With a scheduled release of 2010, SAP (news, site) has finally announced the ramped-up version of its updated business intelligence (BI) and enterprise information management (EIM) solutions from the SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 portfolio.

The new BusinessObjects portfolio of products, which is in fact the best way to describe it, has a number of different solutions under the BusinessObjects 4.0 umbrella, including a new interface that standardizes its appearance across all applications.

It also offers social networking tools and the ability to derive information from unstructured content, more mobility and a number of new industry-specific analytics products.

SAP’s BusinessObjects

Surprisingly, this is the first time that BusinessObjects has been upgraded in the three years since SAP bought it, aiming to make it the leading vendor in a technology that was only emerging at the time.

However, a good deal of water has passed under the bridge since then with major releases like Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g and IBM’s recent release of Cognos 10, all of which come with much of the functionality that SAP is offering here.

That said, the new solutions offer an impressive list of improvements that will take users a considerable amount of time to digest, but can be summed up -- and has been summed up by SAP -- as focusing on: easy-to-use, real-time and optimized.

BI, EIM v4.0 Functionality

New functionality has been built across a common infrastructure with new social networking tools, in-memory computing, more support for mobile devices as well as a number of different deployment models that offer either on-premise or on-demand models, or a hybrid combination of the two.

As a result of the new common infrastructure, the 4.0 release of BI and EIM -- and the other solutions that have been upgraded in the SAPBusinessObjects 4.0 release -- means that the enterprise IT landscape is considerably less complex than it has been with previous BusinessObjects platforms.

The 4.0 release also provides easy integration with enterprise performance management (EPM) and GRC solutions from SAP to allow seamless visibility of performance and risk in business analytic scenarios.

As part of the general upgrade of SAP’s BI applications, a number of them have been subjected to a complete revamp. These include SAP Crystal Reports, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, SAP BusinessObjectsDashboards, SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence and SAP StreamWork.

Information products have also received considerable attention with SAP BusinessObjects Data Services and BusinessObjects Information Steward, both getting upgrades helping users with data integration and source monitoring.

New features of the 4.0 releases of BI and EIM solutions include:

  • Big data analysis with optimized in-memory computing based on SAP’s High Performance Analytic Appliance (HANA)
  • Mobile BI on any devices using Sybase Unwired Platform
  • Business impact analysis of specific events through Event Insight
  • Social Data analysis using a new semantic layer and common authoring technology

BusinessObjects v4.0 Upgrades

The BI and EIM upgrades, are only a part of a wider upgrade to the BusinessObject 4.0 release however. Other new upgrades include:

  • SAP BusinessObjects Data Services: Consolidates data sources, assesses its quality and integrates it into BI or application environment
  • SAP BusinessObjects Information Steward: Gives users the ability to analyze, monitor and rate data sources for completeness, accuracy and consistency
  • SAP BusinessObjects Event Insight: Understand business events impact as they apply throughout the business network

SAP has also said that in the ramp-up period it will be working with partners including companies like Accenture, Deloitte, HP and Logica to extend the power of business analytics to more organizations across different industries and lines of business, although this probably means making sure that, with the GA release, there is a ready and growing market for it.