SAP BusinessObjects Review

SAP
Product:
Vendor:
Founded:
Headquarters:
BusinessObjects
SAP
1972
Walldorf, Germany
Ownership:
Customers:
Deployment Model:
Free Trial:
Public
400,000+
Cloud, On-Premise
Yes
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BusinessObjects At A Glance

Good: Minimal or no involvement from IT, BI analysis done from multiple data sources and in different formats, accessible via any platform.
Bad: Confusing licensing process, frequent support fee hikes, tend to be complex for non-tech users.
Bottom Line: Broader BI solution with self-service functionality.

Product Overview

SAP has three business intelligence tools: SAP BusinessObjects, SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Crystal BI. This review focuses on SAP BusinessObjects.

SAP BusinessObjects is an enterprise reporting and analytics BI tool that enables companies to derive key business insights from data. It offers users self-serve access to multiple data sources through ad-hoc queries. BusinessObjects can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud.

Most BI platforms tend to be specific to the company function (e.g., HR, sales), but the SAP’s BusinessObjects platform provides a broader solution. Users can perform BI analysis from multiple data sources and in different formats.

Thanks to a partnership between SAP and Microsoft, SAP users can work with Microsoft Excel and access applications and data through Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office 365.

There is a Web version (BusinessObjects Web Intelligence) for users to perform ad-hoc queries with easy-to-understand language, as well as flexible reporting options.

Features

SAP BusinessObjects includes the ability to integrate data with Java and Microsoft SharePoint, among other sources. Users can also publish customized BI data to anyone, as well as manage BI deployment from a single platform.

There’s also a BI launch pad for users to access the data within the company network via any platform (e.g., desktop, mobile).

Additional features include ad-hoc reporting, cross-enterprise sharing, role-based dashboards, and large-scale data analysis within Microsoft Excel. The software can connect data from SAP HANA and SAP Business Warehouse, and the analytics can even be embedded within Microsoft PowerPoint.

Target Market

SAP sells its products to over 400,000 customers in many industries, including healthcare, education, retail, banking, and manufacturing. Below is a partial customer list.

  • 3M
  • Bayer Material Science
  • BOA Group
  • Dow Corning
  • eBay
  • Family Dollar
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Smithfield Foods
  • T-Mobile

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Implementation/Integration

SAP offers these following implementation services:

  • Cloud Professional Services – Some of the services SAP offer includes advising and assessing cloud readiness, developing strategy on moving to the cloud, virtualizing a company’s business-critical SAP applications in private cloud, and migrating existing SAP software to the cloud.
  • Early Adopter Services – This service is for companies that want to adopt SAP’s new software in an efficient manner. With their Ramp-Up program, SAP provides companies the opportunity to review key features, explore benefits of early adoption, meet other Ramp-Up customers, and learn about upcoming Ramp-Up schedules.
  • Rapid Deployment – This approach allows customers to have SAP solutions implemented in weeks rather than in months, regardless of whether it’s on-premise, in the cloud, or both.

Customer Service & Support

SAP provides training on its software both online and in a traditional classroom setting. Prospective users can enroll in any of SAP’s 40 training centers. Or they can enroll in a virtual live classroom without leaving their home or office.

Online training is also an option – SAP offers e-Learning courses as well as a Learning Hub. Users can access any training materials at their convenience. Note that the cost of training is not included in the software purchase.

Users can access the SAP support portal to access documentation and a knowledge base for issues related to BusinessObjects. They can also participate in the SAP BI platform community to get answers from and exchange ideas with other SAP BI users. Finally, they can contact support by email, phone or submitting a ticket via the portal.

Pricing

SAP does not publicly release how much their software costs, although it provides a buyer’s guide explaining how they arrive at costs for specific licenses. They also offer financing options. Please contact the vendor directly for a quote.

Shortcomings

SAP’s ERP program has been noted as being not very user-friendly or inuitive, and it can be difficult for non-tech users to navigate. More training support from the vendor would be helpful to users struggling to adapt to a complex technology.

Specifically, because SAP is so multi-leveled and complex, many SAP expert support personnel are only distinctly qualified in one specific area. This can cause a disconnect between the problem at hand and the ultimate needs of the business, causing additional costs and reduced efficiency.

The licensing process with SAP has proven confusing for many users. Some have reported frequent support fee hikes, and there are multiple levels of maintenance required on the program that build up additional costs.

Screenshots

SAP Screenshot 1
SAP Screenshot 2
SAP Screenshot 3

About

SAP is the third-largest independent software manufacturer. It aims to help companies of all sizes and industries operate their business efficiently and stay ahead of their competition. In addition to BI and other analytics, SAP provide products for CRM, Human Resources, ERP, and Sustainability, among others.

SAP has offices in more than 130 locations all over the world. SAP Americas, a subsidary, has over 40 branch offices in the U.S., with its main headquarters in Newtown Square, PA.

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