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10/13/2010
04:55 PM
Cindi Howson
Cindi Howson
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SAP BusinessObjects Announces 4.0 at ASUG

Last week I attended the ASUG (America's SAP User Group) Business Objects user conference in Orlando, where SAP announced BusinessObjects 4.0. While SAP had briefed me late last year under NDA, the ASUG conference marked the worldwide customer preview of the company's next-generation business intelligence capabilities.

Last week I attended the ASUG (America's SAP User Group) Business Objects user conference in Orlando, where SAP announced BusinessObjects 4.0. While SAP had briefed me late last year under NDA, the ASUG conference marked the worldwide customer preview of the company's next-generation business intelligence capabilities.Many of the enhancements are long-awaited, in particular data federation at the "universe" level (renamed business layer in 4.0). Xcelsius customers will love direct connectivity to a universe, no longer having to design dashboards in Excel or deal with Query as a Web Service.

The company has been smart to support dual universe versions via the new platform, making the upgrade more of a transition than a sudden switch over. However, that BusinessObjects 4.0 will only run on 64-bit means customers need to plan ahead for server upgrades. While the industry has been moving to 64-bit platforms for greater scalability, few customers currently claim it as a standard.

The new release expects to go into "ramp up" (release quality but only available to a few customers) this fall with general availability in the first half of next year.

I couldn't help but feel a sense of nostalgia at this event as this was the new face of what once was known as the Business Objects User Conference, a meeting I first attended in 1994. When SAP acquired Business Objects in 2008, it acquired a customer base that had self- initiated, local user groups. It also had one of the most thorough, user-run forums: BOB. Users actively supported each other, for free. ASUG, on the other hand, was customer-run but charged its members an annual membership fee.

Business Objects customers griped that that's what they pay the vendor support fees for. Meanwhile, SAP BusinessObjects said its user conference would be folded into Sapphire. But this left some long-time non SAP ERP, Business Objects customers somewhat lost in the shuffle.

ASUG has gradually been transitioning the independent user groups, BOB, and the user-driven conference. Wanting to make this transition to ASUG successful, ASUG has made membership for SAP Business Objects customers free through next year.

As this was the first time I attended the ASUG version of the conference, I was impressed. The quality of the customer presentations was excellent. Pepsi talked about the challenges of a 26,000 user deployment. Long-time BOB leader Dave Rathbun was rightfully presented a service award. But in New York/ New Jersey, longtime BONYMAUG leader Chris Sieverts seemed to move on all too quietly. Numerous ASUG Influence sessions gave customers a stronger voice for what they want in future product versions.

BI Scorecard customers can access more details on Business Objects 4.0 in an upcoming report.

Regards, Cindi Howson, BI ScorecardLast week I attended the ASUG (America's SAP User Group) Business Objects user conference in Orlando, where SAP announced BusinessObjects 4.0. While SAP had briefed me late last year under NDA, the ASUG conference marked the worldwide customer preview of the company's next-generation business intelligence capabilities.

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