Business Objects

Business Objects from SAP is the still the biggest player in the BI marketplace in terms of market share, despite all of the changes since being acquired in 2007. Merging the huge independent French based company with a huge software conglomerate like SAP definitely made for an interesting combination. They have very large economies of scale.

SAP got BOBJ as a way to fill out their total system stack. Some may argue that it was in part a reaction to Oracle getting Hyperion and IBM looking into and eventually buying Cognos. SAP has been working hard to integrate this within their BW infrastructure. Along with the BusinessObjects offerings, SAP also offers NetWeaver functionality for business intelligence. We consider that separately.

Since the buyout, the product line has gone through a fair amount of change and consolidation. They’ve also had a couple of new releases, most recently 4.0 in September 2011 where there were some big changes in architecture. For older customers they released service pack 4 for XI 3.1 in June 2011. We are focused on version 4.0 going forward. In the current iteration, Business Objects itself can be broken up into several different modules, with different functionality between the tools.

Web Intelligence – Probably the most frequently used module. Allows users to build reports on the web.

StreamWork – A collaboration tool.

SAP BusinessObjects Analysis – The OLAP tool for analysis.There is also a Analysis version for Microsoft Office, although separate from the Live Office functionality.

Dashboards – This was formerly the xCelsius toolset but is now the main visualization component.

Predictive Workbench – This is their predictive analytics tool, oddly enough based on IBM’s SPSS functionality.

LaunchPad- The BI portal for centralized distribution

Performance Manager – For scorecards

Crystal Reports – Available as a separate product, but is now the main report building tool as well.

Live Office – the Microsoft Office Add-In tool

Sybase Unwired – Mobile application development

With all of these different components, and the large market share, its no wonder that jobs are in high demand.

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