Today I attended an interesting SAP webinar entitled “BI 4.0 – Did you think about your upgrade?” by David Francois Gonzalez with the SAP Technology RIG Americas (the very useful slide deck can be downloaded from the SAP Community Network). Afterward, I tweeted:
— Dallas Marks (@DallasMarks) December 15, 2010
To which Pieter Hendrikx responded:
And of course, Pieter is absolutely correct. We should stop looking at Desktop Intelligence. But Desktop Intelligence is like a gruesome automobile accident during rush hour- some of us can’t stop looking (see related discussion on the BusinessObjects Board). But the SAP BI roadmap is clear- Web Intelligence is the future, Desktop Intelligence is the past. Desktop Intelligence is not supported by SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0. It’s gone. Really. Crystal Reports 2011 and Web Intelligence 4.0 represent the future of reporting for SAP.
Some organizations already use Crystal Reports and Web Intelligence exclusively. For them, the path to SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 is relatively straightforward. Other organizations, particularly those who have used “classic” BusinessObjects releases prior to XI Release 2 (XI R2), still may have an investment in Desktop Intelligence that has to be managed. But the good news is you can take proactive steps today from either XI Release 2 or XI 3.1 – you don’t have to wait for BI 4.0.
Organizations on both XI R2 and XI 3.1 should immediately begin phasing out the creation of new Desktop Intelligence reports by revoking Deski application rights and retraining users to use Web Intelligence. Some reports cannot yet be converted to Web Intelligence (I plan to address Desktop Intelligence phase out strategies in the coming weeks). These reports may have to wait for the BI 4.0 Report Conversion Tool. But many can be converted today with your current platform. Organizations on XI R2 have fewer conversion options than XI 3.1 (and therefore much incentive to upgrade to XI 3.1 in the near term). In addition, Desktop Intelligence reports are audited by the XI 3.x platform (sadly not in XI R2), so it is possible to identify obsolete reports and retire them rather than expend effort to convert them.
Any organizations still on “classic” BusinessObjects 5 or 6 (I know you’re still out there) cannot go directly to BI 4.0 as the upgrade tools only support XI R2 and higher. These organizations should plan a migration to XI 3.1 so they are poised for the future.
For long-time Business Objects users, it’s the end of the world as we know it. But SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 will be available early next year. And I feel fine.