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The Cutting Edge of BI Solutions

Phil Gevaux

A few years back, it felt like SAP was largely neglecting the small to medium size enterprise market.  I was a customer of SAP at this time and although a fan of the solution (ex-Business Objects myself), I felt unsupported due to the size of my budgets.  The full Business Objects Enterprise suite appeared to be the only true way to deploy Business Objects reporting in a business, and as such, was unrealistic for most companies.  This led to the success of cost-effective alternatives that weren’t as capable, but offered a vast improvement of what most companies were running in the way of Business Intelligence solutions; mainly Microsoft Excel or Access.


As a BI consultancy and SAP Partner, we struggled to make this market work, and then starting focusing solely on supplying consultancy services within large Business Objects implementations. Fast forward to this time last year when we discovered SAP investing heavily in a version of the enterprise suite targeted directly at the SME market; a solution that is as capable as the full suite, but with a limitation on capacity.  All of a sudden, things start to get interesting.  As a team largely made up of ex-Business Objects personnel from ten years ago with skills and knowledge in the toolset flowing through our veins, we have a whole new market to transform.


SAP Business Objects Edge edition makes so much sense as a platform for any small to medium sized company wanting to adopt modern Business Intelligence practices.  You get a lot of BI for your money with SAP recently adding more to the package:

  • The SAP Business Objects Platform, which includes world-class security, authentication integration, automation of report schedules, report bursting, auditing of usage, access to pretty much any data source available, and more
  • Web Intelligence, which we still see as the industry standard business reporting tool.  SAP have consistently improved Webi and made it do amazing things on mobile devices.
  • Lumira, which has recently been included in the Edge edition, is fast becoming the data visualisation tool of choice due to slick data visualisations and ease of use.
  • Analysis for OLAP, allowing deep and fast interrogation of OLAP cubes.
  • Mobile BI.  Support for accessing the BI platform from iPad, iPhone and Android.  You can download the SAP BI app for free from the App Store and test the sample content, which I highly recommend.  Imagine seeing your business data in the form of a scorecard or mini dashboard whilst on the train to work.
  • Explorer, which is a powerful data discovery tool, making it easy to drag and drop data objects to build queries on the fly.  Great for analysts who want to get answers to their own questions quickly.
  • Dashboards (formally Xcelsius) and Design Studio.  Both dashboard tools geared towards building powerful BI apps.

Edge also comes in different versions: Standard (the list of tools above) and Analytics (everything in the Standard version plus the Data Services tools for ETL and data cleansing).  All versions are limited to a single server, however there are no limitations to the hardware specs.

The licensing options are for named users (sold in packs of 1) and/or concurrent users (sold in packs of 5).  For example, we recently supplied a company with a potential 120 Business Objects users with 20 named users and 10 concurrent users.  This has worked well for them, being able to cover their priority user base (executive team, report developers etc) and provide bandwidth for the remaining user base on a first come, first served basis.


To summarise, the Edge edition of Business Objects has opened up a whole new world for any company to harness the power of world-class BI tools at a great price.

SAP Business Objects Edge is only available via authorised SAP Partners.  Please contact me for more information:



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