By Dr. Berg
A Lovable Child Has Many Names
"Analysis" started out as a BusinessObjects tool prior to the SAP acquisition. It was then known as "Voyager". However, during the update of the tool, the name was changed to "Pioneer". Then it was called "Advanced Analysis", and now it is known simply as "Analysis."
And there are two separate editions here. There's an edition for Microsoft Office that supports PowerPoint and Excel. And there's an edition for OLAP, which is a little bit of a misnomer, because that's really the web version. So whether you're talking Pioneer, Voyager, Advanced Analysis, it's now all called "Analysis".
The Organizational Impact of the Analysis Tool
This is the full size replacement tool for BEx. This will really replace the OLAP tools BEx Web Analyzer and BEx Analyzer; In short, it is the replacement of the BW Excel workbooks that we have had for almost 12 years. It's also replacing the BEx web, which is the workhorse for all the OLAP that we have been using. – And frankly the new tool is much better!
This is really putting a tool in the hand of the analyst community. However, it is not intended for people looking at managed query environments (that is WebI). Nor is it a tool for managers looking at dashboards, cockpits and scorecards.
Most companies will probably have about 20 percent of their user base that should be coming through this online analytical processing tool. When you look at this tool, you should compare it to tools such as Oracle's Express, Hyperion Essbase, or good old PowerPlay (now also called "Analysis").
PowerPoint and Excel Analysis
In the edition for Microsoft Office, you get the ability to use PowerPoint to query BW. The neat part of this is it's aimed at people who are working on strategic planning books or standard reports. Instead of having to run reports, making all the formatted graphs, and then pasting them into PowerPoint, you can actually have a deck of all these graphs and simply refresh the data when needed. We had nothing comparable of that in BEx.
Also, you have a lot of new neat features in the Excel version; For example, you have the ability to color code exceptions, filter data and create calculated numbers. Frankly, some of the features overlap a little bit with BEx Query Designer. What is also really cool is that it does not have the massive performance overhead of having to run through the MDX layer interface. Now, you can go 'native'. So all the queries are 30 to 40 percent faster.
There is also a plan within SAP to bring both these tools together as a single release for Analysis; both the web and the Microsoft editions.
I think most corporate controllers, analysts at the corporate headquarters, and even in the larger business units will be using "Analysis". And I believe you've got to be careful when taking all your BEx web reports and just move them straight over to the Analysis for web. Because in the old days, we didn't have a lot of options in the front-end area. So many companies have users who are stuck with BEx web and BEx workbooks, when they really shouldn't be using those tools. Instead some users should probably be looking at ad‑hoc query with web intelligence or Xcelsisus dashboards. Again, I think only about 20 to 25 percent of a typical BI user base should be using the Analysis OLAP tool.
So take your BEx workbooks, convert those over into the Microsoft edition, and for most of these it should be a straightforward conversion unless you have custom coding embedded. At the same time that you're converting over, take a look at some of the users who are now working within the complexity of an OLAP tool, and see if you can't migrate them over to some of the other simpler tools as well.