Change is on the way for SAP BusinessObjects users in the form of SAP BI 4.3, which could be available in the next few months. This update is the first major 4.x release after 4.2 in early 2016. After a long gap of four years in software development, there will be some huge opportunities to grab and a few challenges to confront. Taking part in SAP Business Objects Training will help you to understand these upcoming changes in a better way.
What Are The Major Changes?
Here are some of the major changes that are expected to cover in BI 4.3:
- Elimination of the old Launchpad /InfoView interface that will be replaced by a new tile-based design
- Better integration with SAC
- Redesigned Web Intelligence interface
- New Web Intelligence Capabilities
- New data-modeling roles for Web Intelligence report builders
- Explorer and Dashboards functionality deleted
Some of these changes will impact customers more than others, and those who have exceedingly invested in deploring tools like Dashboards and Explorer will require thinking deeply about their next steps.
The New Look Front End
Many of the end-users access BusinessObjects through its web-portal known as the Launchpad/ InfoView as it was called in XIR2 and 3. This portal lets the people log in, explore their reports and documents, interact with them, schedule them, probably produce new Web Intelligence reports or edit existing ones. This process still won’t change, but the web-pages will appear very different and several work-flows will change.
SAP named its web-design environment as ‘Fiori’, and it has slowly turned around Fiori-style front-ends throughout its product range. A Fiori-style Launchpad is already obtainable as an option in BI 4.2, from SP4 onwards, so you can view if you have that version or superior installed. Modify your normal URL from http://:/BOE/BI to http://:/BOE/BILaunchpad instead, and you can see it.
Fiori BI Launchpad in BI 4.2 SP6
This new-interface means that users of other SAP products like SAC or their CRM/ERP products will feel more native in BOBJ. But for those with BOBJ only, it is a big change. In Sap BI 4.3, as the single user interface will be available, it will bring new functions along with the requirement to learn its shortcomings and work-flows.
Removal of Explorer and Dashboards
These tools are based on Adobe Flash, and therefore will not be supported by many tech companies by the end of 2020. Even if you don’t upgrade to BI 4.3, it will be harder for your IT teams to keep these tools running. This new upgrade to BI 4.3 eliminates all support for these tools from BOBJ, and an in-situ upgrade will possibly delete the actually installed software too.
Re-design of the Web Intelligence Interface
The arrival of 4.0 back in 2011 was carried in the ribbon menus in Web Intelligence, the last large redesign of the tool. For users shifting from XIR2 or XI3.1 to BI4.x, the main task has always been for discovering the buttons that you are aware of stays there but are just buried down in the tabbed-structure of those ribbon menus.
SAP BI 4.3 changed the interface once again, but not only in menu styles. The query panel, universe object icons, input controls, locations of navigation and object panels, filter bars; these all are changing.
SAP has committed functional parity for Web Intelligence reporting between late stage 4.2 and the release of 4.3, so the buttons will remain in there someplace. However, it will be a challenge to locate them in unknown surroundings.
New Data-Modeling Concept/Role for Web Intelligence Report Builders
Along with new features and behaviors of Web Intelligence, there is one more new concept being added in BI 4.3 that is WebI as a data-modeling tool.
Presently the end-users who build the attractive, informative elements of a report also need to understand how to make the technical data aspects of a report, including the possible complex merging of multiple queries and the formation of complex variables and calculations.
In 4.3, these two tasks can be more easily separated. Technical authorized-users can build datasets in Web Intelligence from multiple universes, multiple queries, including spreadsheets or CSV based information, write freehand SQL, merge the data, write variables and calculations and then publish all of that as one precise package. These can then be utilized by other users as the data source for their reporting.
Greater Integration with SAC
SAP Analytics Cloud is SAP’s main representation in the analytics environment. It is where the greater part of their development and investment resides, and it is their goal to help people to use it and grain the benefits from its powerful capabilities.
In BI 4.3, the interoperability between SAC and BOBJ is advanced a few steps ahead. Businesses having licenses for both tools will be enabled it to integrate users more easily, and there will be links to your SAC occupancy from the BOBJ Launchpad.SAC will now consume data through the new Webi data models, which could unlock great opportunities for easier dashboard design.
The front-ends of both systems will be more homogenized with Fiori designed structure, so users will be feeling more content while switching between them: and the redesign of Webi is in part planned to imitate work-flows from SAC story design.
How to Prepare for These Changes?
This change is predictable and inevitable in the long-run, so how can you be better to get ready for it? Before you push yourself and update your production system to BI 4.3, there are numerous things you could do to mitigate the impact and train your users on the new opportunities it will provide:
- Ensure that your live system is updated to BI 4.2. Service pack 7 is the newest version, but SP8 will be available soon. Upgrading now gives you the best ever lead-time available and makes sure you have the most recent bug fixes and patches, as well as providing you access to the latest version of the optional Fiori Launchpad – to practically use it before it becomes the only option left.
- If you have bought your BOBJ licenses after 1st July 2009, you can create development BOBJ systems for no extra license cost. Create a new environment to test the BI 4.3 water, install new software, and then migrate content to it for testing. Once it trains your users or reveals issues, you can conclude when to upgrade your live environment.
Want to practice new functionalities of BI 4.3? Join SAP Business Objects Training today! ExistBI offers on-site or online training with live instructors in the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe.