in Service Packs, System Administration

What’s New in SAP BusinessObjects 4.1 SP1

The big news out of the ASUG BusinessObjects User Conference was that SAP BusinessObjects 4.1 SP1 was now available. We set up this release in our lab and checked out some of the new cool features that are included.

Web Intelligence Customization

My favorite new feature is the ability to customize the Web Intelligence viewer by user or group. This is as easy as right-clicking a group in the CMC and choosing Customization. You are then presented with a set of checkboxes representing the individual components that make up the Webi viewer. You can hide any or all of these components just by checking the box. Finally, you can get a very simple web based viewer for those users who just want to see their report without any extras.

System Configuration Wizard

One of the big pain points for administrators after migrating to BusinessObjects 4.0 was the need to tune your environment by splitting your Adaptive Processing Server. This was a new process that was unfamiliar to 3.x admins and wasn’t something that was clearly documented by SAP out of the gate. Because of complaints around this, SAP introduced the System Configuration Wizard in BOBJ 4.1. This tool automates the tuning steps through an easy-to-use wizard in the CMC. The tool is nice, but it will probably only get you 90% of the way there — those tuning steps are still essential to getting your 4.x environment humming.

Collaboration

SAP is really excited about its cloud-based collaboration tool SAP Jam that came with the acquisition of SuccessFactors at the end of 2011. In 4.1, we get to see how SAP is beginning to integrate Jam into its products. You can now link your BI environment directly to SAP Jam through the CMC. This allows users to do things like send or schedule reports to collaboration activities, monitor their Jam feeds from within the BI Launchpad, and post and view comments on reports.

Raylight SDK for Web Intelligence

SAP has been moving away from their traditional Java and .NET SDKs towards a platform-independent, web services based set of SDKs. The great part about these Web Services SDKs (or RESTful SDKs) is that they can be consumed by anything that can consume a web page. That includes Java and .NET but also a whole host of scripting languages like Python, Ruby, Javascript, Powershell, and more. In 4.1, SAP adds to their SDK offerings with the much expanded Raylight SDK for Web Intelligence. The feature set for Raylight is huge and the possibilities are endless when you combine this SDK with the scripting language of your choice. Raylight gives you the ability to easily do things like modifying Webi documents in bulk, automating tasks that would have been very tedious in the past.

Desktop Intelligence Compatibility

The report format that wouldn’t die returns to haunt in BusinessObjects 4.1… sort of.  The new release allows you to import your Deski reports from your old XIR2 or 3.x system into 4.1, where you can migrate them to Web Intelligence using the improved Report Conversion Tool.  However, you can’t view or schedule these documents in the traditional way — you’ll need the Desktop Intelligence 3.1 SP6 client which includes the Desktop Intelligence Compatibility Pack to do this.

UNV Support in Explorer

A source of some confusion for us was the inability to consume tradtional UNV universes in Explorer 4.0. This is something that was available in Explorer 3.1, and it returns in Explorer 4.1. You can now build Information Spaces on your classic UNV universes just as you did in the past.

For More Information

For more on what’s new in SAP BusinessObjects 4.1 Service Pack 1, check out the What’s New Guide on help.sap.com.

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