Will SAP BusinessObjects 4.2 SP4 change the rules of the game?

This week I had the pleasure of attending the ASUG BI conference 2016 in New Orleans, LA.  If you look close enough you can just about see me hanging out on the far end of the Protiviti booth.

While I spent, most of my time in the exhibit hall talking with fellow BI enthusiasts, I did have a chance to wonder over to the SAP Pods. One of the most interesting items that SAP was showcasing was the upcoming enhancements to Web Intelligence and the BI Launchpad in SAP BusinessObjects 4.2 SP4. For those that do not know, Web Intelligence will receive an alternative viewing  interface in 4.2 SP4. The interface is HTML 5 based and will be optimized for use with touchscreen, tables and even large display smartphones. The looks and feel was very reminiscent of SAP Lumira, Design Studio and most SAP UI5 / Fiori interfaces from SAP. Items such as input controls, page navigation, document navigation, sorting, filter were all updated and enhanced for touch-based navigation. Again, it an alternative viewing interface meaning that the current look and feel interfaces are also available in the legacy BI Launch Pad. With this in mind, it appears that the new WebI interface will only be available within the new “alternative” BI Launchpad. The new BI Launch Pad is reminiscent of many of the new Fiori Tile-based interfaces we see in SCN, SAP HANA and SAP Fiori applications. It too is an alternative BI Launch Pad meaning that the legacy launchpad is still available.

From my view point, I can attest that I was quite excited to see these enhancements. This modernization will likely make viewing WebI reports on touch screen enabled devices a delight. It also gives a more dashboard-esque look and feel when viewing WebI reports… An overall merger of Web Intelligence’s powerful reporting engine with a modern analytics html 5 interface. Hopefully SAP will publish more information about the changes with a demo soon. 4.2 SP4 is estimated to be available sometime in the first quarter of 2017 so we will not have to wait long.

How might this change the rules of the game?

If you look back at my blog posting from 2013 titled “There is still life for Web Intelligence in 2013” … http://wp.me/p2868w-9u you might get a better understanding of what I am about to conclude. If we can use the powerful reporting engine of WebI to access data and present users with an awesome ad-hoc dashboard like interface, wouldn’t Web Intelligence change the game for SAP?  Powerful, simple to use and modern… I can’t wait and I think users will absolutely love what they see.

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