SAP to retire overlapping BI products

A link to an Infoworld article which discusses which overlapping products from the merger it plans to phase out.

Performance Management tools appears to be a focus.

Support is still going to be continued for the next three years.

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Google working with Panorama?

I stumbled across this article recently which talked of Google partnering with Panorama.

For those that don’t know, Panorama Software produces some great visual software in the area of Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) and Multidimensional Expressions (MDX). In the mid 90’s Microsoft bought Panorama Software’s OLAP server technology, which was subsequently implemented in Microsoft’s SQL Server Analysis/Reporting Services technology.

This is an interesting move. Having sold one of it’s key technologies to Microsoft, and with ProClarity being bought by Microsoft, I was wondering where this left Panorama. It really does produce some great products so it is good to see it is still alive and kicking.

You can actually use this technology now on Google spreadsheets. Here is the link. It’s still early days, but if more of the Panorama technology is implemented, Google spreadsheets could become a big player in the BI market.

SA410 e-learning

In between my client assignments, I’ve been working through the SA410 e-learning course.

To say that I am disappointed with it’s content is a massive understatement. These materials are expensive and I am finding that much of the material in this course is a repetition of the SA210 and SA310 courses. It has left me feeling that something is missing.

I’ve checked through the requirements for the exam, and I feel I have covered all aspects.  I can help but feel that I’ve been short changed by the SA410 e-learning course. Perhaps the classroom based course is different?

I’ll soon find out. I’m taking the SA410 exam later this week. I feel prepared, so hopefully I won’t get any surprises.

Business Objects support and maintenance costs

What often comes as a surprise to many clients is the yearly ongoing cost of Business Objects support. This normally comes in at 20% of the licence cost and provides access to Business Objects support.

Many clients question whether it is worth paying the yearly fee for support, particularly if they haven’t make use of it during the year. A number of clients have stated that they make use of the excellent and independent Business Objects forum, or if the problem is particularly tricky or time critical, call in a consultant as and when a problem arises.

What is often overlooked however, is that the yearly fee entitles you to free upgrades to the latest releases of their software. You can argue the case that your company is perfectly happy on the current release of the software. However, at some stage, Business Objects will stop supporting old versions of their software. There is also a case to be argued that you don’t want to be left behind with the latest features, or give your competitors a reporting advantage.

I personally would prefer it if Business Objects would split the support and maintenance fees and give their customers a choice. Those that want official Business Objects support, can elect to take it and pay the relevant fee. For those that don’t,  they are free to choose third party support or use the various forums. With regards to major releases, if the company feels that it gains value from a new release, then it can pay the relevant upgrade fee. This seems a lot fairer to me.

XI Feature Spotlight: Calendars

An incredibly useful feature in Business Objects XI is the Calendar object.

In the past, it has been quite difficult to schedule reports on very specific dates, e.g second and last Wednesday of the month, or excluding Bank Holidays, etc. To get around this is in the past, we either had to create some custom code or refresh the report daily and have an automated job delete the reports we don’t want. Very messy.

XI now provides us with calendars. Calendars are customized lists of dates that are created in the CMC. With this feature, we can create a custom calendar object which we can associate with a report when we schedule. Scheduling a report to refresh on the last Wednesday of every month, or excluding all Bank Holidays, is now a breeze and takes minutes instead of hours.

XI 3.0 released

It looks like Business Objects XI 3.0 has finally been released.

For those that have an ESD account, it should now be available for download.

The download is in three parts.

Admin guide is over 900 pages – Happy reading!

SABE310 in the bag

I passed SABE310 today! Thats the second of three towards the BOCP certification.

This exam required a lot of preparation on my part, as there was a lot of material to study. The exam consisted of 50 questions in multiple choice format. Slightly more time was allowed than the SABE210 exam.

For this particular exam, I am glad I took the e-learning course. It helped me a lot. Looking over the PDF guides, I think I would have struggled to get all the necessary information.

I’m now preparing for the final exam – SABE410.

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