Less Flash, More Substance for SAP Business Intelligence Monitoring

Adobe Flash no longer belongs in enterprise software.

SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 Monitoring

This article is my 400th published blog article. Thanks for reading!

SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 Monitoring

Monitoring, along with Platform Search, Promotion Management (formerly Lifecycle Management), and Visual Difference, was introduced as a marquee feature of the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 platform, the first major release of the platform bearing SAP’s distinctive fingerprints. But after the initial fanfare of the BI 4.0 launch, SAP seemed satisfied that these features could appear on a checklist of “enterprise BI” features. None of these capabilities received significant updates in last year’s BI 4.1 update (although to be fair, there have been modest enhancements in support packs 1 and 2, with more rumored for the upcoming Support Pack 3).

SAP BusinessObjects BI 4 Monitoring suffers from two key deficiencies. First, the well-documented reliance on Apache Derby as a trending database on the back end (see related series of articles from EV Technologies, Demolition Derby). Second, the front-end is built with Adobe Flash. While this “rich interface” seemed like a good idea five years ago on the BI 4.0 drawing board, the use of Flash is now a liability. The Adobe Flash plug-in is crash-prone and a source of security issues and frequent patch updates. And as we’ve seen with SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, the use of an Adobe Flash interface seems to actually slow SAP’s ability to innovate (a View SQL button, anyone?).

Mirko Langhorst posted the following brilliant idea to the SAP Idea Place, which sadly has already been flagged as “Not Planned by SAP“.

SAP Idea Place Eliminate Flash from CMC Monitoring

And Kristof Speeckaert speaks for many SAP BusinessObjects administrators with the following tweet:

The monitoring engine is an important feature of the SAP BusinessObjects platform. However, its implementation in BI 4.0 was only a first step. The SAP roadmap for dashboards eschews Adobe Flash in favor of HTML5 (see related article, The Future of SAP Dashboards). And while its roadmap is less clear, it’s reasonable to assume that the next release of Explorer-like functionality will share and extend the HTML5 technology present in SAP Lumira. In a similar way, it’s critical that both Apache Derby and Adobe Flash are quickly phased out of SAP’s BI platform.

Nobody demos an administrator’s tool like the Central Management Console from a keynote stage. So it’s easy for SAP product managers to nix enhancements and spend limited resources elsewhere. But keeping less-visible or vocal IT managers and administrators energized about the BI platform is just as important as C-level executives and power users. I hope SAP will take a second look at the enterprise features of their enterprise BI platform and take the next steps to continue their evolution and innovation.

What are your impressions of the BI 4.x monitoring engine?

 

Author: Dallas Marks

I am a business intelligence architect, author, and trainer. I help organizations harness the power of analytics, primarily with SAP BusinessObjects products. An active blogger, SAP Mentor and co-author of the SAP Press book SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide, I prefer piano keyboards over computer keyboards when not blogging or tweeting about business intelligence.

2 thoughts on “Less Flash, More Substance for SAP Business Intelligence Monitoring”

  1. Thanks for the mention, Dallas.

    I’ve struggled with the Monitoring feature in the CMC on several occasions, and although the feature is much needed, the implementation is just poor. It’s unstable and requires far too much effort to implement the necessary monitoring logic.

    Also, the default rules are far too broad and still seem to have problems with languages other than English. All in all, quality-wise it’s still a beta-level feature and the Flash interface doesn’t help.

    It’s time SAP got rid of Derby, Flash and Java altogether.

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