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What BI Architects and Admins Need to Know about SAP BusinessObjects BI4

Jan. 12, 2016
Dallas Marks

WhatBiArchitectsIn my previous two posts about training for SAP Business Intelligence (BI), I wrote about training universe designers and end users for SAP’s BusinessObjects BI4 platform. Today, as the final part of my training trilogy, I’d like to share some best practices for training BI administrators and architects in your organization. Because they will ultimately lead a major BI upgrade, administrators need training before a major project begins, not a few days or weeks before a go-live like other stakeholders. While there are many facets to upgrading your SAP BI system, I’m focusing on the need for BI architects and administrators to understand the BI4 platform’s new tools, new architecture and new monitoring capabilities.

New Tools

SAP BusinessObjects BI4 introduces new developer tools. BI architects do not necessarily have to be tool experts, but they do need to make the best recommendations for your organization’s BI roadmap, particularly as SAP’s roadmap is focused on reducing the number of tools in its BI portfolio. Xcelsius (known as Dashboard on the BI4 platform) is being phased out in favor of Design Studio. Traditional Crystal Reports is being phased out in favor of Crystal Reports for Enterprise. Organizations using SAP Business Warehouse (BW) should look into using Analysis for OLAP and Analysis for Microsoft Office as alternatives to BEx Analyzer. And Lumira, a relatively new BI tool, brings new data discovery capabilities to the BI4 platform. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so your BI architects will need to advise the rest of the organization if either a gradual or abrupt cutover to new tools is warranted. Your organization’s active tool portfolio will influence BI system design, which leads to my next point.

New Architecture

SAP BusinessObjects BI4 introduces a new 64-bit architecture. While the tasks associated with administering users and content are largely unchanged, the old rules for sizing and scaling an SAP landscape frequently no longer apply. Organizations wishing to take advantage of new tools such as Lumira and Design Studio will need to understand the additional requirements those tools bring to BI4 sizing. Without adequate training, your BI architects may create a BI4 system that performs poorly in comparison to the one it replaces. Regardless of your BI architecture, you’ll want to monitor it carefully to identify performance issues before users do.

New Monitoring

SAP BusinessObjects BI4 introduces a new monitoring engine not present in previous versions. In smaller organizations, this engine can be used directly from the Central Management Console to notify BI personnel of potential issues. But larger organizations will want to use the built-in JMX interface to integrate with existing enterprise monitoring tools. Organizations using the SAP business suite will want to integrate the BI4 platform monitoring into Solution Manager. Your BI architects should understand how to leverage these monitoring capabilities, which can improve the level of support your entire IT team provides to your organization.

Final Thoughts

Mainstream support for SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 ended on December 31, 2015. If your organization is not yet on the BI4 platform, you’ll want to make the upgrade a priority for 2016. SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 was introduced four years ago, and BI 4.1 was introduced two years later. SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 is currently in ramp-up and on schedule to be generally available sometime in early 2016.

A maturing product means that there are many new product training resources available beyond traditional classroom training. Consider allocating a portion of your training budget for a user conference where your BI architects can hear best practices and lessons learned from experienced voices who have already made the leap to BI4.

I hope these training guidelines enable your BI architects to lead the upgrade effort with confidence.

Related Courses
SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform: Administration and Security (BOE310v15)
SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform: Administering Servers (Windows) (BOE320v15)
SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform: Designing and Deploying a Solution (BOE330v15)