What’s New In SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.2?

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence - Analytics Graph on Multiple Devices

SAP released their latest version of SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.2 earlier this year to a great reception from business users and IT teams alike. It’s very likely you’ve heard about the release but have you properly considered how much of an impact upgrading to 4.2 could have on your business?

If you haven’t already it’s time to set your sights on this major release. In this article we explore what exactly has SAP improved and look at the killer features that make this the most accessible and user friendly BO version we have ever seen. We cover the key improvements, consider how this release will boost your ‘analytical’ organisation – and why you should consider upgrading right now.

Simply Empowered: SAP Business Intelligence

SAP has been at the forefront of BI software for many years. They understand that user needs evolve quickly and it is clear they have been listening to feedback. They know users want easy to use but ever faster and more capable BI. So it was no surprise that with BusinessObjects BI 4.2 they have delivered a stronger BI experience for all.

The driving force behind SAP’s latest release theme was this: Simplify and Empower.

The aim: to make it easier for your business teams to understand business performance and to make your business faster and more agile.

Our experience so far has confirmed that BusinessObjects BI 4.2 certainly delivers. Using the new release feels far simpler and more intuitive than previous versions. This is achieved using a raft of new features, enhancements, more geospatial capabilities and now with capabilities to connect to SAP BW and SAP HANA. It is clear that SAP are true to their core guiding principle: to help customers RUN SIMPLE!

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Running Intelligent Business, Simply

SAP’s RUN SIMPLE principle actually makes a lot of sense, especially when applied to Business Intelligence. Taking a step back we can all see how, in practically every industry, the pace of technological change around us has become exponential. The ever growing mountain of data this creates leads to new challenges and opportunities. For some companies not set up to cope the gap between data and access, between IT departments and Business users has grown. But If your business is to compete (and ideally thrive) you need to access this data in a practical and useful way. Intelligent Business Analytics built within a solid landscape are now vital toolsets for organisations.

However, in the face of this data tidal wave, BI Analytics software has become ever more complex and unwieldy. Many solutions are now so IT Resource hungry and so convoluted that front end BI admin users rarely get the full benefits of these essential tools. All while the demand for better, more agile information grows.

SAP realised that if their users really were to use analytical insights as the foundation of their business, to empower business users, they must be made simpler.

The result: SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.2.

3 Core Themes Key To Improvements

Beyond RUN SIMPLE, the particular recipe SAP chose to bake into the 4.2 release was centred upon 3 core ingredients:

SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2  Simplify

  • Easier to use and manage, for BI Admins and IT.
  • Empower everyone with analytics, boost collaboration
  • Access in the cloud
  • One vendor Partner for all your analytics needs
 Enhance - SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 Enhance

  • Improved capabilities and tools
  • New methods to access data and boost productivity
  • Integrate your current source systems
  • Reuse and expand platforms
 Innovate - SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2  Innovate

  • Enhanced customisation
  • Reveal hidden opportunities and risks
  • Improved developer experience
  • Anticipate and plan future outcomes

Which Users Benefit From SAP BOBJ 4.2?

It’s safe to say everyone who upgrades to the latest BusinessObjects version will benefit. There are however key users whose roles will be substantially improved, including:

SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 - Business Users  Business Users, Designers & Analysts
All BI users benefit from increased responsiveness, including those using:

  • SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence
  • SAP BusinessObjects Lumira
  • SAP Crystal Solutions
 IT Administrators - SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 IT Administrators

  • Managing and optimising platform performance
  • Easier upgrades and installs
  • Reduced workload and costs
 Ecosystem and Development Partners - SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2  Ecosystem & Development Partners

  • Those looking to extend the value and capabilities of the integrated BI platform
  • Help business drive better decision making across the organisation


Enhanced, Improved – Simple Wins

OK, so that’s the overarching theory on how SAP are pushing to remain top of the BI market with BOBJ 4.2. What about the actual technical enhancements, the new features, and how do they benefit users? Well, where to start? There are extra mobile BI capabilities, better self-discovery tools and new geospatial capabilities. Then there are boosted cloud solutions, integration with the powerful in-memory platform HANA, and an all-round simplification of portfolio. All of these extra enhancements could put extra pressure on the BusinessObjects core – so that is what SAP focused upon first.

Improved Stability and Capability

SAP BusinessObjects has a solid history. In our internal tests the environment has proven reliable. It is clear BI4.2 is the culmination of core stability and capability improvements built upon several key innovations and incremental product advances we saw in BI4.1.

Main New Features in SAP BO 4.2

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform 4.2 includes

  • Recycle Bin
    When users deletes an item from the BOE system, it’s now moved into the “Recycle Bin” and an administrator can recover the files. Items will be stored there only until the bin is emptied, which may have a time-limit or happen on set days – at which time the files are permanently deleted.
  • BI Commentary Service
    A new CMC application that allows document users to collaborate, to comment on any of the data/statistics accessible in a given document.
  • Restful Web Services APIs for Publication
    A whole raft of nifty new tools allow the management of:

    • Users and User groups
    • Publications, files and scheduling
    • Queries, Server and Jobs statistics, Content and Application usage, and more
  • BI Administrators’ Cockpit
    Another new CMC application. Administrators can collect basic data about the BI environment. You can also obtain information about Servers, Scheduled Jobs, Applications and Content Usage
  • Selectively retrieve objects from an LCMBIAR file
    Selectively retrieve objects from an LCMBIAR file. This requires that the user has the introduction of ‘Edit LCMBIAR’ right. When you selectively retrieve objects from an LCMBIAR file, a new job with the selected objects is created.

SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence 4.2 includes

  • Element Sharing
  • Parallel Queries, Data Provider Refresh
  • Enabled BI Commentary Services
  • Geo Maps and Visual Extensions
    • Good looking and insightful dashboards can be created, using ESRI maps or google maps. Any map that has an URL can be now used to cross geospatial information and our own data
  • Direct Access to HANA
    • View HANA data without having to export it!
      SAPs strategy is to avoid copying, or making data redundant – which is why 4.2 tools can connect with BW. For users already on HANA and S4HANA, there are now unique capabilities to connect.

SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise 4.2 includes

  • BarCode and QR Code Support
  • Waterfall Charts
  • Vertical Alignment of Text
  • The Information Design Tool: 2 new enhancements
    • Linked Universes
      A means of linking a universe to one or more core universes, allowing the re-use of components from those universes’ business layers and data foundations.
    • Authored BW BEx Universes
      SAP Business Explorer (BEx) authored universes – a way of building and saving universes on BEx queries, using the BICS connector.

Other changes and improvements  include:

  • New Licence Keys
    To upgrade to BI4.1 users need to activate a new licence key
  • Dashboards and Presentation Design Improved Access
    • 64 Bit systems support
    • Filter components can now be viewed in new formats
  • Improved install/uninstall performance
    • Enhanced installation or uninstallation finish screen of BI 4.2
    • Faster to setup
  • New: Audit Web Service Clients
    AnalysisOffice, Xcelsius and other Web Service clients that use Web Services consumer SDK can now be audited in BO 4.2.
  • Add New Languages
    When upgrading to SAP BI 4.2 you can now add a new language by modifying your BI platform installation during the upgrade.
  • New Data Access Support added
    This includes new access for:>

    • HANA SPS10 and PowerPC
    • Hadoop Hive 0.14
    • Amazon EMR Hive 0.13
    • Cloudera Impala – CDH 5.2 (0.13 and 0.14)
    • Apache Spark (JDBC and ODBC)
    • Greenplum 4.3
    • IBM (IDS 12.1 (ECS France) and Netezza 7.2 (support 7.1 by reference)

Further SAP Resources: Find Out More

What’s New – SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Suite Document Version: 4.2
A 22 page pdf (xKb) outlining key components of BI4.2

SAP BusinessObjects BI4.2 What’s New L0 (pdf xKb)
A HIGH LEVEL presentation (35 pages) covering the key components and features of the BI4.2 release

SAP BusinessObjects BI4.2 What’s New L2 (pdf xKb)
A DETAILED presentation going (147 pages) covering the components and features of the BI4.2 release

Video: SAP Business Objects BI: What’s New in Release 4.2?
Extensive YouTube video posted by SAP BusinessObjects Analytics (59:24 ~ An hour long video)

Want to move your business forward with SAP BusinessObjects 4.2?
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