In the first two parts of his guest column, veteran SAP guru Naeem Hashmi discussed the good aspects and the bad aspects about SAP’s recently announced acquisition of Business Objects. So how does all this wash for real-life users? Should your regular, midsize SAP shop be giddy, concerned or indifferent? Here’s Hashmi’s concluding remarks:
In my opinion, the BO acquisition is good news for SAP customers. This is especially true for the small and midsize segment, which SAP needs to penetrate hard. I also see this move being helpful for some large enterprises as well , as it has potential to complement their BI needs.
As you read the previous parts, you will note that most of the bad news are related to short term issues. The main sticking points were positioning and integration. SAP need to simply bring in BO as part of one single BI umbrella – as SAP BI. Not product -specific BI solutions such as NetWeaver BI or SAP BW or OutlookSoft or Business Objects… Just SAP BI. And as products come and go, you don’t end up changing BI solutions and thus distracting or confusing customers.
A few people I spoke to at TechEd also raised concern that the SAP NetWeaver BI solution is in effect dead now… But remember, the BO-based BI solution still needs data from the SAP Enterprise back-end. You can’t draw fancy charts/graphs without real data.
As most of you probably know, about 60% of BI time is spent for data acquisition alone. SAP has done an excellent job in providing data acquisition schemes for its customers within its BI solution. Also note that the SAP BI solution is engineered to provide intelligence (analytics) within the process scope and not from outside-in, which traditional BI solutions do.
The problem with the current SAP BI solution is that initially, SAP consultants spoke of BI in terms of ‘transactional’ language instead of ‘business intelligence’ language that customers were familiar with. It was a great technical model, but its value was ‘lost in translation‘ to the BI users. Now the cross-pollination of BO and SAP will be great news for SAP customers and the BO presence will actually enhance present-day SAP BI — not end it.
Bottom line: Odds are it’ll be a bumpy ride in the short term, but for the long haul, this is good news. Do you agree with Hashmi’s assessment? Will SAP pull off the BO acquisition and use it to finally crack the small and midsize BI challenge, or is the risk of derailing the assimilation process too great?