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Interview: SAP Mentor Ingo Hilgefort on SAP BusinessObjects Analysis Suite, BW and the BI 4 roadmap

by Bridget Kotelly

March 11, 2013

My colleague Scott Wallask recently interviewed SAP mentor, SAPexperts technical advisor,  BI 2013 speaker and SAP BI guru Ingo Hilgefort on the topic of SAP Business Analysis and BW. You can listen to Ingo’s conversation with Scott in Insider Learning Network’s podcast archives or read our edited version here.

 

Scott Wallask, SAPexperts: This is Scott Wallask, managing editor over at SAPexperts.com, and we’re thrilled to have one of our Technical Advisors for SAPexperts and a very well-known speaker from SAP, Ingo Hilgefort, joining us today. Ingo is Director of Solution Management for Business Intelligence at SAP and well-known for his expertise with BusinessObjects.

Ingo, thanks for joining us today.

Ingo Hilgefort, SAP: Hi, Scott. Thanks for having me.

Scott: Now you’re speaking at our BI 2013 conference, and I think you have six or seven sessions! We’re happy to have you for that, too.

Ingo, you’ve just published a book online called Mastering SAP Business Analysis - Edition for OLAP with SAP NetWeaver BW, and that book is available on iTunes. And you’re also talking about BusinessObjects Analysis during a hands-on lab at BI2013.

Speaking broadly from your work on the book and also your work in preparing for BI 2013, what are the advantages of integrating Analysis with NetWeaver BW?

Ingo: First of all, at the conference, we have a session about the best practices; we do a workshop on the Analysis Suite, where we show Analysis for Office and Analysis for the Web. And as part of this suite we also show Design Studio.

The advantage is clearly now customers have the option to leverage BI 4 -- including the Analysis Suite, which is giving them the successor of what they have now, which is BEx Analyzer, BEx Web Reporting – So customers are now in a position with BI4 to completely leverage the BusinessObjects BI suite, and, if you want to say it this  way, move on to the new BI platform, and actually replace BEx as their current solution. So really, they have all the portfolio available.

Analysis was still the gap, when we had 3.1. It wasn’t available completely, but we pointed them to the Roadmap – that with BI 4, we would have Analysis for OLAP, Analysis for Office, and Design Studio, now being released as the successor for the Web Application Designer. Now customers have that complete suite of BI available to them.

Scott: On the flip side, have you seen any drawbacks to integrating Analysis with BW? Are there cases where integration is not warranted?

Ingo: Very, very rarely. Specifically if we’re talking about the BW customer base, they know what a product like Analysis can do for the m, because they used to leverage BEx Analyzer and BEx Web Reporting as a multi-dimensional tool to give them all the slice-and-dice navigation and different kind of options to leverage what BW is about as a multidimensional engine.

The drawbacks, so far, only that I’ve seen – and it’s not just particular for Analysis, it would happen with any other of the clients - we sometimes have customers that try to approach BI in a, let’s say, single-tool approach.

So they try to squeeze all their requirements into one product, but they realize relatively quickly that to fulfill all their needs, they need more than one of the BI products.

Scott: It seems hard to take a one-tool approach, in general, with a lot of the technology.

Ingo: Yes, and it’s not particular to BW. We’ve seen this in other cases as well, where customers are trying to fit everything in from a deployment point of view, saying, “Look, we only want to deploy one of the BI clients.” But then they do realize quickly that, for example, if I need layout reporting, we might need Crystal Reports. And if I want to give my CEO a dashboard on his mobile device, I’m using Design Studio or I’m using Xcelsius for it. So they do realize quickly that they will need more than one of the products.

Scott: How does Analysis fit in with mobility these days?

Ingo: That’s a very good question. We have two Analysis clients: Analysis for Office and what we call Analysis Edition for OLAP -- so that’s the web version of that.

And now, with SAPPHIRE and TechEd in Madrid, we released Design Studio.

So Design Studio, for our BW- and HANA-based customers, right now, is the successor for the Web A pplication Designer and it’s only generating HTML5. So that’s where the mobility comes in.

Design Studio is basically the product that integrates with our mobile BI solution, and it gives customers the ability to actually use what they did with analysis for Office and Analysis for OLAP and bring it on to a mobile device.

So what you will see in the next release of the product, coming out in this next quarter – so, for SAPPHIRE timeframe – that Analysis for Office and Analysis for OLAP are very, very closely integrating with Design Studio.

So one of the workflows will be that you can leverage Analysis for OLAP in your browser and we will allow you to seamlessly go from Analysis for OLAP into Design Studio and generate something like a default mobile report for you and you can bring on to the mobile device. And a similar workflow will be possible fro Analysis for Office, going from your spreadsheet with all the details into Design Studio for building your mobile application.


Scott: To find more about Ingo’s sessions at BI 2013, you can go to bi2013.com and follow the latest on Twitter at #bi2013.

Ingo, thank you very much for your time. I hope to see you out in Vegas. Thanks for joining us!

Ingo: Thank you, Scott, and yes, I’m sure we will see each other in Vegas!

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