On-Demand Software for BI Beginners

Ample space for BI data: 5GB in the cloud (screenshot: SAP)
Ample space for BI data: 5GB in the cloud (screenshot: SAP)

SAP is making it even easier to get started in business intelligence: With SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand, the company is bringing to market rentable software based on SAP BusinessObjects Explorer. The solution offers many of the same advantages as the software at its foundation, including access to easily understandable business intelligence for those who have little or no previous experience with analytical tools (click here for a detailed article on SAP BusinessObjects Explorer). However, instead of pulling data from the memory of an SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse Accelerator system, SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand stores its information in the SAP cloud.

Customers can select a price model that offers the amount of data storage they need. While the free Personal Edition (available at www.ondemand.com) includes a fairly limited 10 megabytes and 2,000 data rows, those who opt for Essential Edition will have two gigabytes at their disposal.

Advanced Edition, meanwhile, provides more space (five gigabytes), more security features, a development environment, and the option of integrating locally stored data. Additional functions such as single sign-on are to be added later this year. SAP has also indicated that the cost of the software will be in line with “other popular SaaS solutions.”

Next page: Initially only in English

An open interface offers easy integration of Salesforce data (screenshot: Benjamin Blaume)
An open interface offers easy integration of Salesforce data (screenshot: Benjamin Blaume)

Initially only in English

SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand will initially only be available in English, with German, French, Spanish, and Japanese planned for Q2 2010. Currently, all customer data is stored on servers in the United States.

To comply with data protection provisions and country-specific laws, SAP intends to set up servers to run the on-demand software in other countries in the future. When and where this will occur has not yet been determined. (For more information on the legal status of the cloud, check out the article “Getting Granular on Cloud Computing.”)

Open interfaces to Salesforce, other providers

SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand is highly accommodating, supporting data from all of SAP’s offerings for small businesses and midsize companies (SAP Business ByDesign, SAP Business One, and SAP Business All-in-One) and interaction with SAP BusinessObjects software for customer relationship management .

In addition, the solution can both import data from Salesforce.com and be integrated into Salesforce applications.