Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

BusinessObjects BI Decision Tree

May 21st, 2012 1 comment

UPDATE 10/5/2012:  Things have continued to evolve since May and therefore this post has been updated based on the latest roadmap information coming from SAP together with, as always, some of my own thoughts and opinions.

The good news, bad news about the SAP BusinessObjects product suite is that although there is a lot of best-of-breed functionality there, it can sometimes be a challenge to know what tool to use in every situation.

As a result, I did some research, leveraged some pre-existing content from SDN and came out with this updated BI Decision Tree.

BI Decision Tree

I have updated this decision tree to include the two recent product announcements

  • SAP Visual Intelligence
  • SAP Predictive Analysis

This chart is not meant to be a definitive guide to selecting the right tool because there are always additional factors to consider, but by and large this will get you there most of the time.

Click on Chart to Enlarge

10/5/2012 CLARIFICATION:  If you are doing Business Intelligence of SAP BW, you should be always look at using Analysis for Office for OLAP Analysis within Excel and Analysis for OLAP for OLAP analysis over the web.  These solutions are premium alternatives to the legacy BEx Analyzer for Excel and BEx Web respectively.  Personally I prefer Analysis for Office for all my BEx Analysis just because I prefer the performance and interface of Excel to the one delivered on the web.

Analysis for Application Design (Code named Zen) is still under development and will be the premium alternative for Web Application Designer.  Here is the official SAP SOD for dashboarding.  So glad Miko pushed for this webinar!

WebIntelligence Rocks

Since I discovered Business Intelligence using Crystal Reports and consider it my “first love”, this admission hurts.  I had this blog 90% written when it hit me.  Does anyone even use Analysis for OLAP?  Why put it on the chart? Everyone uses WebIntelligence for connecting to OLAP data.

Today,WebIntelligence provides OLAP connectivity through the semantic layer and the WebIntelligence user interface is OLAP aware with a grown up OLAP look & feel.  It can feel like a native OLAP tool instead of a relational tool that just flattens OLAP data.

10/5/2012: WebIntelligence is not a native OLAP tool so there are limitations.  If you are using SAP BW, only Analysis for Office and Analysis for OLAP are native OLAP tools and will give the full richness of an OLAP experience.  Some capabilities that are not supported by WebIntelligence are:

  • The ability switch hierarchies without “refreshing” the report
  • Ranking data at a given hierarchy level

The End of Analysis for OLAP?

SAP customers that I’ve worked with are using WebIntelligence to do their formatted reporting and Analysis for Office to keep their finance users happy.  I see some Crystal Reports, but WebIntelligence came a long way in BusinessObjects v4.0 with formatted reporting.

Did you see any Analysis for OLAP sessions at Sapphire this year?  I didn’t think so.  And typically session content is driven by customer interest.

It’s a lonely time for Analysis for OLAP (a.k.a. OLAP Intelligence, OLAP Analysis, Seagate Analysis – boy I’m feeling old).

10/5/2012: I’ve received some feedback from folks saying that Analysis for OLAP is alive and well and has parity functionality with Analysis for Office.  Well, it’s not quite parity when it comes to all the shortcuts and right-clicks, but if you can’t use Analysis for Office, then it does get the job done.  

Your Thoughts

Please let me know your thoughts on this topic.

Do you find it pretty easy to help customers know what tools to use when?

«Good BI»


Take Advantage of Conference Replays!

May 11th, 2012 No comments

With everyone gearing up for SapphireNow in Orlando I’d like to remind everyone to take advantage of the many conference replays that are available on varying SAP Websites.

Influencer Summit

Simply login using your login.

This event wasn’t that long ago, December 13-14, 2011.  There is some great content here.  I especially liked the customer testimonials given in Analytics: Systems of Engagement & Customer Showcase.  Steve ribs Howard Dresner about coining the term Business Intelligence.

Keynote from BI 2012

Signing up for a login to the Insider Learning Network is free, so enjoy!

BusinessObjects User Group 2011

Click on the 2011 Ondemand Videos and you’ll find about 92 videos from the conference, unfortunately a lot of the ASUG News slots are mini-advertisements for the sessions.  They do however provide some of the highlights of what was discussed which is still valuable.  You can also access SESSION PROCEEDINGS and download the powerpoint presentations that were provided by the speakers.  Note that there are a lot of sessions listed here, so use the left hand navigation to select the correct BOUC session.

Although this website has an amazing look and the video quality is spectacular, the navigation is a little less obvious.  To search the recorded sessions, open the SEARCH on the left hand side.

SapphireNow 2010/2011

There are nearly 600 recorded sessions on offer for you!  If you can’t remember what was talked about last year or if you simply want to review what you heard, this is a great resource.  This website combines sessions from 2010 and 2011 and I’m sure will soon host all the sessions from 2012.  Using the Year filter on the left, you can select only the sessions from a specific year.

Note that SapphireNow Madrid should also be available:, but the website appears to be down at the minute.


For all the technical content you want, check out this TechEd Website.  Note that some of the content in the Archive is dated, so you’ll probably want to stay with the videos under the Content and Lectures sections.

You may also find some additional TechEd content on SCN:

TechEd Beijing

The teched website above didn’t include content from Beijing, so you can find that separately.  The video highlights from Beijing only include the following ‘english’ keynotes from:  Vishal Sikka, Bill McDermott, Hasso Plattner.

SAP for Utilities

Unfortunately here you’re only able to see a sample of 6 videos.  I also provided a link to the keynote session by Steve Lucas here, which is excellent.  If you are a Utility I recommend you check it out:

Bottom Line

SAP hosts some great events, but budgets are tight and you can’t always attend all the events that you’d like in order to keep up with ongoing education.  Do yourself a favor and take advantage of these free resources.

Learning never exhausts the mind.   Leonardo da Vinci

«Good BI»


Best of 2011: Lucas Articulates Value of Analytics for Utilities

December 16th, 2011 2 comments

Back in September, Steve Lucas, Global Senior Executive for Business Analytics, stole the show with a hugely entertaining and well articulated discussion of innovation for Utilities.


From beginning to end, Steve Lucas entertains as he communicates why better information is the key to creating real change.

If you are interested in:

  • Seeing Why BI is a Strategic Enabler for Utilities
  • Moving from a System of Record to a System of Engagement
  • Following a path to flawless information execution

This is a great 30 minute keynote for helping communicate what SAP is doing in the Utilities industry.

SAP helps utilities run better.

«Good BI»

Running Cooler after Christmas

January 6th, 2011 2 comments

What did you get for Christmas this year?  Were you naughty or nice?

I guess I was pretty nice because Santa knew exactly what I wanted.  “She” must have been reading my tweets because I opened up the perfect tool for presentations.  It was the Logitech Professional Presenter R800, yeah baby!  I much prefer being able to present to an audience, walk around, and easily point to the screen.  I find it much more engaging.  I’ve already been able to use it, and I love it.   Sidenote:  The laser pointer is already great for driving my tropical fish crazy 🙂

My kids on the other hand wanted something cooler:  Skull Candy headphones.  The good news is for me is that most of their headphones were under $50!

Skull Candy is such a cool company and they are using SAP Business ByDesign to help their organization Run Cooler.  Nice.

I wouldn’t mind picking up a set of these headphones myself, but then again, I’m so old… or at least that’s what my kids tell me.

Have a Happy New Year!

«Good BI»

P.S.  What did Santa bring you?

In The Airport

October 12th, 2010 No comments

I was on my way home from a business trip earlier this year when I noticed something strange.  Something that make my BI antennae stick up.

Single Version of the Truth?

How much longer until the train arrives?

That a simple question, right?  I can see on the monitor above the entrance to the Airport shuttle that the next train arrives in 33 seconds.  No problem – that’s easy.


Information Monitors Inform


But Are You Sure?

If it were only that easy.  You see.  There are actually two answers.  If you looked closely at the yellow TV below, you would see some contradictory information.


Information Monitors Confuse


So what do you think now?  Which number is correct?  33 seconds or 40 seconds?  In my case, it didn’t really matter – it was just the matter of waiting, but in the same of CFO accountability and financial scrutiny, it could be a significant problem and even land you in jail.

Do Yourself a Favor

I’m not sure where these train monitors are getting their information but clearly they are NOT doing it the same way because the monitors are presenting two different answers.  This does nothing but spread distrust and confusion.  Help!!

We talk a lot about the strong semantic layer at the foundation of the BusinessObjects Product Suite.  It’s essential to not only make information easy to access and consume, but to know that it’s trusted.  It’s absolutely critical that if two users ask for the same information they get the right results.

Do yourself a favor.  Save yourself hours of time arguing about who’s spreadsheet is right. In an Enterprise Business Intelligence environment, you can provide an environment where regardless of who the user is – if two users ask the same question they will get the same answer.  We call this Single Version of the truth and SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence makes it possible.

As far as the Atlanta Airport is concerned – as my 16 year old would say:  FAIL!

«Good BI»

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