customizable dashboards
7
Report Formatting Templates
8
Drill-down analysis
8
Formatting capabilities
9
Integration with R or other statistical packages
6
Report sharing and collaboration
9
Publish to Web
8
Publish to PDF
9
Report Versioning
9
Report Delivery Scheduling
9
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
8
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
7
Predictive Analytics
6
Multi-User Support (named login)
10
Role-Based Security Model
10
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
10
Responsive Design for Web Access
7
Dedicated iOS Application
7
Dedicated Android Application
6
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
8

Using SAP Business Objects

500 - As a analytical tool Business Objects is utilized throughout the organization: accounting, management, security, administration,... over 500 users and counting. Local and remote access is available across all time zones.
3 - 
  • Support the task management, development, security posture, and upgrading of business intelligence and reporting applications.
  • Assist in the program management, and adherence to established SDLC processes.
  • System analysis and enterprise system deployments.
  • Hands on experience with the SAP Business Objects Business Intelligence Platform server and client side.
  • Elicits requirements from all levels of the business and formulates plans for clustered shared business intelligence deployments according to SAP Business Objects guidelines and standards.
  • Works as a liaison between SAP Consulting and the client to ensure project expectations are met.
  • Has managed and implemented Business Objects deployments in all life cycle environments (Development, Test, pre-Production and Production).
  • Provides oversight and technical assistance to the client’s administrators and developers.
  • Performs Business Objects system and environmental enhancement analysis and maps solutions to the SAP product line.
  • Deploy Data Services to crate a data mart reporting source for Business Objects.
  • Create dashboards using SAP BO client tools.
  • Deploy HANA for in-memory analytics.
  • Secure content sharing.
  • Business decision making.
  • Staff management.
  • Integrating Business Objects with third party tools for enhanced bursting.
  • Integrating Business Objects with third party tools for enhanced content backup and audit reporting.
  • Integrating Business Objects with third party tools for enhanced Single Sign On.

Evaluating SAP Business Objects and Competitors

  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Product Reputation
  • Prior Experience with the Product
  • Existing Relationship with the Vendor
Security was the most important factor. Only certain reports and data can be accessed by each user group and its assigned members as defined by leadership. The Business Intelligence tool had to support this and still maintain customer required performance. Two factor authentication was also required to protect overall access to the system. Single Sign On was the method of choice to eliminate the need for user passwords.
Given that all initial requirements were met and all scheduled planned phases of the deployment are within the scope of scalability of the base application and supported third party tools, this one turned out right. The stability of the vendor and the future plans that they have laid out coincide with our project delivery.

SAP Business Objects Implementation

Choosing the right personnel to deploy and maintain the system is critical to success. Do not underestimate the value of a sandbox and or Development environment. Every aspect of the initial deployment and subsequent upgrade and enhancements should be thoroughly tested by the developers and administrators for expected functionality and compatibility with all interfaces. A Test environment is just as crucial. Initial key user content testing and formal performance testing should take place here prior to the production deployment. This is also where you finalize your operational support plans and system/user security.
Change management was minimal - Change management was not a factor. This was a new deploment on a new platform.
  • Third party interface compatibility and configuration.
  • New platform limitations required workarounds.
  • SAP and third party tool version updates were required during the course of the deployment to resolve content requirement issues.

SAP Business Objects Support

The overall support package is very good. The online knowledge base provides wealth of information including step by step details on how to resolve known issues on a per release basis. When required software and/or code is included as a download or cut and paste option. It is also highly recommended to have well trained personnel as your system administrators. Do not relay on support alone to resolve all of your issues.
ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None
Yes - This provides 24/7 dedicated support when required for production deployments and production issue resolution. Top tier response is also part of the package. All levels of support includes free upgrades and support ticket filing. The online knowledge base is included for all levels of support as well and is very beneficial in resolving most product related issues on a per release basis.
Yes - First it is bad practice to assume every issue with a product is a bug. It is best to open a ticket with the assumption it is a known issue that can be resolved. Bugs are usually part of the release notes. When a bug is confirmed by SAP they will provide a workaround and/or upgrade option that can be deployed at your convenience.
During a production deployment we had to rely on SAP support to get us to the finish line. They were diligent providing support any time of the day or night. They provided workarounds on the fly as part of the trouble shooting process and followed up with long term solutions we could deploy after the successful launch.

Using SAP Business Objects

From a server and client side perspective. the Business Intelligence Platform provides a foundation for all aspects of content development, distribution, analysis, collaboration and self service. Ease of use from targeted content delivery through controlled accessibility. Content exporting in the format of the users choice. Scheduling for internal or external delivery. Public and private folders for secure content access when requied. Web based for viewing on the users device of choice without the need to download additional applications.



ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Technical support not required
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Lots to learn
  • Online report and dashboard viewing.
  • Content sharing and collaboration.
  • Online/offline query and analysis.
  • Symantec layer (Universe creation). The level of difficulty is driven by the underlying data source.
  • Crystal Report creation. The level of difficulty is driven by the underlying data source (if a Universe is not utilized)
  • Design Studio dashboard creation. The level of difficulty is driven by the underlying data source.
  • System Administration. The Business Intelligence Platform can be quite complex with multiple security roles, internal services, client tool interfaces and third party tools and interfaces that must be deployed and maintained in addition to the core SAP application across the product development life cycle.

SAP Business Objects Reliability

When it is deployed properly the system is very stable and consistent in its response times. The way the product is designed the data sources it connects to and the bandwidth of the network its on can be the main performance inhibitors. Addressing these two factors can greatly increase performance overall. Integration with third party tools requires strict adherence to SAP specifications. When they are followed there is no performance degradation.