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June 14, 2011
SAP AG has announced a series of updates to its small and midsize enterprise (SME) business analytics (BI) offerings, in the form of SAP Crystal Server 2011 and SAP BusinessObjects Edge 4.0. The former has been renamed from SAP Crystal Reports to emphasize a new focus on entry-level data search and exploration. And the latter adds key mobility options and other user-friendly enhancements to SAP’s SME BI play. Here’s the scoop on SAP’s alphabet soup.
SAP Crystal Server 2011 is designed to be an entry-level solution, it’s true, but Jayne Landry, vice president, Solution Management for SAP Business Analytics and Technology said it’s less about dropping functionality and more about diminishing scale. It carries basic report and dashboard viewing, Microsoft Office integration and other basics. But new to the renamed Crystal Server is SAP’s vaunted “Exploration” functionality, which enables end users to ask questions (example: “How many units sold in New York?”) in plain English and receive visual results.
Meanwhile, SAP BusinessObjects Edge 4.0 adds quick visibility into both structured data and unstructured data — namely, information from social media, including reports on, say, which users talk about your company on Facebook or Twitter the most. Moreover, those mobility options will include Apple iOS 5 support, Landry said.
BusinessObjects Edge 4.0 will come in four tiers. In order: Standard Edition, With Data Integration, With Data Management and SAP BusinessObjects BI/EIM 4.0. Each has all the features of the one before it. Of the new features, Standard Edition gains those mobility options for the first time, and With Data Management gets “event insight” features and text data analysis.
Landry said one of SAP’s goals with this release is to help grow with a business, making all data, settings and reports portable from SAP Crystal Server 2011 all the way up to the highest-end version of BusinessObjects Edge BI. As need grows, Landry said, SAP wants its customers to move up the ladder.
Mindy Fiorentino, vice president of Business Analytics for SME Marketing at SAP, said a major goal of this release is to help SAP’s partners build out their SME business. As such, she noted early versions of this release have been in testing with select VARs and their customers since late 2010, and the product has benefited from their feedback.
If that sounds good to you, both SAP Crystal Server 2011 and SAP BusinessObjects Edge 4.0 will be available to resellers and customers alike in Q3 2011. And stay tuned to The VAR Guy in the meantime for updates.
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