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**********Wish you all Merry Christmas & Advance New Year Wishes**********

I had some interest on working with Business Objects (recently procured by SAP vendor). It’s also a good BI tool that is in the market competing with MicroStrategy & other BI vendors. Each tool has its own plus & minus. I’m not going to say MicroStrategy is better or BO is better here ~~ AS EACH OF THEM HAVE ITS GOOD FOR END USERS with limitations each.

Learning a new BI tool is quite easy – i would say from my experience. Since i got an opportunity to view or explore in and out of MicroStrategy ~ i was able to easily grasp what BO does and work on it very easily and quickly. I started with BO designer & started working on MicroStrategy Tutorial Metadata to replicate them in BO designer. It was challenging by learning side by side the BO concepts & glad to accomplish the reports with the UNIVERSE designer. As i say, learning never stops & still working on exploring it further deep in BO.

  • The first thing that i was happy or makes me to read the BO Designer PDF was the below workflow that they suggests. It’s a typical workflow for every project to work on it (SDLC). The way, they classified each of them was very good and it helped to understand easily what needs to be focused and what comes next as part of the standard life cycle process. The key thing in BO is Universe Designer & that helps end user to work on adhoc reporting or canned reports(pre-built) or dashboards design.
  • From the above workflow, if the initial 3 phases are taken care (not only for BO project, for any BIDW project – i would say) ~ 80% of the project is success. Then the remaining 20% is easy to accomplish it. The recent project that i worked was building an BI solution for one of the client & the similar situation happened that requirement went on toss and hence the project got into a different shape. But finally able to through the project with frequent requirement changes & DB Changes. All these problems comes to a project, if the ppl involved in the project is not aware of BIDW concepts and principles means. So resourcing or building a project team (Preparation Phase) plays a key role to project success. (Sorry for speaking lot 😛 )

  • Universe is the key layer of design at BO & whereas it is similar to Schema Objects in MicroStrategy. So, if Universe is designed effectively with proper analysis/design, then we are done in implementing the BO solution. The same applies to MSTR, the Schema Objects forms the base for Microstrategy solution.
  • Dimensions are nothing but the attribute/element values to derive the measures. So in MicroStrategy we call them as Attribute. 
  • Focus of analysis in the query that we do.
  • They can be mapped to one or more columns depends on need. Same like in MSTR, mapping them to one or more columns as ID/DESC forms.
  • Provides the descriptive data about a dimension.
  • It is called as Attribute forms in MicroStrategy layer.
  • It can also be mapped to one or more columns in the table.
  • Contains the aggregate functions that map to statistics in the database.
  • It is the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • It is called as METRICS in MicroStrategy layer.
  • This has 2 level of aggregation : 
    • SQL level with GROUP BY clause.
    • Project level (i.e.) kind of dynamic aggregation in MSTR layer.
  • Few precautions are there in BO (as how we also have in MSTR)
    • For Average calculations
    • Like Smart Metrics concepts in MicroStrategy layer
  • Within a Universe, the objects are grouped into Classes.
  • This provide a structure for the universe and makes it easier for the user to locate particular objects.
    • Classes
      • Sub Classes (If available)
        • Dimensions
          • Dimension Details
        • Measures
  • It is similar to how we group the objects to specific folders in MicroStrategy layer.
    • Schema Objects
      • Attributes
        • Attribute forms
      • Facts
      • Functions & Operators
      • Hierarchies
      • Tables
      • Transformation
    • Public Objects
      • Metrics
      • Templates
      • Filters
      • Prompts
      • Reports
      • Documents
      • Autostyles
      • Drill Maps
      • Searches
  • You have similar kind of security that MicroStrategy provides.
  • You have individual object level security as Public/Private/Controlled/Restricted/Confidential
  • The beauty is all Admin activities in BO is accessible by administrators in Web & on a single interface. So, that gives flexibility to do stuffs in single place. 
  • The same thing is applicable in MSTR at Desktop (60%) available in it. You have separate URL for few admin activities that are necessary at WEB but not all in single interface.
Tools or Components
  • Like how MicroStrategy has Command Manager/Object Manager/System Manager/ User Manager/Enterprise Manager/Configuration Wizard – BO also has components to perform certain actions.
  • They have Web Intelligence Rich Client to develop reports / Desktop Intelligence Client/ Crystal Reports/ XCelsius / Data Source Migration Wizard / Business View Manager/ Central Configuration Manager where the services RUN/STOP/Status to be known/etc..
  • In latest version of BO, few of them very renamed or given a new name like Dashboard designer.
Designer – Developer Friendly
  • The most important thing i noticed was , BO was developer friendly. It helps to address loops in the Universe to address easily by going with CONTEXT/ALIAS concepts.
    • It has loop detection and solution to fix it
    • It has Detect Alias & Create Alias for the scenarios where it is required.
    • It has Detect Context & Create Context for the scenario where it is required
    • It helps to speed the development, but not all scenarios are covered with it. The developer need to be cautious and design where it is required & where it doesn’t need to be applied.
    • Detect Cardinalities is available to detect and apply accordingly, but need to be cautious in using it. It helps sometimes and at some places when the data is not available – it provides inappropriate cardinality. So better to go with manual cardinality setup.
    • Wizards are there to use. But better to design universe by adding few tables one by one into the Structure Pane & give JOINS/Cardinality/Alias Tables/Contexts. This way would be effective in terms of design.
In short, BO is developer friendly & MicroStrategy is also Developer Friendly if you’re used to their concepts and principles they follow.
Have a Good Day! Will share more in the coming blogs. 

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