To build your BI System you will need to install and configure a Business Intelligence platform. The Business Intelligence platform is the heart of your BI System and for SAP BusinessObjects this comes in two main versions. These are SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI and it’s bigger brother SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise. SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise has full BI Platform Scalability. After installing and configuring your BI platform you will be able to leverage its many capabilities. The capabilities will vary depending upon which license you buy.
There are some very useful BI capabilities available such as SAP BusinessObjects Encyclopaedia which you can use as a BI knowledge management tool and BI Content Search which will allow you to make powerful searches through your BI library of reports, or use Explorer (Polestar) which will allow you to make google like searches on your BI reports and data. You can use the Threaded Discussions capability to collaborate your Business Intelligence with your colleagues.
There is a full administration console known as the Central Management Console which will allow you to do many important things such as configurations and setting up your security model. Through the Central Management Console you will also be able to know what is happening on your BI System by activating SAP BusinessObjects Auditing. Many organisations set up at least two environments such as a development and production environment. You may also opt for testing, training, and pre-production environments. To promote your BI content through the environments you can take advantage of the BI platform’s Lifecycle Manager.
Databases are queried with technical languages such as SQL and MDX code. However, the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform includes two tools Universe Designer and Universe Builder that will enable you to build your own universes. These universes generate the query code behind the scenes so that business users don’t have to write it themselves or make requests to IT. In fact business users do not even need to know that the code exists.
The BI platform is also capable of supporting dashboards and by purchasing the Xcelsius Dashboards product you can create many interactive dashboards for your KPIs. You can also incorporate your Xcelsius Dashboards with other components such as Widgets and Web Intelligence Reports into a single dashboard with Dashboard Builder.
SAP BusinessObjects Explorer is an exciting Business Intelligence data discovery tool. We’ve created a short live demo video entitled Fast Executive Data with SAP BusinessObjects Explorer. The Explorer tool is excellent for non-technical business managers that want to gain insight into their data. The data made available for analysis is provided via a SAP BusinessObjects universe. The universe can be based on SAP BW or relational data platforms such as MS SQLServer. Features include Google style key word searches on your BI data and data slicing.
SAP BusinessObjects Explorer is currently available in two flavours. The first is as an add-on to SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise and the second is packaged with BWA on a blade.
The pre-requisite for analysis is for a Space Creator to set up an Information Space based on a SAP BusinessObjects universe and then index the data. This is not a complex task. Once this is done the business user can immediately find data insights. We made a live demo video demo which you can watch on the BI System Builders YouTube channel.
This article concerns the sizing of SAP BusinessObjects software and how it relates to the choice of hardware to support it and licensing models.
In terms of SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 it is important to make an informed decision on licensing and hardware based on a SAP BusinessObjects sizing exercise. The sizing exercise involves considerations for the specific Business Intelligence software products chosen to be implemented on Business Objects Enterprise and an analysis of the quantity and type of user that will be active on the BI System. A series of calculations are then performed based on the findings.
As an example consider Web Intelligence. One single Web Intelligence Report Server (service) running on Business Objects Enterprise can support between twenty five and forty users making simultaneous requests depending upon the report complexity. The Web Intelligence Report Server requires one CPU to support it. If more than forty users stress the Web Intelligence Report Server simultaneously there will be deterioration in performance. This can be rectified by configuring more Web Intelligence Report Servers and adding CPU or limiting the number of users. This principle holds true for several of the SAP BusinessObjects Servers running on SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise.
Whilst we can scale the system retrospectively in this way it is better to carry out the sizing upfront. The benefits are that it will provide an indication to number of SAP BusinessObjects Servers to configure, the number of CPUs required to support them, and the disk space that your BI System will require.
So sizing can be a useful guide to hardware procurement. However, it is also a guide to the most effective type of licensing to procure i.e. CPU based, Named User, or a combination of both. If sufficient licensing is not procured the BI System performance will suffer, but conversely no one wants to procure more costly software licensing than is necessary.