SAP BOBJ4.2, it’s the simple things…

SAP BOBJ4.2, it’s the simple things….

First of all, credit where credit is due: read this most excellent post on the SAP Community Network by Christian Ah-Soon about the new WebI features in SAP BOBJ4.2. Well written and explained, plus great feedback at the bottom.

SAP BI 4.2 – What’s New in Web Intelligence

That post prompted us to start looking at the new release to see what other new features customers can look forward to. Understanding all the new functionality will enable a much easier and tighter integration with other SAP products in the BI and Analytics portfolio. Some short points on other new features in WebI:

  • Commentary: Nice feature, very basic first release, and can do with further improvements (i.e. storing and retrieving the commentary, plus better control of the Comment function),
  • Shared Elements: Fantastic new feature! Not just the ease with which you can manage this, but also the simple way it fits into the existing BI server architecture, allowing you to manage them with folders and normal access levels, i.e. business as usual!
  • GEO maps: Same as Commentary, nice feature, and as others in the discussion forum mentioned, aligning it nicely with Lumira and Explorer. Again, room for improvements. Else, Custom Elements and external integration (such as CMaps by Centigon) may also get you that extra bit of mapping viz.

And then, there was HANA Direct and HANA Online access from WebI…. I’ll focus on that in this post. Let’s skip ahead and allow me to share my opinion here first:


OK I admit, nothing official on that from SAP, agreed, but in tying all the bits together for a WebI/BOBJ4.2 new features presentation, the ease of access of HANA data really stood out, and seems a huge improvement on what we had to manage before (Connections, Universes or BW info/multi/composite/etc providers). Now you…

  • create the BI Connection to the HANA Analytical or Calculation View; OLAP or Relational (HANA Online will not work with OLAP),
  • set your security rights & grants correctly on the HANA schemas and view; select and execute rights,
  • … and create your query in WebI…. Or just drag in the characteristics and key figures with HANA Online!

It’s really that easy!!

Then, tie this together with the above new features like Shared Elements (again not for HANA Online) and your development times are really getting very short and agile!

But there are more reasons why I started thinking WebI is really getting pushed more into the limelight than say, Crystal for Enterprise for starters. Have a look at the 2 slides from SAP’s What’s new in 4.2. WebI – it lists eight new features, each Crystal version only four (each). You could argue most of the new features in Crystal are more alignment features, so allowing Crystal to “catch up” on missing features (arguably half the new WebI features are also aligning the tool, but that still leaves four brand new features).




That then leaves us comparing it to Design Studio. Again, in my view not the first pick as an end-user tool, but even Design Studio in this release is making absolutely massive steps! Have a read of this SCN post, yet again another excellent piece of work by Karol Kalisz!

Design Studio 1.6: What’s New in? A (technical) View

There’s also mention already online of Shared Elements for Design Studio. So clearly well and truly on its way to make us forget Xcelsius/Dashboard Design, plus also a big step forward in integration with other SAP products! I’m still not sure if Design Studio would be a first tool for business users to pick up and run with, but it’s definitely getting better and easier every release.

That brings me back to WebI for this upcoming release. We’re definitely hitting an innovation phase again. Lots of new features, which really are going to make our lives easier and even a bit more exciting. They’re also a lot more than a “catch-up” exercise (to keep up with the new data visualisation tools). Plus, we still have that excellent platform to work off, which really does become a great Launchpad for all these new features.

Exciting times ahead, and it’s really all that …. Simple!

Sandra Cutic