Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SAP BI 4.0 Strategic Vision

SAP BI 4.0 is the first major update of BusinessObjects since its acquisition by SAP, so there has been much discussion about new features and the direction in which SAP is taking their enterprise BI solution.

Cindi Howson has a nice summary of SAP's BI strategy, and the roles of BI 4.0 and recent acquisitions are playing in that strategy. SAP's HANA effort bolsters real-time analytics performance through in-memory computing, and SAP Cloud initiatives bring in-memory computing to smaller enterprises with smaller budgets. With this ambitious in-memory undertaking, SAP is aiming to become the number 2 database player by 2015.

SAP is positioning itself, through the acquisition of Sybase, as a provider of high-security mobile BI, and with the acquisition of SuccessFactors as the number-two SaaS vendor in revenue (after

The potential benefits to enterprises upgrading to SAP BI 4.0 are huge, and it will be interesting to see the adoption rate. Will large enterprises choose to upgrade as a means to improve competitive advantage and operational efficiency? There are many factors to consider.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

SAP BI 4.0 "Monsta" Project - Testing the Limits

The Global SAP Co-Innovation Lab (COIL) Network is an SAP Research initiative designed to promote project-based co-innovation between SAP and network members.

David Cruickshank blogs about the so-called "Monsta" BI 4.0 implementation, which is the single largest such project attempted so far. The deployment reflects many of the current, industry-wide BI trends:

Developments within SAP[,] and BI as an industry itself, suggests [sic] strongly that this growth trend in analytics is nearly epic, and with the release of HANA, the push for BI on mobile devices, and an "analytics anywhere, anytime" direction, the need to scale up is [sic] and to be capable of supporting larger and larger environments is predictable. A truly large BOE environment could be anything larger than 2-4,000 users concurrent (usually equivalent to a 20-50,000 total user base for BOE), which would start pushing up against ~100 CPU. This COIL project tests architectural, scalability and performance limits of valuable interest serving as a confidence builder internally, but also externally. Future customers for environments of this size would feel much more comfortable to find that SAP tested this in our own labs prior prove that it works. To develop the tests and to produce such proof points as an orchestrated co-innovation activity among multiple partners from the SAP ecosystem adds validation and opens up new opportunity to accelerate innovation on this front.

The project's stated objectives:

  • Establish customer confidence in large scale BI deployments
  • Optimize SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise Architecture

The project is not only monstrous in size:

  • 2 - 4,000 concurrent users
  • 20 - 50,000 total user base
  • ~100 CPUs

...but in scope as well, testing SAP BI 4.0's capabilities against the market's demand for:

  • Extensive analytics
  • Mobile BI
  • Pervasive BI
  • Scalability

Early results are positive, and David assures us that the project has generated enough comments, reports and insights to fill numerous white papers and tech briefs. We look forward to those.

Follow further results at David Cruickshank's blog.