SAP BusinessObjects 4.2: Less is More

What the Tools Do and Which is Right for You

With the latest version of BusinessObjects 4.2, there have been great changes in the analysis tool choice.
Luckily the tool of choice has been greatly simplified without compromising functionality, reducing 14
components to only four, making the decisions a whole lot easier. Still, it can be confusing, with
overlapping functionality, choosing the right tool for the job at hand is essential to ensure no time is
wasted, frustration is avoided and, most importantly, you get the answers you need.


With SAP Lumira, it is all about data visualization and combining these visualizations into meaningful and consumable storyboards. Data can be utilized from both SAP (BW, HANA, SAP Universe) and non-SAP (SQL, Clipboard, Excel, and CSV) sources. This gives the analyst extra flexibility to load their own data from local sources and merge disparate data sets without the need for IT involvement.

Lumira 2.0 has two client tools: SAP Lumira Designer and SAP Lumira Discovery. These new tools have evolved from SAP Design Studio and SAP BusinessObjects Lumira, respectively.

The biggest advantage to this evolution is that we have gone from two independent, non-collaborative tools and moved into a rich world of creative sharing. This interoperability allows creations made in Discovery to be shared with Designer, and vice-versa, although with less functionality. Full Interoperability will be coming soon.   So, what client tool should you use? Simply put, Designer is for the professional designer, Discovery is for the business analyst or casual user.

Web Intelligence

Two reasons to select Web Intelligence are that it is great for ad-hoc self-service reporting needs and it is (as the name suggests) a web-based tool. There is no need for client tools, so it can be used from any device, anywhere, using any data source.

WebI is all about self-service analysis and is intended to be used by the business user or data analyst. Because of its interactive and easy-to-use interface, you can quickly gain business insights by uncovering and understanding trends and root.

And it gets better. WebI can work on top of a business layer developed for you, there is no need for technical jargon, you can access your data with business terminology that you understand. Change layouts, add calculations and insert formulas to name a few processes with self-service information retrieval and interactive, ad hoc analysis.

You can also access your data and report offline (when the report is saved with data), so you can always continue your analysis even if you are not connected. Now, this tool is designed for the ad hoc analyst. It is not intended to produce pixel-perfect looking reports. For that, we need to move to the next tool, if you would like to read more about Web Intelligence, check out our blog.

SAP Crystal Reports

Crystal Reports’ big advantage over WebI is its ability to generate pixel-perfect reports that are more suited to printed formats. You have precise control over where objects are placed in a report, and formula-based control of formatting provides you with the ability to create advanced report layouts that are richly formatted and interactive.

With the ability to connect with virtually any data source and to produce output in many formats, this is a particularly versatile reporting tool.

From the simple report to the complex, you can design your reports using wizards to help guide you through the process. The end result? Interactive reports that provide you with the information you need to make your business decisions. And it is available on or offline (if the report is saved with data) to provide thorough and detailed analysis.

So whether you need to send invoices to your customers, or generate sales reports for financial reporting, Crystal Reports will produce a perfect result every time.

SAP Analysis

For the analysis of your multi-dimensional dataset using Excel and Powerpoint, you need to use SAP Analysis. By connecting Excel to your HANA or BW dataset, you can create charts and tables from your data, and filter and identify trends using a tool you know well. When you are happy with the results and want to share your findings with your team, you can insert your charts and tables into a Powerpoint presentation. There is no need to wait for IT to upload your data. You can just connect and start analyzing immediately. You can also connect directly from Powerpoint to your dataset, although this will have limited data manipulation functionality.

To Summarize

Lumira is for data visualization and storyboards and can be used by the experienced developer (Designer) for more complex experiences or by the business user for data analysis. Web Intelligence is an ad-hoc reporting tool that allows a user fast access to data discovery. Crystal Reports is the way to go if you want highly formatted reports that can range from the simplistic to highly complex. Finally, SAP Analysis is used when you want to connect directly to your Excel data with the added advantage of being able to present your findings via PowerPoint.

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About the Author:

Jenny has 20 years experience in the Business Intelligence industry, managing projects in finance, utilities, manufacturing, telecommunications, and insurance. When she’s not "enjoying" jogging, she is running around after her children, dogs, and cats. She can be reached at