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The trend emerged in recent years in numerous technological fields is the convergence of different solutions towards the cloud: from Infrastructure As Service (AWS, Google Cloud, MS Azure) to gaming (Google Stadia) and video streaming (Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos up to the more recent Apple and Disney services).
Also SAP has gone along with this, adding the strategic tool represented by SAP Analytics Cloud to its Analytics offering. SAC, part of the tools supporting the Intelligent Enterprise imagined by SAP, integrates into a single solution Business Intelligence, Dashboarding, Enterprise Planning and Augmented Analytics.
But the SAP Analytics portfolio includes other tools, among which the BusinessObjects BI Suite occupies a prominent position, an on-premise application with a strong installation base and a long-lasting history behind it.
For all customers who have invested in the on-premise solution, but who are interested in exploiting the potential of the cloud platform, the question arises of how to move in the coming years.
Is there still a future for on-premise SAP Analytics solutions?
Can they coexist with the new cloud tool?
What is the journey that SAP has planned for them?
The short answer to these questions is the Hybrid Model, a scenario in which SAC and BusinessObjects work synergically with the aim of increasing customer visibility on business dynamics and making the transition to the cloud as smooth as possible, safeguarding investments made over time.
With SAP BusinessObjects version 4.3, available in Beta from 20th December 2019, this approach is tangible in the innovations introduced in terms of:
- User interface;
- Data Model integration;
- Ease of data and user integration.
Let's see them in detail.
The entire interface of the BO suite has been aligned to the SAP standard introduced with Fiori.
The BI launchpad, the access portal to BO, has been completely revolutionized and now looks very similar in appearance to SAP Analytics Cloud.
The other important revolution is certainly in the aspect of Web Intelligence, the most largely adopted reporting tool within the suite. The tool now appears very similar to SAC, while maintaining its features, such as the creation of complex variables and the management of calculation contexts.
SAP Analytics Cloud
Data Model Integration
With BO version 4.3 it is possible to use Web Intelligence reports as a data model:
This new feature opens a series of possibilities: it allows you to share report data structures as variables and formulas as sources of SAP Analytics Cloud.
It is possible to safeguard the entire corporate background, made up of universes and WebI reports created over time, and make it available for new visualizations accessible in the cloud.
If on the one hand it’s possible to create stories on SAC using the semantic layer of BO through Live Connection, on the other it’s possible to easily share the WebI reports created on-premise on the SAP Analytics Catalog.
The new features open up scenarios of integration between SAP Analytics Cloud and BusinessObjects, such as:
• Creation of new stories in SAC starting from WebI universes and reports;
• Data Discovery in SAP Analytics Cloud and operational reporting in SAP BusinessObjects;
• Replication of the Xcelsius dashboards in SAP Analytics Cloud;
• Explorer replication in SAP Analytics Cloud using universes.
The future will certainly be the Cloud. But BusinessObjects, with version 4.3, will certainly play an important role in leading customers to the world of clouds and in making this journey less disruptive as possible.
Therefore, for all customers with a long "tradition" of business intelligence with BO, the upgrade to version 4.3 will be fundamental and strategic to be able to exploit the full potential of the Hybrid scenario that SAP has made available and thus have the "Best of Both Worlds ".