Extreme Makeover - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Software // Information Management
News
2/3/2005
06:01 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Extreme Makeover

BusinessObjects XI is the company's most distinct release in a long time, a fusion under one server architecture of the best that two product lines had to offer

When Business Objects acquired Crystal Decisions, the company promised to deliver a unified suite of products incorporating the best of both lines. BusinessObjects XI is that suite. For new customers, the product integration is seamless. Crystal administrators will find most screens familiar. Business Objects administrators will need some retraining but will applaud the easier installation and configuration.

This review focuses on the broadest-reaching aspects of XI: updates to the architecture and to WebIntelligence, the business user interface. (See "Piece by Piece".)

Tight Architectural Integration

PROS
•Single, scalable, proven architecture
•Better e-mail bursting and report scheduling
•Extensive report interactivity
CONS
•Some security tasks more difficult
•Full-client documents not yet supported

Business Objects took advantage of the Crystal plug-and-play architecture to add engines that run and schedule WebIntelligence reports into the updated Enterprise server. The WebIntelligence report and job servers can now interact with other processes that existed in Crystal Enterprise 10 to store, schedule and cache reports. The integrated server infrastructure enables companies that previously had separate deployments of Crystal Enterprise and BusinessObjects to run the full suite on one architecture and use one set of administrative tools while still getting the full spectrum of BI functionality (production reporting, ad hoc query, OLAP and dashboards). This integration will lower the cost of ownership. Furthermore, BusinessObjects users benefit from some things that previously existed only within Crystal Enterprise, such as a faster repository, integrated scheduling and e-mail distributions and report archiving.

The old BusinessObjects repository, while open and platform independent, was slow for storing shared reports. In XI, both shared and personal WebIntelligence reports are now stored in the file system and maintained by the Crystal repository. This approach, combined with caching and optimized processes, speeds performance noticeably, according to beta customers. My own test showed reports loading twice as fast in XI versus version 6.5.

Security: Good & Bad

Security in XI is a blend of strengths from Crystal and BusinessObjects. It introduces a steep learning curve for existing WebIntelligence administrators; less so for Crystal administrators. BusinessObjects Supervisor has been replaced with Crystal's Web-based Management Console, which allows user authentication against one or more security systems. All the universe-level restrictions (formerly defined in Supervisor) are more tightly integrated into the BusinessObjects Designer, a more sensible place for them.

However, I found the process of granting access to universes (the metadata layer), folders (groups of reports) and individual reports confusing. Current BusinessObjects administrators may find controlling access at the universe, or metadata, level is more tedious than in the Supervisor module. Also, the inability to pass login IDs through to the source database will be a step backward for some customers.

Improved Scheduling

I gave BusinessObjects 6.x less than stellar scores for its scheduling capabilities last year (see iemagazine.com/go/biscorecard-id-4.jhtml). Business Objects' Broadcast Agent is not well integrated compared with competitors' scheduling utilities. Also, you had more scheduling options with full-client reports than with WebIntelligence reports, and more via the desktop than via the InfoView portal.

WebIntelligence provides extensive report-based interactivity with a popup menu at a mouse click, plus discussions.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Slideshows
11 Things IT Professionals Wish They Knew Earlier in Their Careers
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/6/2021
News
Time to Shift Your Job Search Out of Neutral
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/31/2021
Commentary
Does Identity Hinder Hybrid-Cloud and Multi-Cloud Adoption?
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  4/1/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Successful Strategies for Digital Transformation
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll