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SAP has made a number of major acquisitions in 2007, significantly ramping up its BI potential. In a recent press statement, SAP claimed it was aiming to deliver "new, innovative offerings of enterprisewide business intelligence solutions along with embedded analytics in transactional applications."

Expertise and solutions from Business Objects would be complimentary to SAP offerings in categories including Governance, Risk and Compliance; business intelligence in the SAP platform; and corporate performance management capabilities.

Whilst SAP plans to let Business Objects operate as an independent company, whether the Business Objects portfolio can be fully integrated with SAP, Outlooksoft, Pilot and Cartesis remains to be seen.

This may add another layer of complexity to SAP's own BI capabilities and analytic applications, or by bringing together transactional/process management systems with BI and analytics may herald the dawn of a new breed of operational BI and analytic applications to manage corporate performance. A new breed of 'Smart Apps'.

Business Objects 2007 push into midmarket BI advanced with the release of the Premier edition of the 'Edge Series'. [formerly Crystal Decisions].

And just how will this complicate SAP's Duet partnership with Microsoft.

Given all the potential complications and the sheer scale of the SAP and Business Objects portfolios, remaining aloof at this stage probably makes sense.


SAP Strengths and Weaknesses


  • Over 13,000 deployments of NetWeaver BI.
  • SAP regarded as BI standard in SAP customers organizations.
  • SAP's BI Accelerator - leverages in-memory analytics and column-based vectoring, setting a higher benchmark for data scalability and performance.
  • Applications expertise and infrastructure reach - well positioned for operational BI wave towards pervasive BI.
  • Business Objects' formatted reporting and self-service report creation - addresses this weakness in SAP BI.
  • Combined, SAP and Business Objects will be by far the largest BI platform vendor


The major area of weakness for SAP is in its ability to execute, specifically:

  • Failure to meet needs - many SAP reference customers rate the latest version of SAP BI as significantly less functional and difficult to implement and fails to meet standard BI functional requirements, including ease of implementation.
  • Acquisition of Business Objects also impacts on SAP's ability to execute - created uncertainty for its customers as to the future of SAP's internally developed BI products and its ability to deliver promised integration.
  • Lack of large reference sites - using NetWeaver BI without a dominant SAP application and data bias. SAP must be able to support BI in non-SAP application-centric environments.


SAP BI Business Objects Market Updates

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