State of the SAP BusinessObjects BI4 Upgrade, January 2014

SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 is dead! Long live SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1!

When I last wrote about the state of the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 back in September (see related article, State of the SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 Upgrade, September 2013), SAP had just released SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1.  With Support Pack 2 currently available and some interesting updates coming throughout 2014, we recommend that all SAP BusinessObjects customers place one of the following events on their 2014 project calendar:

  • Upgrade to SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1 SP2
  • Upgrade to SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 SP6 Patch 1 or higher

Upgrade directly to BI 4.1 SP2

For customers planning their BI 4.0 upgrade in 2014, we recommend skipping BI 4.0 entirely and going straight for BI 4.1 (see related article, SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 Support Pack 2). BI 4.1 rolls up a large number of fixes from prior releases and introduces a modest yet useful set of new features across the entire suite. Support Pack 2 also features some much-needed improvements to the lifecycle management process.

If you’re currently on the XI R2 or XI 3.0/3.1 platforms, you should also plan your upgrade around BI 4.1.  If you still have a large investment in Desktop Intelligence, we encourage you to retire it even though minimal Desktop Intelligence support has been added to BI 4.1. If you absolutely must keep Desktop Intelligence, first upgrade to XI 3.1 SP6 Fixpack 6.1 or higher. This action patches Desktop Intelligence to the version required for the Desktop Intelligence Compatibility patch in BI 4.1.  You can then proceed with migration to BI 4.1.

Customers currently on a patch level of BI 4.0 can certainly benefit from BI 4.1.  But if you’re not experiencing any serious issues corrected in BI 4.1 SP2, it may be worth waiting until Q2-2014 for the arrival of BI 4.1 SP3.

Upgrade to XI 3.1 SP6 Patch 3 or higher

Keeping at status quo with XI R2, which has been out of patch support for 3 years, will continue to become increasingly problematic as organizations upgrade their desktop operating systems, browsers, and Java runtimes.  The same is true for earlier versions of XI 3.0 and XI 3.1. If your organization still doesn’t feel ready for BI 4.1 or cannot budget for new 64-bit hardware, you’ll want to patch up to XI 3.1 SP6, as it provides Tomcat 7- a huge improvement over Tomcat 5.5- along with the latest OS, database, and browser support (see related article, State of the SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 Upgrade, June 2013).

Provide Business Value To Your Users

The worst thing you could possibly do in an upgrade kickoff meeting is send the message to your business users that “the upgrade will be long and painful but the charts will be prettier”. Reinvent the standard IT systems upgrade by recalculating business value, re-engaging with the business community, and re-introducing business intelligence to the executive suite (see related article, Reinventing the Business Intelligence Upgrade).

Resources for planning and executing a BI 4.1 upgrade

Unsure how to size a new 64-bit environment for BI 4? Before you get started on an upgrade project, take some time to review our 10 Steps to Get to BI 4.0 series.

10. Get all the key IT players to the table
9. Get business buy-in
8. For SAP BW shops – Update SAP BW in a world before BW 7.01 SPS 08
7. Clean house
6. Do a proper sizing exercise/Plan to scale
5. Define your migration path
4. Die Deski
3. Get educational collateral ready
2. Know your universe
1. Test, test, and more test

Can EV Technologies help our organization with a BI 4.1 upgrade?

We’ve helped many organizations successfully deploy BI 4.0 and BI 4.1. Our BI 4 migration methodology uses powerful technology from our Sherlock® Inspector Suite to analyze your existing BI platform. We can use XI 3.1 usage to determine an appropriate BI 4 sizing. We can also easily identify inactive users and content, allowing you to simplify and shorten the time to migrate, test and deploy the new implementation.

Each upgrade path offers new ways to solve information challenges. Regardless of which path you choose in 2014, EV Technologies is here to help make your business intelligence strategy a reality. Contact us today to begin the conversation.