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SAP BW and Business Objects Integration : Part 1

SAP acquired Business Objects in 2008 to provide customers with a full suite of business intelligence and information management solutions on a single platform with deep integration to SAP Business Suite and NetWeaver. The intent was to offer SAP customers with a market leading suite of reporting, analytics and dashboard capabilities. We have come a long way since then - on the ground SAP Business Intelligence (BI) customers are faced with multiple challenges like widening stack of products, evolving roadmaps, and frequently changing product names. In the below sections, we evaluate some essential steps of this evolution from a technical as well as business perspective.

While tool coverage, openness, rendering focus on functionality the integration aspects between SAP Business Objects and SAP NetWeaver BW and their corresponding challenges need the due consideration, very aspect on integration acknowledges the presence of two separate platforms, coupled together with BAPI and Web Services introduces technical challenges/constraints, that need to be taken to conclusion to realize the complete benefits SAP business intelligence platform has to offer.  Before customers can commit to the new SAP BI platform (NetWeaver BW and Business Objects tools) they need to consider protection of investments already made especially since cost is a significant deterrent for moving towards Business Objects tools given this is a premium offering subject to additional licensing and consulting costs. Customers need to carefully evaluate and balance the tool's value additions to the licensing and consulting costs. ROI and benchmark studies summarizing the technical and business challenges are thus a must before embarking on the SAP Business Objects journey. 

Integration Challenges.jpg

These challenges can be categorized based on the implementation phase as well as existing landscape, for e.g. tool fitment, migration issues and architecture may be more relevant challenges for in the initiation phase of the project; a SAP driven organization embarking on a new SAP Business Objects implementation may not have to worry about migration issues; similarly, if an organization already works with BO, change management and usability may not be a challenge while performance of the solution may apply. The technology and business challenges and life cycle stages below need to align to provide a consistent and stable roadmap to organizations for flawless implementation of the SAP BI platform. 

Lifecycle Stages.jpg

To summarize, the integration between the two platforms is still evolving and the new release planned in late 2010, will bring in substantial improvement in this regard. It is expected that BEx Queries and Business Objects Universes will converge into a single, common semantic layer and going forward all innovation and development in SAP BI front-end will be focused on SAP Business Objects solutions and their integration to SAP NetWeaver BW and BW accelerator, considering this it becomes imperative to stick as close as possible to standard functionality in the front-end deployments, as programming might be difficult to migrate automatically, also expected is the update on the pioneer project (Advanced Analysis).

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