Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A Brief History of SAP BI & Analytics Publishing - From APOS InfoScheduler to APOS Publisher for Cloud

APOS has been developing and honing bursting, distribution, and scheduling capabilities for SAP BI & Analytics solutions (and their precursors) for over twenty years.

1999 - APOS InfoScheduler
In 1999 with APOS InfoScheduler, which provided easy-to-use bulk scheduling capabilities for SAP BusinessObjects. Its familiar UI, based on Microsoft Excel, and its bulk scheduling management capabilities, made it a popular addition to our suite of products then, and it continues to be so now.

2002 - APOS Distribution Server
In 2002, we introduced APOS Distribution Server to expand BI distribution options with enhanced destination types, enhanced encryption and security, a greater variety of formats, and enhanced print controls. The solution brought advanced information distribution governance to SAP BusinessObjects, helping administrators ensure information can be consumed by the appropriate stakeholders, and only by the appropriate stakeholders.

2004 - APOS Bursting Manager
APOS Bursting Manager arrived in 2004, a fully automated, data-driven solution for creation and sending of personalized reports. Bursting Manager's bursting definitions opened up great new publishing possibilities within SAP BusinessObjects, including slicing information using parameters and prompts, generating highly flexible and customizable documents.

2006 - APOS Report Package Booster
In 2006, we released APOS Report Package Booster to provide BI report consolidation. It provided the ability to consolidate all of the information that specific users needed from multiple reports into a single package for easy delivery and consumption. It greatly simplified both the management of reports and their use by information consumers.

2010 - APOS Publisher
In 2010, we introduced APOS Publisher, which unified scheduling, bursting, consolidation, and distribution functionality into a single solution. The unification of these capabilities into a single solution allowed us to add deep, comprehensive statement generation capabilities in 2011.

2015 - BI Launchpad Integration
Throughout the development of APOS scheduling, bursting, consolidation and distribution capabilities, we have worked closely with SAP to plan and execute ongoing advancements in functionality, integration, and SAP BusinessObjects content version support. This relationship was validated in 2015 when SAP integrated APOS Distribution Server functionality into the SAP BI Launchpad, so that customers with an APOS Distribution Server license could access its capabilities from directly within the scheduling interface of BI Launchpad. This powerful integration continues today in the new Fiori interface of SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3

2018 - APOS Publisher for Cloud
In 2018, we released APOS Publisher for Cloud. to meet the publishing needs of organizations embracing SAP Analytics Cloud. With Publisher for Cloud, we aren't simply starting the support cycle over with just a renovated platform. We are bringing over 20 years of BI publishing experience to a fully new platform, providing automated processes for bursting personalized SAP Analytics Cloud stories and analytic applications to information consumers, using security-driven processes with strict filters to ensure users receive only the data to which they are entitled. Along with the core bursting capabilities, APOS Publisher for Cloud delivers a range of compelling capabilities to meet unique publishing requirements.

2019 – Hybrid BI Publisher
Many organization find themselves in an environment where both SAP BusinessObjects and SAP Analytics Cloud are deployed. Both systems deliver important content, and often have a shared user base that wants to have content from both systems published to them to address associated business questions. In 2019, we provisioned APOS Publisher and APOS Publisher for Cloud to allow report content from both systems to be burst and consolidated into a single document. This means information consumers are receiving unified content to simplify their decision making, and duplicate bursting and distribution processes are eliminated to make it easier for the BI team to manage the remaining processes.

The SAP Partner Ecosphere
SAP has always provided great core functionality with regard to BI & Analytics, and good basic functionality with regard to functions such as administration and publishing, but it has always fallen to the SAP Partner Ecosphere to provide solutions for the specialized requirements that many, if not most, SAP BI & Analytics customers have. Like all major software vendors, SAP cannot satisfy every functionality request, particularly for needs outside of their products' core mandate. This is where a strong partner network engages to deliver highly focused solutions which are designed to meet unique and often complex needs that unfold in customer scenarios. The SAP App Center is evidence that the SAP Partner Ecosphere is alive and thriving. You can find APOS Well Managed BI & Analytics Solutions there, as well as solutions from our competitors.

APOS Publisher Use Case - Harvey-Norman
Here's a case in point: When the Australian retail giant Harvey-Norman had a "burning platform" issue with their SAP BusinessObjects report distribution capabilities, they consulted APOS upon SAP's recommendation. The APOS Distribution Server solution had all the capabilities they required, but one of Harvey-Norman's "show stopper" requirements was that these capabilities be integrated with their SAP BI platform. SAP and APOS worked together to make that integration happen, and beginning in SAP BI 4.2, APOS Distribution Server became available within the SAP BI Launchpad's scheduling interface. Both SAP and APOS regarded this integration as not only a success story for the customer, but for the SAP Partner Ecosphere as well.

Your information is only as good as your ability to provide it to those who need to act on it.  Publishing is much more than just scheduling.  Publishing extends to getting personalized information securely delivered to a range of users in the location, format and focus that is most meaningful for them to be most productive. Each organization will have their own distinct publishing requirements, and this prompts the need for both power and flexibility in a publishing solution.

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