SAP has two world class approaches to analytics available at the same time – the classic SAP BusinessObjects on-premise suite of tools and the new SAP Analytics Cloud environment.
The on-premise BusinessObjects tools include Web Intelligence, Lumira, Crystal Reports, Live Office and the ability to create SAP ‘universes’. In its ‘Edge’ configuration you can purchase licences that also include a copy of Data Integrator – a leading data warehousing tool. This suite of software is installed on a server (either virtual or physical, locally or cloud hosted) and accessed via a mixture of browser and client tools. Licencing is by named user or concurrent sessions, with an annual maintenance charge.
SAP Analytics Cloud is a cloud based BI tool that encompasses visualisation, data exploration, planning and predictive capabilities. It has market-leading data-modelling and visualisation tools to allow users to connect to cloud or on-premise data-sources, combine information, manipulate fields, add calculations and display the output interactively with great ease. It has a per-user monthly-subscription model for licencing making it easily scalable.
The two approaches will be brought closer and closer together in the coming years, as on-premise BusinessObjects is linked to SAC in hybrid environments, and SAC evolves to be able to consume and replicate universes, Web Intelligence reports and other functionality.
Both systems have their strengths:
- BusinessObjects has the universe and all the established data-modelling options that implies (SAC can access universes but is limited in some ways)
- It has the ability to schedule report output to email and shared-folders, as PDFs, CSVs or Excel
- A massive user-base ensures there is a thriving community to source help, new employees and ideas from
- SAC has in-built predictive-analytics capabilities, and smart insights to your data available at the touch of a button
- It has excellent mapping functionality built in, with zoomable and interactive displays
- It has been built from the start with SAP’s other Cloud offerings in mind
- Planning and extra predictive features can be added to your subscription
- It is receiving constant updates, improvements and new functionality
Finally, with the different tools available it has an option for every niche:
- Web Intelligence for visualisations, operational reports, exploration of data
- Lumira for dashboards and exploration
- Crystal for pixel perfect operational reporting, direct to customer reports, invoices etc
- Live Office for MS Office integration
Both SAP systems are enterprise-level BI environments that can help you turn data into actionable information. DSCallards can help you decide which one is better for your requirements.