Introduction to SAP Business Objects

Business Objects or BOBJ for short is a company that specialized in BI Solutions. Their products like Crystal Reports and Business Objects are some of the leading reporting and analysis solutions available currently. In 2007, this company was acquired by SAP AG, and henceforth it has been referred to as SAP Business Objects. The latest product in the line is called SAP Business Objects 4, or SAPBO4.

The previous versions from last to earlier would be BOXI3.1, BOXI3, BOXIr2, BO6.5 etc. For the purpose of we will start with BOXI3.1 Web Intelligence, which is still widely used. We will cover the differences between earlier versions and BOXI3.1 later. We will also cover SAPBO4 much later. But before we go into versions, we must know a few definitions.

What is Business Objects?

Business Objects is one of the leading reporting and anlysis suite available in the market at present. This suite consists of several front-end applications that help business users view, sort and analyse data for Business Intelligence. Some applications in the suite are Crystal Reports, Crystal Xcelsius, Business Objects Web Intelligence (WebI), Desktop Intelligence (DeskI), etc. We will be concentrating on WebI for the initial part, as a beginner to Business Objects.

Business Objects also consists of a semantic layer, called the Universe, which enables the business users to retrieve data effortlessly and without having to write a SQL query or such. The person who designs a universe needs to know the data and database well enough to be able to design a useful universe. These are developed usually by someone with technical knowledge. Once a good Universe is built, it makes it easy for the business users to create reports on top of this layer.

In the next session, we will cover the SAP Business Objects Enterprise architecture.

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