End of Support does not equal End of the World

Welcome to 4th Quarter, 2015! Now that we’re closing out the last three months of the year, it’s time to get serious about the End of Support for SAP BusinessObjects XI3.1 and SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0. Hopefully this isn’t news to you at this point in the year. If it is news, Don’t Panic!

Hopefully you’re already working on a plan for how to get your older systems either migrated up to BI 4.1 or patched up to BI4.1. These projects can take several months to complete sometimes depending on the complexity of your reporting landscape, how many users you have, how many reports, what types of reports, etc. But if you don’t have a plan, you have not (quite) yet reached the end of the world. Let’s run through a few scenarios and see how to best get to right before the bell tolls.

Dude, I’m good

If you’re already on SAP BI 4.1, congratulations! You’ve gone through the wringer already and you’re on the other side, in Production, and hopefully very happy with how things are going. You’re looking forward to cool new things like the highly anticipated BI 4.2 platform, Lumira Server for BI Platform, and some other niceties that just weren’t available to you before. You can stop reading now if this is you. Thanks for stopping by.

I’m on 4 dot Uh-oh

So you’ve already made the leap from XI3.1 (or XIr2) and were probably an “early adopter” on the 4.0 (‘O’ as in ‘Uh Oh’) platform. SAP BI 4.0 was a huge jump, and likely a huge investment in time and infrastructure in order to get there. But it wasn’t quite all it was promised to be. 4.0 was a massive update to the product, and has required several major patches to get it to right. SAP BI 4.1 is where the ‘right’ part comes in. But many customers got to 4.0 and were so exhausted, they just decided to stop once they got to a stable and reliable patch level. If this is you, you aren’t too far from the finish line in getting to right. You basically have two options:

  1. You can patch your existing system from 4.0 directly up to 4.1
  2. You can build out a new set of servers in parallel, and migrate your 4.0 to 4.1

Personally, I prefer Option 2 just because it gets you a brand new, clean build of the 4.1 software. You don’t have to spend time uninstalling all of your middling patches to save space. Things just plain seem to work better when you go this route. Keep in mind that both options are fully supported. It’s a matter of preference, risk tolerance, timeline, etc. You have choices. You must choose. Choose wisely.

Every Day is #ThrowbackThursday for me #TBT #OnXI31AndLovingIt

So you’re still back on SAP BusinessObjects XI3.1 or earlier. All is not lost. You have a lot of work to do, but you can get there. But you should seriously consider starting something soon. Things to consider in the near term

  1. Can we survive without SAP Support? Is your system stable, growth steady or flat, and things sailing fine?
    1. If the answer is YES, then you still have some time, but realize the risk if something goes bad, you’re stuck
    2. If the answer is NO, then you need to consider:
      1. Can we start the upgrade process now?
      2. Or… can we purchase extended support for XI 3.1 and plan our BI 4.1 Upgrade for next year?
  2. How prepared for an upgrade to BI4.1 are we?
    1. Do we have licenses?
    2. Do we have budget?
    3. Do we have the know-how?

The good news is, you’re not alone. There are lots of customers out there that don’t worry a whole lot about the end of support. Older systems tend to be pretty mature and stable, and tickets to SAP Support are few and far between. Many equate the risk of that to be quite low. However, don’t forget there is always the risk of doing nothing. Operating systems get patched, Java JRE’s get patched, corporate security standards for versions of Tomcat, Internet Explorer, etc. change and evolve over time and do not sit still like your BI application is. This risk can very quickly back you into a corner and force you to upgrade much more quickly than you were prepared to do. Just from personal experience, in the last month I’ve seen upgrades forced by a corporate upgrade of desktop/laptop operating systems to Windows 7, corporate roll out of Internet Explorer 11, and Information Security compliance for an older version of Tomcat (security vulnerability risks).

You’re not out of time. You still have three months until the end of support. The good news is, if you start soon, there’s lots of progress you can make towards the goal. Even just in the initial planning and starting to work on a project plan.

I’m panicking – I need help!

And, of course, if you need help, we’re here to assist you as much or as little as needed. Our architects and engineers do this stuff every day (especially this year) and can likely answer questions for you in minutes as opposed to the hours it might take you to find those things out on your own. We also have a super-streamlined Two-Day health check assessment powered by our SAP Certified solution, Sherlock®. In that health check we can get you all kinds of insights into your current platform’s usage, what you need to migrate and what you don’t, and how big your BI4.1 system needs to be in order to get the job done for you.

You should also go check our our previous blog series “10 Steps to BI4“. There are tons of great ideas and advice over there.

Most importantly – Don’t Panic! There’s still time to get you to right.

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