State of the SAP BusinessObjects BI4 Upgrade, September 2013

When I last wrote about the state of the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 back in June (see related article, State of the SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 Upgrade, June 2013), SAP had just released Support Pack 6.  Now that SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1 is now generally available (see related article, SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1 Now In General Availability), customers starting the upgrade process today have 3 choices:

  • Upgrade directly to BI 4.1 SP1
  • Upgrade to BI 4.0 SP7
  • Upgrade to XI 3.1 SP6 Patch 1 or higher

Upgrade directly to BI 4.1 SP1

If you’re currently using a version of BI 4.0 Support Pack 5 (which introduced mobile dashboards), you should give strong consideration to moving to BI 4.1 rather than a latter support pack of BI 4.0 (SP7 is available now and SP8 is coming in late October 2013).

If you’re currently still on the XI R2 or XI 3.0/3.1 platforms, plan your upgrade around BI 4.1.  If you still have a large investment in Desktop Intelligence, consider first moving to XI 3.1 SP6 Fixpack 6.1, which patches Desktop Intelligence to the version required for the Desktop Intelligence Compatibility patch in BI 4.1.  You can then proceed moving your server to BI 4.1.

We’ve installed BI 4.1 SP1 in our lab and will have more to say about it in the forthcoming weeks, including at next week’s ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference in Anaheim, California.

Upgrade to BI 4.0 SP7

While upgrading to Support Pack 7 may be preferable for organizations already using BI 4.0, we recommend that new migration projects begin with BI 4.1 SP1.

Upgrade to XI 3.1 SP6 Patch 1 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, you’ll want to patch up to XI 3.1 SP6, as it provides Tomcat 7 along with the latest OS, database, and browser support (see related article, State of the SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 Upgrade, June 2013).

Does SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1 contain enough patches from BI 4.0 to consider upgrading?

SAP KB 1721866 documents what maintenance releases roll into each service release for BI4 and BI 4.1. As you can see from the table below, the early patches to BI 4.1 including Support Pack 1 have closed most of the patching gaps from BI4.0.

Releases Contains Fixes From Fixes Forward Fit To
BI 4.1 Patch 1.1 (not yet released) BI 4.1 Patch 0.4
BI 4.1 Support Pack 1 BI 4.1 Patch 0.1 – 0.3
XI 3.1 FP 4.5
XI 3.1 FP 5.5
XI 3.1 FP 6.1
BI 4.1 Patch 0.4 BI 4.1 Patch 1.1
BI 4.1 Patch 0.3 BI 4.0 Patch 4.15
BI 4.0 Patch 5.10
BI 4.0 Patch 6.1 – 6.2
BI 4.1 SP1
BI 4.1 Patch 0.2 BI 4.0 Patch 4.14
BI 4.0 Patch 5.8 – 5.9
BI 4.1 SP1
BI 4.1 Patch 0.1 BI 4.0 Patch 4.10 – 4.13
BI 4.0 Patch 5.4 – 5.7
BI 4.0 SP6
BI 4.1 SP1
BI 4.1 BI 4.0 Patch 2.21
BI 4.0 SP4
BI 4.0 Patch 4.0 – 4.9
BI 4.0 SP5
BI 4.0 Patch 5.1 – 5.3
XI 3.1 FP 3.8
XI 3.1 FP 4.3 – 4.4
XI 3.1 FP 5.2 – 5.4
XI 3.1 SP6

Does BI 4.1 contain enough features to upgrade from BI 4.0?

BI 4.1 is an evolutionary point release, not a revolutionary major version. But nearly every aspect of the suite benefits from improved stability and new features. Timo Elliott provides a summary of BI 4.1 in article entitled SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 Release to Customers. There’s also a lengthy What’s New in SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Suite 4.1 guide on the SAP Help Portal.

Some highlights:

  • Support for SAP Netweaver Enterprise Portal 7.4 and SAP HANA SPS06
  • Support for latest Microsoft technologies like Windows 8, Windows 2012 Server, Internet Explorer 10, SQL Server 2012 and Office 2013
  • System Configuration Wizard for sizing and splitting the Adaptive Processing Server
  • Classic UNV support for Explorer
  • Increased data connectivity support for mobile dashboards
  • Arabic language support
  • Improved documentation for both administrators and users

Does BI 4.1 contain any “gotchas”?

Be wary of calculation engine changes (see related article, Using Sherlock® to Track Down Those Pesky Calculation Engine Changes in BI 4.1)

Any helpful resources for planning our BI 4.1 upgrade?

Our Sherlock® Inspector Suite for SAP BusinessObjects can examine your current environment and provide you with detailed information for your upgrade project, including recommendations for retiring old and unused content instead of migrating it.

Our team of expert consultants can analyze your existing system then plan and even execute your BI 4.1 upgrade.

But 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

Last Thoughts

Regardless of which path you take, EV Technologies is here to help make your business intelligence strategy a reality. Contact us today to begin the conversation.

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