In an effort to address the issues that have popped up with SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 and to introduce new functionality faster, SAP is releasing Feature Pack 3 in mid-2012. This takes the place of what had been called SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1.
At the 2011 SAP BusinessObjects User Group Conference, Blair Wheadon, director of solution management at SAP, discussed the new Feature Pack 3, which falls between Support Pack 2 and Support Pack 4. Feature Pack 3 will contain what would have been in Support Pack 3 as well as the new features that were planned in SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1. Confused yet?
Although subject to change, SAP plans to deliver the following with Feature Pack 3:
- Improved integration with SAP NetWeaver BW and the SAP Business Suite. Dashboards (Xcelsius) will be able to access SAP NetWeaver BW directly via Business Intelligence Consumer Service (BICS).
- Web Intelligence will receive improved SAP NetWeaver BW support and chart functionality (color assignment and expand/collapse functionality). Also, users will be able to export reports as .TXT files.
- SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards will include improved tree views with visualizations of hierarchies and report-report interface (RRI) support to invoke SAP Business Suite applications.
- Crystal Reports for enterprise will have direct to data support, improved SAP NetWeaver BW support as well as a report repository available on the Web. In addition, three new chart types will be available: tree map, tag cloud and box plot.
- Updates for SAP BusinessObjects Explorer. This release introduces “exploration views,” which allows users (including business users) to create panels of analytics (boxes focusing on a given analytic) that they can move around the work area in Explorer to better view the data. In addition, Explorer will now support time and geospatial dimensions. In addition, users of the iPad version of Explorer will be able to access and work with the data offline.
- Universe access to SAP ERP in the form of InfoSets, SAP queries and ABAP functions.
- Ability to collaborate with SAP StreamWork. Users will be able to send BI documents directly from the BI LaunchPad to StreamWork for feedback and collaboration.
- Expanded mobile capabilities. Feature Pack will expand support to the BlackBerry Playbook and Android devices, while depreciating support for Symbian and Windows Mobile.
- Improved content search. Along with introducing deep indexing for Crystal Reports enterprise, Dashboards (Xcelsius) and BI Workspaces, search relevance will be improved with time (date ranges) and history options available.
- Added in-memory features. With Feature Pack 3, companies can use SAP HANA as a central management server (CMS) and auditing database. In addition, users will have single sign-on as well as analytic and calculation views available.