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7/14/2010
05:33 PM
Jim Rapoza
Jim Rapoza
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SAP Makes BI Easy(er)

Business intelligence tools are probably high on most people's list of complex applications. But a SaaS product from SAP tries to make BI a bit more usable.

Business intelligence tools are probably high on most people's list of complex applications. But a SaaS product from SAP tries to make BI a bit more usable.BIOnDemand was released by SAP earlier this year. It is essentially a web-based version of a simple but capable business intelligence tool that makes it possible to analyze and query data sets and build attractive visualizations and dashboards.

Recently I had the chance to put SAP Business Objects BI OnDemand through its paces and I found it to be a welcome addition to anyone's BI arsenal. It is especially ideal for doing quick reports and analysis of data without having to fire up a large BI product.

In many ways BIOnDemand is descended from the old online tools available from CrystalReports (which was acquired by SAP). But when it comes to the web-based interface and the graphical capabilities, BIOnDemand goes far beyond the older site.

When I launched the BIOnDemand site, I was presented with the option to load datasets for analysis. Data can be uploaded to the site in the form of XLS , XLSX or CSV. Once uploaded, I could start working on my data.

There's nothing in BIOnDemand that is particularly groundbreaking but I found it to be very useful, making it easy to quickly create reports and graphs that could be analyzed and manipulated in a variety of ways. I also found it to be fairly simple to use. A full-on BI novice would probably still be intimidated but anyone with a basic understanding of Excel and simple reporting tools will probably be able to handle BIOnDemand easily.

A free unlimited trial of BIOnDemand is available www.ondemand.com/businessintelligence/.

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