Are You Upgrading to SAP BusinessObjects BI4?

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 (BI4) includes an implicit cost to upgrade for existing customers. For that matter, any upgrade does. But many are feeling the sting of “ouch I have to purchase new 64-bit hardware” and “ouch I have to retire Desktop Intelligence” (Deski). Instead, we should feel like saying “Great! I get to invest in new 64-bit hardware” and “Woo hoo! Die Deski!” If only I were kidding…

Since XI R2, (nobody really went to XI R1 really, did they?) I can’t think of an upgrade as significant as the one that lies before many of us. In my head, that means in the last seven to eight years. That seems like a lot. Kudos to SAP for making migrations in the years in between go smoothly. So now, we just have to swallow this pill of new hardware and mass-report deprecation.


Go Big or Go Home

My first job in business intelligence was under a Director of BI who said something that has stuck with me since. This was back in the classic BusinessObjects 5.0 days. The investment in watching and managing the platform was high. There were no tools to automate it. In a discussion about how we managed our platform, he says to me “Lights off, pagers on”. Yes, it was a long time ago, hence the pager reference. His message struck me. He was not happy in continuing to invest human capital in managing the technology. He wanted a technology solution that allowed us to manage to the exception. Back then we had to build it ourselves. But today, SAP BusinessObjects goes a long way in empowering a “lights off, pagers on” (LOPO) environment.

A 64-bit application tier is a long sought after capability by long time SAP BusinessObjects customers. Imagine a server that can finally fill in the gaps and use every ounce of processing power and memory available to it on a box without hiring a PhD in server tuning. Sure, there is an investment in new hardware here to get to the latest and greatest for many, but the TCO of scaling servers, tuning individual processes, and ultimately in dealing with day-to-day administration should become easier to swallow as servers we are already familiar with can carry a more significant load.

In addition, SAP has delivered additional platform monitoring capabilities as a standard part of the stack in the Alerts, Watchlist, and Metrics components of the Central Management Console, which include tech like ELK Stack. Oh, how blissful to be able to define events and faults to monitor for, get warned when they occur, and resolve before your business tells you about the issue from the top down.

Die Deski

If you were a customer lamenting over the cost to migrate to Web Intelligence (Webi) before you got to BI4, SAP has just the bandaid for you. The Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack (DCP) isn’t new news at this point, but it is an important distinction in defining the cost of your BI4 upgrade. That panic of replacing your environment AND gutting reports can be split into two separate panics, and two that can take place at different points in your evolution of your BI.

While the instinct of many has been to throw arms in air in frustration over the end of Deski, the reality is we have known it is coming for more than a few years. We are working with customers today to embrace the change, not shun it. The DCP will help customers that have not already ripped off the bandaid to go to BI4 get to 4.1 without a mass rewrite. Make no mistake: there is still a cost. Deski becomes a more pervasive part of the Deski reporting process on the user’s desktop.This paradigm shift comes with some cost.

  1. You must really and truly empower teams to take the time to identify your mission critical Deski content.
  2. You need to deal with another software push to get the DCP to user desktops that truly need continued Deski support.
  3. You will need to facilitate some light training to help these users bridge the gap.

Beyond your 4.1 implementation, with Deski still in tow, what’s the most effective way to identify, document, and plan for the retirement of Deski…once and for all? Sherlock®.

Sherlock® provides a mechanism to gain insights into the structures, definition, and utilization of Deski content within your SAP BusinessObjects environment.

With Sherlock®, customers have the ability to easily, identify, and create a remediation plan for all of that Deski stuff. It’s not just about plucking a list of reports down and making wild and flailing stabs at reports. Sherlock® seems to empower competency centers to quickly identify reports that will be known to have issues in migration such as stored procedures or free-hand SQL, and even go so far as to compare contents of Deski reports against other Webi reports to identify consolidation opportunities.

For more information on the capabilities of Sherlock®, contact us at [email protected].

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