SAP BI Suite – BI Designer or Consumer Tools Overview

SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4 contains a number of designer or consumer tools which connect to various data sources and perform data analysis, monitoring and reporting. Each tool has its own strengths and there is overlap in their functionality. It can be a bit confusing to decide which one to use for a particular task. Following is the list of client tools with a brief overview that may help in figuring out how suitable they are for a particular BI need:

SAP Crystal Reports 2011
  • Crystal Reports is used to develop highly formatted reports which are printer-friendly and largely static.
  • Supports parameters
  • Newer version of SAP Crystal Reports 2008
SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise
  • Crystal Reports for Enterprise is the next generation of Crystal Report designer which will be foundation for future Crystal Report development.
  • Currently it doesn’t support all data sources as compared to ‘SAP Crystal Reports 2011’.
  • Crystal Reports for Enterprise should be used for new reports if the required features are available.
SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards
  • SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards is a data visualization software that allows you to create interactive dashboards.
  • Dashboard designer contains an embedded excel workbook which can be used to load data directly or data from other sources can be bind to the excel sheet.
  • Data from other sources can be directly bind to dashboard components by-passing the embedded excel workbook.
  • Dashboard design tool is generally meant for IT department which deploy the created dashboards to BI platform to be consumed by users.
SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence
  • Web Intelligence supports powerful adhoc query and reporting. The tool is also callled interactive analysis.
  • The reports created in Web Intelligence are much more interactive than Crystal Reports. It supports drill down , outlining and input control to filter records.
  • Web Intelligence is available both as a client tool of the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform, and as a stand-alone product.
SAP BusinessObjects Analysis
  • There are two tools in SAP Analysis: Excel Addon called ‘SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, Edition for Microsoft Office’ and ‘SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, Edition for OLAP’.
  • Allows to design workbooks applications and perform multidimensional ad-hoc analysis of OLAP data sources in Microsoft Excel.
  • ‘SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, Edition for OLAP’ is an alternative to Excel which duplicates the enhanced pivot table functionality.
SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio
  • SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio enables application designers to create analysis applications and dashboards for Web browsers and mobile devices based on SAP NetWeaver BW or SAP HANA data sources.
  • It is the product of choice when full support is required for data models and engine capabilities in SAP NetWeaver BW and SAP HANA.
SAP BusinessObjects Explorer
  • SAP BusinessObjects Explorer is a data discovery application that allows you to retrieve answers to your business questions from corporate data quickly and directly.
  • Through search, you can find relevant data that is held within consistent, meaningful datasets known as Information Spaces.
Visual Intelligence
  • Visual Intelligence is a data discovery and visualization tool.
  • It is the go to tool for self service BI.

Reports, dashboards and workspaces from above tools can be saved to SAP BI platform. Documents saved on the BI platform are accessible through BI Launchpad. BI Launchpad provides an interface to the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform repository that enables you to navigate to, view, and manage your business intelligence documents.

Official SAP tutorials for above tools are available at www.sap.com/learnbi. The tutorials are in the form of How-To videos which explain how to accomplish common tasks in these tools.

For a more detailed analysis of the capabilities of these tools, check out the webcast ‘How to select the right BI tool for your environment‘. The presenter categorizes the BI portfolio capabilities into four areas: reporting, monitoring, analyze and discover. He than evaluates the BI client tools with respect to these categories and required technical expertise.

For a webinar on Visual Intelligence tool, visit http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-31427. Here are the slides for the webinar.

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