SAP BusinessObjects Explorer – What IT Needs to Know

Just like a political talk show on cable, the truth about SAP BusinessObjects Explorer is somewhere in the middle.

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer 4.2 Splash Screen

I’ve been busy talking about SAP BusinessObjects Explorer and helping customers deploy it.  I’m really excited about next month’s release of SAP BusinessObjects Explorer 4.0 as part of the BI 4.0 suite, but there’s lots of reasons to start using the current release, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer XI 3.2.  Explorer is a unique business intelligence application aimed at the casual business user.  People generally have two reactions to it.  The first is that it’s a silver bullet that will magically solve all of their organization’s information delivery challenges.  The second reaction generally comes shortly after the second.  “Oh, it’s just a toy” or  “Our users would never use that”.

Both of these reactions are the extremes.  Just like a political talk show on cable, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Explorer brings business intelligence to an audience that desperately needs it but isn’t willing to sacrifice the time to access it.  I frequently hear from IT that “Explorer needs to add XYZ feature,” but remember- its beauty is in its simplicity.  SAP BusinessObjects Explorer requires almost no training.  Adding new features cannot come at the expense of complexity, and I appreciate that Explorer’s product managers carefully guard which features go into the product.

Explorer is great because it addresses the “I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for” business requirement.  Giving key users access to corporate data via Explorer helps them discover new insights.  These insights will lead to more specific business requirements to address specific business problems.  That’s where the more traditional tools for dashboards, ad-hoc query, and enterprise reporting come into play.  Explorer augments these tools.  It doesn’t replace them.

Explorer allows you to start small with your existing universes, then grow into in-memory analytics with either SAP BW Accelerator or HANA.  You don’t have to begin with a large investment.  Many customers are already licensed for Explorer, they just haven’t deployed it because it’s a separate install.

I challenge you to give Explorer a try.  Remember, it helps users find what they didn’t realize they were looking for.  Therefore, they’re not going to come asking you to deploy a tool that they don’t realize they need.  Take the first step and put Explorer in front of them, either on their desktops or their mobile devices.  Then step back and see what happens.

My 2011 SAP BusinessObjects Explorer Tour (so far)

April 29, 2011
ASUG Ohio Chapter Meeting
Cleveland, Ohio

June 24, 2011
ASUG Kentucky Chapter Meeting
Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, KY

July 14, 2011
St. Louis BusinessObjects User Group
St. Louis, MO

Your hometown???

Have you deployed Explorer in your organization?  Share your thoughts below.

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.

5 thoughts on “SAP BusinessObjects Explorer – What IT Needs to Know”

  1. You are so right. It supplements the toolset. It allows me to create one InfoSpace which answers tons of questions…meaning I don’t have to create lots of small, focused reports or answer questions from confused ad hoc users.

    It’s a must try. Once you see your data in the InfoSpace and understand it’s power. You will believe.

  2. Thanks for sharing the info. Is there a possibility of building the “information Space” using the MSAS 2008 based universe? We tried on sample finance olap cube. It did create the IS but when we tried to look it misses the “amount” measure and only shows the “Occurence”. Why this is so?

    1. Adil, I’ve installed Explorer 4.0 but haven’t spent a lot of time with it, yet. I’m currently focused on the Information Design Tool but am looking forward to updating my Explorer presentation to 4.0 over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned.

  3. Thanks Dallas! What is an ideal BOE 3.2 configuration to support 20-50 casual “Space Explorer” users? How much server memory, number of processing cores, supporting job servers in CMC, timeout settings, cache settings, etc do you recommend? Appreciate your help! I hear its a very memory intensive application. True?

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