Using SAC in Combination with SAP BusinessObjects BI
By Ingo Hilgefort, Global Product Evangelist, SAP Analytics Cloud
Many SAP customers have heard about SAP Analytics Cloud and have probably seen actual demos from SAP on the new analytics frontend available as a cloud solution. This article will review how SAP customers who are using SAP Analytics Cloud in combination with SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) can leverage existing assets, and how SAP Analytics Cloud can fit into customers’ overall BI landscape.
SAP Analytics Portfolio
SAP Analytics Cloud (Figure 1) is a unique solution in the way it combines BI, planning, predictive, and application design into a single platform, giving SAP customers the ability to provide users with a consistent experience using one cloud solution. In addition, SAP Analytics Cloud also provides customers the ability to integrate an existing SAP BusinessObjects BI platform with SAP Analytics Cloud, something often referred to as a hybrid approach. As part of this hybrid approach, SAP Analytics Hub and SAP Analytics Catalog play an important role. We will return to that later in this article.
Figure 2 shows the combined SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP BusinessObjects portfolio, with SAP Analytics Cloud being the leading analytics tool in the cloud and SAP BusinessObjects BI being your on-premise solution. As you can see, for topics such as a classic reporting or a Microsoft Office integration, SAP is also positioning the on-premise solutions for these types of requirements. It’s very important to understand the above recommendation based on requirements and scenarios. For example, if your requirement currently is to provide your users with a layout and format-driven reporting, the Web Intelligence and Crystal Reports aspects of the on-premise SAP BusinessObjects BI platform are still valid choices. If you are looking for strong data visualizations and data exploration capabilities, you should investigate the option to integrate SAP Analytics Cloud into your BI landscape.
SAP BusinessObjects BI & SAP Analytics Cloud – A Hybrid Approach
For existing SAP BusinessObjects BI customers, it is critical to consider a hybrid approach as part of the journey towards SAP Analytics Cloud. Not only does the hybrid approach provide customers with the ability to leverage existing assets from the on-premise BI solution, it also helps customers move to the cloud at their own speed without the mandatory step to migrate all their assets to the cloud, which could potentially result in needing to re-create a lot of analytics assets.
Benefits for customers using a hybrid approach include the following:
- SAP Analytics Cloud has the ability to connect directly to your SAP BusinessObjects Universes as part of your on-premise BI landscape. Not only does this allow you to re-use your existing Universes and simply leverage those dimensions and measure in combination with SAP Analytics Cloud, but it also means that you can leverage your Universes to connect to a huge variety of data sources. You can also re-use your existing Universes to provide SAP Analytics Cloud information from a large data source set using a live connection.
- Using SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office and as part of the hybrid approach, you can connect to your on-premise data sources, such as SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) or SAP HANA. SAP customers also now can connect to the information in SAP Analytics Cloud. In this scenario, you can leverage the information in and data connections provided via SAP Analytics Cloud. For example, you could connect to your on-premise SAP BW system directly from SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office and also bring in information that was uploaded into SAP Analytics Cloud (such as information from SAP SuccessFactors). You can also use connections provided by SAP Analytics Cloud (such as a connection to SAP S/4HANA).
With the release of SAP BusinessObjects BI platform 4.3, SAP is adding even more capabilities for the hybrid approach, such as the following:
- Not only will you be able to leverage your existing Universes as a data source for your live connections in SAP Analytics Cloud, but with the 4.3 release you will also be able to connect from SAP Analytics Cloud to your existing Web Intelligence documents. In addition to the data connection, this gives you the capability to reuse any calculations and formulas that are specific to your reporting requirements. Additionally, by reusing the Web Intelligence document, you can reuse the additional logic also in combination with SAP Analytics Cloud.
- Another important aspect of the 4.3 release is the hybrid user management aspect. Starting with the 4.3 release, you will have an option to onboard your existing SAP BusinessObjects BI platform users into SAP Analytics Cloud. Not only can you bring in the users, but you can also leverage your existing user groups. This is a huge help, especially for your BI platform administrator, as now they can re-use your existing users and user groups and import them into SAP Analytics Cloud, which will save significant time.
- In addition to having the ability to create an initial upload of users and user groups from your SAP BusinessObjects BI platform for SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP is also providing you with a System for Cross-domain Identity Management (SCIM) API, which allows you to go beyond the initial upload of users and user groups and create a custom scenario where you keep your SAP BusinessObjects BI platform and SAP Analytics Cloud synchronized in regards to users and user groups.
In addition to all the product capabilities that will help you start your journey to the cloud, SAP is offering a cloud extension policy where you have the ability to convert savings from your maintenance into licenses to start your SAP Analytics Cloud journey. I would recommend reaching out to your account team for further details.
SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise, Private Cloud Edition
Last but not least, since Q1 2021, you also have the option to move your SAP BusinessObjects BI landscape to the SAP BusinessObjects, Private Cloud Edition. Many SAP customers started to leverage SAP Analytics Cloud in combination with their existing SAP BusinessObjects BI landscape in the form of a hybrid approach. Users looking for an option to shift their existing SAP BusinessObjects BI on-premise workloads to a cloud-based landscape are benefitting from these new capabilities in SAP Analytics Cloud — especially in business intelligence, planning, and predictive. This is where SAP BusinessObjects, Private Cloud Edition comes in.
SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise Private Cloud Edition provides our customers:
- All SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise platform capabilities
- A pre-configured SAP BusinessObjects system landscape hosted in a cloud infrastructure
- Platform services provided by SAP, such as yearly upgrades
- High availability, backup, restore, and service level agreements covering the complete solution
- By default, a two-tier landscape with a Test & Development and a Production landscape
- The ability to move to a simple cloud subscription mode that includes the software, infrastructure, and the operational services all in one simple package.
So why should customers look at the option of moving to the SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise Private Cloud Edition?
- Customers can benefit immediately by lowering their total cost of ownership by using a platform and infrastructure provided and managed by SAP.
- Customers can use this also as an opportunity to upgrade to the latest version of SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise and potentially consolidate into one global instance.
- Revisit their current licensing mix and fit a better-suited model.
For those considering using SAP Analytics Cloud to begin their journey into cloud analytics with an existing SAP BusinessObjects BI deployment, you should consider a hybrid approach and re-use your existing assets, such as Universes and Web Intelligence reports, and integrate your SAP Analytics Cloud system with your SAP BusinessObjects BI system.
An integrated hybrid approach will help you and your users get started quickly in the cloud and provides the option to then move your assets to the cloud at your own pace. In addition, the ability to leverage SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise Private Cloud edition can provide you with some immediate benefits and help you on your journey to the cloud.