Top 3 Most Exciting Developments in SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4.3 SP4
Here are the three items in the ‘what’s new’ list that we’re most excited about for the platform itself – i.e. before even any of the reporting tools and data manipulation features are looked at.
Data governance is a hot-topic right now and we at Codestone take your data security seriously. Which is why we’re excited to find SAP have introduced an ‘information classification’ solution into the BI Platform.
This feature helps administrators to guard against loss of sensitive information as well as ensure only the right people in the organisation see particular sets of data. Admins can apply sensitivity ratings to WebI and Crystal reports, and scheduled instances of those reports inherit their settings.
Currently the system only works on Windows-based environments and is only compatible with the Microsoft Azure Information Protection Platform, however it indicates strongly that SAP are investing in data-security and that the BI Platform is still a serious Enterprise-level reporting environment.
We look forward to seeing how this feature develops in the patches and versions of SAP BusinessObjects to come.
Scheduling triggers and ‘Any Event’
Event-based scheduling is used by lots of our customers to finely control when report instances are sent out of the system. Using events gives more control than a simple schedule based on dates and times, maybe preventing empty or erroneous reports being sent out, or enabling Finance to only send out reports when they are ready to.
It has been possible to use multiple events in one schedule for a while now, so that a report will not run unless multiple conditions are satisfied, but now SAP have introduced an ‘OR’ option to what was previously only ‘ANDs’. Now, instead of having to wait until all events are triggered, there will be a drop-down option to run the schedule if any of them are.
It seems like a small change, but it brings quite a lot of flexibility to an already market-leading area of the platform. I’ve yet to find a BI tool that schedules reports to destinations (email, FTP, OneDrive, Google Drive, shared folders etc) quite as simply and robustly as SAP BusinessObjects, and now that impressive feature is improved even further.
BI Workspace improvements
Another seemingly niche area of improvement that actually may be bigger than you think, is that of the BI Workspace. Some of our customers make a lot of use of these as custom home-screens for their users.
Since the change to the Fiori Launchpad in 4.3 the Workspace hasn’t had quite as much effort expended on it as some other parts of the system. Now that changes with some UI and UX improvements that make the process of creating and editing workspaces more intuitive and flow better.
If you’ve never used the BI Workspace concept, or tried it before and found it lacking, now will be the time to re-visit it and give your users the customised BI experience they deserve!
Service Pack 4 of SAP BI Platform 4.3/Crystal Server 2020 is available now from SAP. Please talk to your account manager here at Codestone about what it can bring to your environment and users. The BI&A team here are the experts on all things data-related!
Keith Fisher, Senior BI Consultant, Codestone Group
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