by Markus Schunter, Global Head of BI & CLOUD Analytics Practices, SAP    @markusschunter 42-50142979-Design Studio

With SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) 4.1, (which I’ll call BI 4.1), we simplified our BI solutions (making them easier for our customers to use), and added robust new functionality.

Also added were numerous new integration scenarios for customers using either the SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) application as their data warehouse solution or the SAP HANA platform – or some combination of both. The enhancements not only help customers realize valuable new insight, they can also reduce the total cost of ownership.

In this series of blogs, I’ll go over some of the key benefits of migrating to BI 4.1. Here’s a rundown of some of the enhanced usability and integration features.

BI 4.1 offers enhanced usability and productivity through a harmonized user experience, advanced analytical insight, and powerful new search capability:

  • The software supports and integrates new client solutions, such as SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio, SAP Lumira software, and SAP BusinessObjects Analysis software.
  • A common chart engine, a C++ library used to generate business graphics, provides all clients with the same look and feel for charts used within existing BI content.
  • The chart engine can be extended using partner offerings or customized to meet your specific charting requirements.

BI 4.1 is designed to support future innovations:

  • Where the XI platform used a 32-bit architecture, the new release is designed to take full advantage of modern hardware and memory using 64-bit technology.
  • The XI platform included a collection of applications, each of which used its own connectivity stack. BI 4.1 shares a common semantic layer and dedicated services for data connectivity, creating a powerful, highly integrated solution for SAP clients.

BI 4.1 offers improved performance:

  • The query stripping and auto-refresh functions illustrate the performance improvements.
  • With the query stripping option, objects that are included in the query but not used in the report can be removed from the query.
  • This feature significantly optimizes server performance by bypassing unused objects.
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BI 4.1 enables integrated geospatial functionality for ESR

BI 4.1 offers integrated geospatial functionality enabled for ESRI:

  • Companies are increasingly adopting geographic analysis to enhance business intelligence.
  • The fusion of these two enterprise technologies can help organizations visualize and analyze key business data through “smart” maps.
  • Analysts can quickly discover patterns and trends that would have been easily overlooked with traditional BI tables and charts.

BI 4.1 is Big Data ready and SAP HANA supported:

  • This release is Big Data-ready, offering features that support integration with Hadoop Hive, Impala, and MongoDB via SAP Lumira.
  • What’s more, BI 4.1 acts as an analytics front-end for data volumes of any size on SAP HANA.
  • Every BI client running BI 4.1 is supported by SAP HANA.

BI 4.1.’s connectivity is part of the enhanced integration that was a priority for this release:

For example, a connection to the SAP BW business intelligence consumer service (BICS) is embedded.

  • The connection eliminates dependency on Java stacks in the SAP NetWeaver technology platform as well as the graphical user interface deployment on the server side.
  • Customers who use the BICS connection from BI 4.1 clients can connect into the SAP Business Explorer (SAP BEx) query without needing to develop or maintain an SAP BusinessObjects BI universe.
  • The required universe is generated on the fly, based on metadata, and uses the BICS connection. Any updates made in the SAP BEx query are automatically reflected in the BI clients.

This release also eliminates the need for SAP BW Java deployment to BI 4.1 clients.

Other key features of BI 4.1 include:

  • Improved performance for reporting against SAP BW
  • Native SAP BW access from the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform
  • Hierarchy navigation, visualizations, and prompt and query design
  • Level-based selection
  • Enhanced support for key figure scaling factors
  • Compact axis, focused navigation, display attributes, filter and pivot support in analysis OLAP
  • Universe access to SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) software through UNIX for BI clients
  • Unified client access to SAP BW and reduced deployment cost
  • Access to SAP ECC

SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 is the first BI product ever to be released from our ramp-up phase in just four months. Typical ramp-up processes require six months. BI 4.1 met our quality and functionality key performance indicators faster than anticipated, thanks to excellent product design and quality.

In my next blog, I’ll discuss additional features of SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1. including mobile and self-service BI.

For more information on upgrading and other BI resources visit www.sapbusinessobjectsbi.com.