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What are viable alternatives to SAP Business Objects Enterprise?

M_V - PeerSpot reviewer
CSRA at General Dynamics


I am using SAP BO Enterprise and running on Oracle.

I'm looking for a much less expensive solution. It's not enough to use MS SQL instead of Oracle. 

I'm still profiling the SAP BOE implementation but would like to head towards a DWH implementation that users can report off. Various users have mentioned in passing: PowerBI, Qlik, Tableau. 

At this point, the only solid knowledge I have is that the management wants to get rid of SAP and Oracle.

Any recommendations?

PeerSpot user
910 Answers

Gene Hammons, MBA - PeerSpot reviewer
Top 5LeaderboardMSP

So, operating with a segment of our client base, mostly commercial stage startups where the staff comes from larger, national firms, we often get a directive: We want new infrastructure software and it can be anything as long as it's not Tier One (SAP/Oracle and similar). I guess the $5m upgrades were getting old at their previous companies. 

Also, with the Covid issue last year, many companies had to pivot very quickly to stay alive. Looking at a SAP 18-24 month rollout was looking company death in the eye, so again, please perform the impossible with the unlikely were the marching orders. 

Fortunately, around 2014 we'd started what we called 'component software' which relied on made for cloud backends (NetSuite/Acumatica/Intaact). Mostly because these were recent (in relative terms) developments but more because of being built to integrate with other external systems, along with an open development toolsets  - what we couldn't find to integrate, we could develop ('we'- being the developers we could find to handle the job). 

That approach has helped a lot of the early stage startups through the IPO process and launched into initial 5 year growth stages. We've also implemented NetSuite sub systems so we could launch eCommerce or other pivot options quickly and they're feeding financials to backend SAP/Oracle. 

In any case, we have some relatively large clients who've had substantial success with this approach, and if your management is serious about parachuting out of Tier One, perhaps you could set up your backend data in a more easily reportable structure (just a wild stab - not knowing the real issues). 

I'd also point you toward the FP&A side instead of BI if it's truly reporting that's needed. Anaplan/Host/Hyperion - (I think Hyperion has undergone rewrites, the verision we mostly use is the NetSuite Planning Budgeting and Analytics - which the users say, "Oh look, it's Hyperion").

Hope some of that is relevant to what you're looking for. 

Paul Grill - PeerSpot reviewer
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

There is no easy way to convert or replace BusinessObjects which is why most BusinessObjects customers today are in a state of co-existence (BO-Tableau being the most popular followed by BO-PowerBI). Since neither Tableau nor PowerBI are great at BI reporting, customers keep BO for the reporting and use Tableau/PowerBI for data discovery and visualization. You should look at right-sizing your BO deployment to save on costs. For the DWH, if you are looking at Cloud then Snowflake or Azure are the most popular with BO customers

RaviLagu - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User


You cannot build a DWH by using PowerBI, Qlik or Tableau as they are mainly data visualization platforms. Qlik does have its own tool but it creates proprietary datasets that cannot be accessed from outside Qlik. It seems you want a data mart tool instead of a DWH as you want users to be able to create reports. Please look into my review of SAS Data Integration studio for a better idea.

M_V - PeerSpot reviewerM_V

@RaviLagu You are right.  I didn't state it clearly that those were reporting tools that various users had stated experience with.
The DWH is to support the existing reporting off of the BOE universes that I want to replace.  
Ultimately, I'm going to need to replace and augment.  As we're looking at joining several org's feeds, we'll be hosting a data hub and offering shared feeds.
Personally, I don't *mind* Qlik, but I mainly worked w/ QlikView, and was not a great fan of the way they work and embed data.

Paul Kellett - PeerSpot reviewer
Top 10Real User

So many questions but just the basic ones...

If you actually need such a broad product set as provided by BO with the more corporate like features such as security, scheduling, bursting, fail-over, supporting large volumes of users and data etc then the alternatives ala MicroStrategy tend to be just as expensive.

1st question - what do you really need in a BI tool? It can range from basic reports to complex visualisations, Ad Hoc reporting, self-service etc.

2nd question - how do you populate your repository? I am assuming you use the Oracle Warehouse Builder products. If so, you will have to replace this and, again, if your needs are more complex you can find the replacements are quite pricey.

3rd question - what are your volumes? Data, users and report/queries. SQL server scales rather well nowadays and can cope with significant sized repositories but if you get in to larger repositories you might be forced down the more expensive database options. This is less likely than it used to be.

4th question - how much would it cost in labour to replace the current environment in to a new one - ETL\ELT, reports etc? Typically, movement across platforms requires a re-write/re-engineer and is not a porting exercise. The one exception being the database and one can sometimes port that across relatively easily. The money you save in underlying product is likely to be swamped by labour costs. One exception being if the current solution is end of life or you're replacing core source systems, in which case the replacement costs should be justifiable.

In terms of suitable products there are actually a lot of good products out there (many mentioned in this thread) that satisfy different elements of the rather wide range of BI requirements with their own advantages and weaknesses. A lot depends on your needs. Before advising on products I would need to better understand your requirements.

Jhornber - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

I'd second looking into Snowflake, Big Query or Redshift for your DW (and would lean toward Snowflake). I'd also recommend doing some research on Looker. For us, and likely for some others, it has been a viable alternative to Business Objects (and Data Cubes). Tableau, while arguably the strongest data viz tool, doesn't lend itself well to business user, drag and drop report authoring and/or report scheduling and distribution. I believe Qlik was a little stronger here with their acquisition of nPrinting a ways back, but it's been a long time since I've worked with Qlik in any capacity.   

Gabriel Marafon - PeerSpot reviewer


It would be great to know a little more about your architecture and problems to be more helpful.

But as a general guide, something like BigQuery (Redshift/Snowflake) would work as your "DWH" and Qlik/Tableau/Looker/PowerBI/Datastudio would work as your visualization tools.

Dirk Wehrle - PeerSpot reviewer

Check Qlik and Power BI. 

Stephan Schaumburg-Lippe - PeerSpot reviewer

If I understand your question correctly, then you are looking for a replacement for SAP and Oracle, since both are too expensive. 

You can look at the issue of costs from different perspectives. The easiest way would be to look at the license costs, then the implementation and operating costs of your solution. I would not overestimate the construction costs, because they are one-time, it is much more expensive to keep a solution alive. 

An unsuitable architecture causes the highest costs. For me, architecture has nothing to do with a software product. So when you know what you are going to deliver to your users (your product), then you can design your architecture, and only then do you look for the right software. When you try to solve problems with software, in the end, it is like having just a hammer: every problem becomes a nail. 

In summary, I mean, first, describe your problem, then think about your architecture, and at the very end, the question of the tools for implementation arises.

H.Emre Arıkan - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

Managements want to get rid of a lot of things but at the end of the day some other guys are responsible for the seamless replacement and migration of those things :)..

BO lets you set your reporting layer(Universe in BO World) on ANY data model with any complexity, literally on ANY! You don't have this option in Tableau. So how complex is your environment?

DWH: you want to replace Oracle with SQL Server. SQL Server may not perform so well compared to Oracle. Ok Oracle ist costly, but once it has the data in memory, it is lightning fast for any selects.

So if you stick to BO-Oracle the only thing left is the need of replicating the data to DWH/Oracle. And there are some replication solutions in the markt..

As last since you hardware is fast, you can virtualize(DB Views) your modelling/cleansing needs.

So it means you can survive without ETL's in your old solution! against additional costs for BO/Oracle. (virtualize(DB Views) your modelling/cleansing needs if you don't need to historize the data)

 I would look at two things in your place: How complex is my reporting layer, what are some complex queries hitting the db's? to ease answering the question: Can Tableau/SQL Server pair can master the tasks I have?

2. I would look at the most complex use case(universe) I have : copy the relevant data to Sql Server and try to implement the reports in Tableau what you originally had at BO on Oracle. It is a costly effort but just look at the future: you migrated to Tableau/SQL Server and things are not going as you dreamed of! ;)

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