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Business Information Systems used with SAP

Anita Huffman's Profile

Has anyone recently implemented a BI system to work directly with SAP R/3?  If so, what product are you using and what has your experience been?  We are currently evaluating Emanio Context, Host Analytics, and Qlikview.  Are there others we should consider?

Answers

Dan Ryan
Title: CFO
Company: Privately held
(CFO, Privately held) |

I am sure you looked at them, but left off your list: Business Objects. BO is the top (I believe they're still #1) BI platform extant, and SAP bought them some time back. I used BO on R3 for analyzing high volume user data. It worked, but at the time they were not one company and not integrated out-of-the-box so we had to do a custom installation which ended up being over budget and longer than expected. No surprise given the amount of data we were harnessing and the ever-changing needs coming from our analysis group and marketing dept.

In addition, the finance person in me always wanted BO to work like a spreadsheet, only with fewer size restrictions, and it's a long way from that. This is not unique to Business Objects, all BI tools fall way short on that promise (at least all that we tried and we hit the top 4 solutions in our buying process). In the end it worked and worked well enough. The users still wanted a)easier and b)faster, but it gets the job done.

Sorry I can't speak to your other platforms noted above.

Kevin Kelso
Title: Controller
Company: The Arc of Delaware
(Controller, The Arc of Delaware) |

Business Objects can be a very powerful tool in conjunction with SAP. When deploying any software, to maximize its efficiency, you have to invest in subject matter experts that can build the reporting or train your finance & accounting staff to customize the type of reporting that you are after. I found BO particularly useful as a Controller for analyzing consolidated results of more than a dozen subsidiary companies (in foreign & domestic currencies). The Investment Bank I worked for also used it to create their public financial reports. BO has many report writing capabilities that can be utilized for multiple purposes. From an IT perspective, the only limit is how often you need to synchronize the data feeds from SAP. While SAP is realtime, BO lags (overnight batch processing) unless you instruct your IT staff to run it again mid-day. However, it does have that capability which is especially useful when dealing with multiple overseas or even domestic locations. We regularly imported data to Excel from BO and established templates in BO to grab the data at the detailed level that we wanted. It also has the ability to e-mail customized reports to your internal audience at set-times and dates. If you go with BO, I highly recommend paying a 3rd party BO expert to create templates, train your staff and help your maximize the efficiency of the software.

Andy Walz
Title: Account Executive
Company: Tail Wind Informatics
(Account Executive, Tail Wind Informatics) |

You may already own all of the licenses necessary for a SharePoint / PerformancePoint solution.

Dan Everett
Title: Director of Marketing
Company: SAP
(Director of Marketing, SAP) |

Host Analytics is mostly a budgeting and planning vendor.
And QlikTech is a light reporting and dashboard vendor.
I don't know about Emanio.
Given that these are different capabilities, I think it would be helpful to understand what business problem you are trying to address?

Are primarily looking at planning and some variance analysis?
Are you looking for consolidation and financial reporting?
QlikTech is not a good option for either one of these use cases.

As mentioned above SAP BusinessObjects has both BI and budgeting/planning solutions. The BI solution now has some pre-built reports and dashboards.
Regards,
Dan

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