Business Objects 4.0 Migration Challenges

The migration challenges facing executives, platform managers, administrators, developers, report writers and BI technicians as they adopt SAP's BI 4.0 platform are considerable, but not overwhelming. It all comes down to project planning and preparation. Let's look at some of the most important Business Objects 4.0 migration challenges.

Major considerations include:

  • Project size
  • Project schedule
  • Project resources
  • System criticality
  • System security
  • Data integrity
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Personnel training

There are many good reasons for Business Objects 4.0 migration (PDF), including improved data access, usability and integration, but the most important reason is to embrace the future of business intelligence within your organization. Committing to best practices and a well managed migration will vastly increase the probability of realizing the benefits, reducing deployment costs, and improving return on investment.

The migration process will be long and challenging. Let's start with some best practices that will help you draw up a migration checklist.

BI 4.0 Migration Planning Best Practices

It's hard to over-estimate the importance of planning for your BI 4.0 migration. It is a truism for all project management professionals: the more detailed your planning upstream, the better you will be able to deal with contingencies downstream, and the closer you will get to completing your project on schedule and on budget while delivering maximum benefit to your organization.

As you address your Business Objects 4.0 migration challenges, think first about the evolution of BI within your organization. Can you remember a time when a small handful of administrators pushed out a set of simple reports to a set group of executives and managers? If your experience is similar to that of most BI practitioners, you have seen the size and complexity of your BI deployment grow rapidly along with its impact within your organization, and the expectations of your information consumers.

Your BI deployment is a living system. It needs to be ready for new demands, and you need to be ready to meet those demands through efficient, streamlined, and automated processes and best practices.

These growth factors need to be addressed when you consider:

  • Project size — Is BI 4.0 migration manageable as a single all-encompassing project? Or do we need to break it down by function, business unit, or some other classification? Do we need to migrate all reports and instances? Or can we be selective while still complying with the letter and spirit of regulatory compliance, and the needs of our information consumers? What tools do we have that can help us inventory our system and understand the magnitude of this project?
  • Project schedule — What are the hard deadlines for each task on the schedule? Are the SDKs available for custom features required by your deployment?
  • Project resources — Are the personnel (universe designers, report designers, administrators, testers) available and committed to the project schedule? Will we require new or additional hardware to accommodate increased processing requirements and 64-bit architectural advances?
  • One-time tasks Your project plan will include a number of one-time tasks that are labor- and time-intensive, and potentially highly prone to human error. Examples: UNV to UNX conversion, Web Intelligence report repointing, Crystal Report conversion, Desktop Intelligence report scheduling, publishing and migration. Are there ways to automate and simplify these tasks so that they don't extend your project schedule and rob you of resources you might better invest elsewhere? See BI 4.0 Upgrade Resources for suggestions on how you can manage these tasks.

BI 4.0 Migration Preparation Best Practices

Well managed migration starts with well managed BI. If you're one of those people who sees every challenge as an opportunity, then you'll feel right at home taking on Business Objects 4.0 migration challenges. Migration gives you the opportunity to clean up your system, improve business processes, and streamline platform management.

Some checklist considerations:

  • System criticality — Will there be down time? Will you be required to migrate to a fully functional BI platform overnight or over a weekend? What is the best timeframe for migration? Full-system or staged migration? Will you run the old and new systems in parallel?
  • System security — How will you account for security changes in BI 4.0? What security structures are currently in place? What changes are required moving forward?
  • Data integrity — How will you decide what to migrate? What elements of your current deployment are unused? Do you need all document instances migrated, or can you simplify with an archive strategy? Do you need to migrate all Universes, or can you undertake consolidation? Will you be able to restore or roll back the entire system if necessary?
  • Regulatory compliance — Will you have secure and ready access to all of the document instances required by regulatory bodies? How will you address regulatory requirements for the separation of development, QA, and production environments?

Business Objects 4.0 Training Best Practices

The success of any business system deployment is highly dependent on non-IT factors. You need buy-in from the executive level down to the trenches. Nobody likes change purely for the sake of change. Success depends on how well you counter resistance, and education is your best weapon.

There are many great benefits to go along with your Business Objects 4.0 migration challenges, and you can communicate those benefits in a concrete manner through the training you provide.
Some checklist considerations:

  • Administrators — What will you do to improve administrators' experience of the BI 4.0 platform? Are you using migration as an opportunity for new business process management initiatives? Are you establishing administration best practices? Are you streamlining Business Objects 4.0, implementing new efficiencies in BI processes?
  • Report & Universe designers — Do they understand the differences in Universes and Crystal Reports in BI 4.0, both on the conceptual and process levels?
  • Line-of-business power users — Do they understand changes to the interface? Are they ready to give up DeskIs?

Business Objects 4.0 Migration and APOS Well Managed BI Solutions

APOS well managed BI solutions can be of invaluable assistance to you as you plan and prepare for your Business Objects 4.0 migration. The 64-bit architecture of APOS solutions means they will continue to serve your drive to maintain well managed BI after your BI 4.0 migration is complete.

All APOS solutions present a small footprint, and thus have a minimal impact on your existing hardware, software and human resources, while enhancing your ability to make timely and accurate decisions.

Learn more about:

  • APOS Administrator—Simplify and automate BI 4.0 administrative tasks. Delete old users. Set up new scheduling in bulk operations. Manage your schedules in a single place. Reduce human error, automate repetitive tasks, react quickly and decisively to crises. Manage and promote objects rapidly in high volume.
  • APOS Insight Attain maximum BI 4.0 system visibility. Inventory your system. Manage users and groups. View snapshots of system usage. Perform report impact analysis. Manage user licenses.
  • APOS IDAC Manage DB connectivity centrally. React to and manage long-running or “runaway” queries.  Know all of the SQL that is being passed to the database – even from ad-hoc queries.
  • APOS Storage Center — Manage data integrity. Create a long-term data storage, backup, archive & selective restore strategy. Meet content regulatory requirements.
  • APOS Publisher — Execute tightly controlled document production, publishing and distribution workflows.
  • APOS BI 4.0 Upgrade Resources — Simplify and automate time-intensive, labor-intensive, and one-time tasks such as UNV to UNX conversion, Crystal Report conversion, Web Intelligence repointing, and Desktop Intelligence scheduling, publishing and migration.

APOS solution consultants have been working with BI 4.0, SAP Business Objects XI, and their many precursors for over 15 years. Talk to us about your Business Objects 4.0 migration challenges.

BI 4.0 Migration Resources

Why Migrate to
Business Objects 4.0?

You need not only a clear migration path, but also a clear reason to migrate. SAP's Best Practice Guide lists a number of justifications, including:

  • Data access: better integration with SAP BW, a new dimensional semantic layer, and multi-source, dimensional/relational universes;
  • Usability / Productivity: harmonized user experience across the suite, interoperability, advanced analytical insight, and new search capabilities; and
  • Cost of Ownership: integrated platform monitoring, advanced auditing capabilities, supportability and root-cause analysis, and 64-bit server architecture.

These are all attractive features, and SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 represents a significant advance in the field of business intelligence, but you will have to perform your own due diligence to make a judgement as to whether the benefits of migration (and particularly early adoption) outweigh the pains. In the final analysis, it will come down to your current and future needs analysis.