MUFI Rating & Risk – SAP Business Objects
MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability
Vendor: SAP (Select For Vendor Profile)
SAP with SAP BI, SAP Crystal Reports and SAP Business Objects is the largest BI vendor in the world. However, this leadership position is not based upon SAP’s product quality. Business Objects as an independent company was making good headway against SAP BI/BW, and the acquisition was driven by a desire to remove a competitor in the landscape and never had any strategic or “synergistic” reason beyond this. While there were a great number of promises made by SAP regarding what it would do with Business Objects, customers of Business Objects are worse off in every way since the acquisition. However, SAP continues to use the name recognition of Business Objects throughout much of its product line, including attempting to shore up very weak applications – such as the SAP PLM “application” that we cover in our PLM application section.
Business Objects is a once proud application that has fallen on hard times since being acquired by SAP. Business Objects used to have the very strong word of mouth among users, however, SAP’s lack of development combined with letting the bottom drop out of service, means that SAP Business Objects is now below average in buyer satisfaction. In fact, the reducing in buyer satisfaction is one of the most severe declines that we have recorded, and it all began when Business Objects was acquired by SAP. So all of the journalists that thought the acquisition of Business Objects was going to be so great for customers have some apologizing to do. Furthermore, Business Objects has had complexity creep, and this has reduced the usability and functionality of the application. Overall, a purchase of Business Objects pre-2007 SAP acquisition is an entirely different picture than a purchase of Business Objects today.
Business Objects is a flexible but difficult to use and high maintenance solution that every year looks further and further behind the competition. Along with the other large acquired BI vendors like Oracle BI and IBM Cognos, Business Objects that have received little investment since their joint 2008 acquisitions, Business Objects is on the wrong side of the self-service continuum.
SAP Business Objects has a reasonably efficient data builder.
It allows many data elements to be brought together quickly.
Much of the hope for Business Objects hinges on many promises that SAP has made to move applications to Hana, but we are skeptical that this will improve Business Objects or any other SAP application as much as SAP is touting. SAP has a marketing strategy of proposing something new and different every few years to keep companies from focusing on what they are currently offering. It is a distinct and observable strategy, and we are one of the very few media sources that write on it. The last major concept was NetWeaver, which did not change or improve anything concerning SAP or its capabilities. Buyers should not accept the excuse that poor performance in SAP applications will be fixed by the magic bullet of Hana – although this is what SAP is shooting for.
Beyond ever doing anything with Hana, SAP cannot seem to address persistent performance issues with Business Objects. Of all the BI applications that we cover Business Objects seems to be one of the least efficient regarding how it addresses hardware resources.
SAP has not added significantly to Business Objects, a software vendor it purchased in 2008. As such, SAP Business Objects it has an old design, performance issues. The Business Objects acquisition was one of the most mismanaged acquisitions we have ever analyzed. There was a great deal of hyperbole regarding how Business Objects would be integrated with SAP BI/BW, but aside from a few initiatives like the Business Objects Explorer (which turned out to have a great number of performance bugs), little to nothing has come of these promises by SAP. Business Objects is still not substantially integrated to SAP BI/BW, with most of the effort expended by SAP in integration between these applications being consumed in marketing.
Soon after the acquisition, the support for Business Objects began to drop off significantly. SAP did three things, which dramatically changed the value proposition of Business Objects.
- Reducing the Support
- Increasing the Price
- Considerably Slowing or Halting the Development
SAP Business Objects is not the worst of the BI offerings from the major BI software vendors, but there are many other better offerings in the market. The logic, frequently employed by SAP that SAP customers should buy Business Objects does not hold any water as Business Objects is still only loosely integrated with the rest of SAP. Buyers would be giving up a lot of functionality and would be paying top dollar for an aging application with extremely poor support.
All scores out of a possible 10.
Vendor and Application Risk
Business Objects has implementation challenges related to user adoption and report creation productivity. This must be adjusted for with more consulting and support resources. The Business Objects’ value proposition changed significantly after they were acquired because although the product has stagnated the prices for everything from consulting to training increased quite significantly. Another risk is that Business Objects has self-service pretentions, but it is quite far away from that, and in fact requires a great deal of IT support.
Likelihood of Implementation Success
This accounts for both the application and vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.
Risk Management Approach
Business Objects requires a higher than average allocation of resources that can train and support business users. As a high maintenance application, Business Objects will maintain a high support load post go-live – therefore it makes sense to hire Business Objects resources permanently. This will be much more cost-effective than relying on consultants – as they will need to be in for the long haul.
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