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SAP BI gets "casual"

by Davin Wilfrid

April 19, 2010

by Davin Wilfrid, Managing Editor, ERP Expert

SAP has announced the availability of a new SaaS-based business intelligence (BI) toolset aimed at the "casual user." By casual user, they don't mean the guy in jeans and sneakers who spends a little too much time in the lunch room every day -- they mean the line of business workers who don't have a lot of experience with BI tools, but could use a little statistical boost in their day jobs.

SAP says the toolset, called SAP BusinessObjects BI on Demand, requires little or no training to figure out, and promised scalable pricing based on your business needs (VIDEO HERE). The key to the toolset is SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, SAP's Web-savvy data exploration tool.

“Customers want to work with their data their way – whether it's behind a firewall, on the Web, or on their local computer in spreadsheets,” said Marge Breya, executive vice president and general manager, Intelligence Platform Group and SAP NetWeaver Solution Management, SAP. “Only SAP can deliver what customers need in this new reality. We understand that user choice is driving the growth of SaaS BI. That's why solutions like SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand let customers understand their business the way they want – instantly and easily. With access to data at their fingertips, customers can make more confident decisions, share their insights with others and react quickly t o any changes in their business. SAP makes BI more pervasive by giving underserved casual users an affordable, easy-to-use on-demand BI solution. This is an important milestone in SAP's on-demand vision, and further proof that we continue to innovate in the cloud.”

A little learning is a dangerous thing, of course, and it's important to bear in mind the potential risks of simply handing out BI tools to casual users. SAP leaders -- whether they're PMs, CIOs, or team leaders, should bear in mind that a successful BI project or initiative is one that has definable goals and can be measured. For more, see our interview with Brad Ferguson, former director of business information services at Office Depot: An Insider’s Keys to a Successful BI Project.

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