Posted by Fritz Feltus on 7/6/2011 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

Further to the recent press release I am pleased to introduce SAPs latest Business Intelligence (BI) offering, SAP Crystal Server 2011. SAP Crystal Server is an entry-level BI solution aimed at small to medium businesses that are looking at a fully-functional BI solution at an affordable price.

When we talk about Business “Intelligence”, we are talking about the “I” in CIA as opposed to the “I” in IQ. Think identifying, gathering and analyzing data to know your business and be more competitive rather than being particularly brainy and joining Mensa! Picture BI as the process of salvaging intelligence from large amounts of data; very similar to uncovering a beautiful diamond from a big, unattractive piece of charcoal-like rock.

BI can be crucial when battling the competition to gain market share and explore new opportunities. So how can small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) take advantage of this vital technology when the cost of implementing a BI strategy seems so prohibitive? Many BI solutions require a host of IT professionals within an organization to manage and provide data in form of reports. And this is in addition to costly data warehouse projects and hardware configurations. Many SMBs simply do not have the man power or resources to accommodate such a solution, which makes it particularly difficult to contend with larger, more resourceful competitors.

Enter SAP Crystal Server 2011, the entry level, single-server BI solution from the market leader, SAP. There are many new features of this newest release to get animated about, so let me start with the most exciting:

SAP Business Objects Explorer

Instead of involving the IT department every time a non-technical user needs to find figures about their current sales performance or their marketing campaign effectiveness, wouldn’t it be great if they had access themselves? We have thought long and hard about this and come up with the solution: let business users search their corporate data source autonomously, with a “Google-like” search engine interface, and visualize their results automatically with beautiful modern charts and graphs. We call this type of BI “Data Exploration” and we think it will revolutionize the way end-users will interact and create real intelligence out of mountains of business data.

Semantic Layer

SAP Crystal Server 2011 now ships with the Universe semantic layer. Think of the Universe as a type of Babel Fish device: something that elucidates all the complexities of your corporate data sources, and presents it to a layperson in a completely clear and comprehensible way.

Two reasons why I find the Universe so exciting:

· It reduces complexity and lightens the load on the IT department by enabling end users access to ad-hoc reporting, data exploration and dashboarding

· It enables federation of data from multiple corporate data sources (Relational, OLAP, XML, web services) into one Universe, which could eliminate the need for a costly data warehouse

Other new features include: a Life Cycle Management tool, allowing you to be fully in control of your BI resources between your development, QA and productive systems and the Translation Management tool, which enables you to streamline multilingual BI implementations by managing languages of all BI content.

SAP Crystal Server is now an even more compelling proposition. Get your Business Intelligence strategy off the ground with this feature-rich yet modestly priced BI solution. You have the data, now it’s up to you to convert it into intelligence!

 

This is a guest blog post written by Fritz Feltus who is a London-based Solution Advisor working for business software maker SAP. He has been working with Business Intelligence software for seven years


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