The Essential Guide to BI @ SAP SAPPHIRE NOW


As a 19-year veteran of SAP BusinessObjects, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to be a “social ambassador” for business intelligence and analytics for SAPPHIRE NOW in Frankfurt.

Whether or not you have any SAP products, and whether or not you’ll be attending the physical events, there’s going to be lots of great new information of interest to anybody involved with business intelligence and performance management. My job will be to help you get the most out of the event, through a combination of blog posts (on this site, and on the SAPPHIRE NOW blog site, tweets, and on the SAPPPHIRE NOW YouTube video channel (and no, I don’t intend that to involve being a “we love SAP faux presence” — I’m passionate about BI, and intend to share what I find interesting and useful)

This year will see the fruition of lot of the plans we’ve been working on since the Business Objects was acquired by SAP in October 2007. Along with the traditional product updates and customer experience presentations, here are the topic areas I think will be of particular interest:

  1. The increased integration between SAP BW with BusinessObjects front-end technology. The conference will include sessions from real-life integrations experiences, for example Accenture and Shell will give a detailed review of their experiences with BusinessObjects and BW
  2. The integration of SAP in-memory processing technology with BusinessObjects front-end tools for “instant value” against ANY data source
  3. The continued development of BusinessObjects technology into cutting-edge areas such as on-demand, enterprise collaboration, social networking analysis, mobile BI, and augmented reality.

This post covers some of high-level logistics of SAPPHIRE NOW, and points out some resources that might be of interest — since everything is going to be recorded and available online as part of the web site, I’ve included sessions that might interest you from both Orlando and Frankfurt.

SAPPHIRE NOW in a nutshell

  • As part of a move towards the “conferences 2.0”, there will be live coverage on the SAPPHIRE NOW web site, for free, with over 400 live sessions in HD video (and on-demand after), which may make it one of the biggest online conferences ever — register now!


  • Two simultaneous physical locations: Frankfurt and Orlando, May 17th-19th (Orlando also features sessions organized by ASUG)
  • Keynotes from visionaries and SAP executives, on business trends, current products, and future directions. (Frankfurt, Orlando)
  • Four “campuses” (Industries, Lines of Business, Innovation, and Small Businesses and Midsize Companies), each with a full agenda of panel sessions, presentations, and discussions, and live demo areas (Frankfurt, Orlando)


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  • A full set of programs from the on-site Broadcast Centers. You can attend the sessions live in the studios, or follow them online.

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BI, Analytics and BusinessObjects @ SAPPHIRE NOW

The BusinessObjects portfolio of products will be ubiquitous at SAPPHIRE NOW, present in all four campuses, and featuring in over TWO HUNDRED sessions (full lists Frankfurt Orlando). There are suggested, customizable agendas in the online agenda builder:



These agendas only scratch the surface of what is available, so I’ve tried to group some of the key sessions by topic of interest below. Note that most presentations are a short-and-sweet 20 minutes long (which will be available online for viewing after the event), but are then followed by a separate interactive 20-minute discussion session in an adjoining room – make sure you remember to build that into your agenda if you’re physically on site and interested in participating.

Understanding the product line

The SAP BusinessObjects suite of products helps close the loop between strategy and execution – here’s a short video that gives an overview:

Here are some of the key sessions for understanding what products are available, and how they fit in with your needs and technical landscapes:

We’re also working on a brand-new SAP Solution Advisor for BI tool. If you would like to provide feedback, please register for a Test Drive session.

Customer presentations

Hear how organizations like yours are using analytics and performance management to improve the way they do business. Note that this is only a small selection of the many sessions available. You can use the Advanced Search option to find customer sessions in your industry (Frankfurt Orlando)


  • Unilever’s Workflow for Master Data: Unilever, a global consumer-goods company, is pioneering the use of SAP NetWeaver Business Process Management and SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management to create business processes that manage master data through creation and registration to establishment and enhancement. Learn about the strategy behind this initiative and the techniques involved in making it happen, moving from pilot implementation to global rollout.
  • Shell’s SAP BusinessObjects Decision Dashboard Built On SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse: With Shell’s Financial Mgt and Operational Reporting decision dashboard, 6500 managers in 23 countries are making better decisions. The dashboard delivers a standardized, organizationally aligned, and vertically integrated solution using SAP BusinessObjects WEBI and Xcelsius for the frontend, drawing data from an SAP Business Warehouse which consolidates the data from a completely heterogeneous system landscape. Learn how Shell is minimizing complexity and cost, reusing global processes and tools; and decommissioning standalone solutions with this groundbreaking management tool.
  • See, Think, and Act Clearly to Drive Performance in Upstream Operations. The primary success criteria for an upstream oil and gas enterprise is safe, efficient, effective, and responsive production of hydrocarbons. See how companies can manage the performance of their operations, while simultaneously balancing safety, production, and cost objectives and constraints across their asset operations. Discover the new capabilities SAP is delivering for upstream operations performance management
  • PANEL: Managing Information for the Enterprise: Insights and Actions for Executives. Information is a valuable corporate asset, yet less than half of companies have effective business intelligence and enterprise information management strategies. Listen to a panel of successful organizations using information for competitive advantage to deliver better business insights, improve efficiency, and ensure compliance mandates.  (Along with representatives from Shell, Unilever, and Harrods, this session will feature SAP’s CIO, Oliver Bussmann, SAP’s own CIO, talking about how we implement BusinessObjects at SAP)
  • Clarity at Consol Glass. Glass containers use colors, such as amber, to protect content. But, to see the liquid with clarity, it must be poured into colorless glass. See how Consol Glass is seeing with clarity by pouring its business intelligence content into SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, uncovering never-before-seen insights.
  • …and many others


  • Why public service programs need good data?. A major challenge with CRM projects is managing data-quality and integrating all business-partner information. Learn how Florida Department of Revenue (FDOR) uses SAP BusinessObjects Data Services to integrate, cleanse, and standardize their customer data and data from external agencies.  For FDOR it is more than just managing data quality, it is about ensuring that bad data doesn’t impact the public citizens and participants of the various public service programs. This session will demonstrate how SAP BusinessObjects Data Services and BI/BW in CRM projects has replaced FDOR’s complex ABAP routines, and transformed FDOR data into a trustworthy corporate asset.
  • Harnessing the Power of SAP BusinessObjects BI Solutions. Discover how Newell Rubbermaid leverages SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions to make faster, more informed, and accurate business decisions. By combining the SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse Accelerator (BWA) with SAP BusinessObjects BI software, Newell has achieved usability, speed, and scalability targets to fully leverage investment in SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions – including SAP Objects Explorer Accelerated, Mobile, Web Intelligence, and Xcelsius.
  • Kraft Foods Finds A Single Source of Truth. Learn how Kraft Foods established an award-winning global data governance model by adopting SAP NetWeaver as the backbone of its enterprise information management and business transformation strategy. In less than nine months, Kraft deployed SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management to integrate and consolidate data from SAP and non-SAP legacy systems for its North American roll-out of SAP ERP.
  • …and many others

Key BI technology trends covered at SAPPHIRE NOW

Core Business Intelligence. There are some great sessions on business intelligence deployment including Best practices for deploying Web Intelligence to Business Users, Walt Disney Parks on From Excel to SAP BusinessObjects: An Income Statement Story, and SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence XI 3.1 – Bring it On!

financials_thumb12 Finance, Performance Management, and GRC. There are suggested session agendas available for anybody interested in finance (see above). If you’d like a high-level overview, there’s a session on the latest advances and future directions of SAP solutions for financials; enterprise performance management; and governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) (Frankfurt Orlando)

inmemory_thumb12 In-Memory Analytics. The lower costs of in-memory processing is making huge changes in how we can deal with information. Keynotes (Frankfurt Orlando) and track sessions (Frankfurt Orlando) will cover how this new technology is resetting the bar on what’s possible with analytics, and introduce you to SAP’s products in this area, including BusinessObjects Explorer Accelerated. There’s also a panel session with customers discussion how they are using this solution in their businesses.

ondemand_thumb82 On-Demand Business Intelligence. There will be a dedicated on-demand area in the innovation campus, featuring SAP’s on-demand BI solutions, and you can sign up for a free account that lets you update and analyze information online, or access it via mobile devices. Get an overview of our BI OnDemand future directions, find out how Enterprise 2.0 platform vendor Jive uses our on-demand BI analytics to power their analytics module, and take part in microforums where you can give your input into SAP’s strategy (Orlando Session 1, Session 2). We also “drink our own champagne” and there’s a session that covers how SAP itself uses BI OnDemand.

collaboration_thumb12 Collaborative Decision-Making and Social Analytics. The brand-new SAP StreamWork collaborative decision-making product will be featured in the innovation campus, and covered in sessions in Frankfurt and Orlando ( Session 1 Session 2). But nothing is as good as trying it out yourself, so sign up for the free edition (you can use the same login as for BI OnDemand) and give us feedback in the microforum sessions (Frankfurt, Orlando). In addition, the SAP Social Network Analyzer prototype will be featured in the demo area of the innovation campus.

operations_thumb12 Operational BI. You’ll see BusinessObjects reports and dashboards embedded in SAP applications throughout the show and there’s a dedicated session, “Operational BI: Expanding the SAP Technology Platform” in the Innovation Campus to show how businesses can gain real-time visibility into a company’s operations (Frankfurt Orlando)

sustainability_thumb12 Sustainability Performance Management and Measuring Your Carbon Footprint. Sustainability is a major theme for SAP, and there are over 100 sessions that touch on the subject at SAPPHIRE NOW (full lists: Frankfurt Orlando). There’s a dedicated sustainability area and sessions in the innovation campus featuring the SAP Sustainability Performance Management product launched last year that helps customers drive achievement of sustainability objectives through target setting, measuring progress, and monitoring achievement ( Frankfurt Orlando). There are also sessions covering the SAP Carbon Impact product that helps you accurately measure and report your enterprise carbon footprint (Frankfurt Orlando)

mobile_thumb32 Mobile BI. Mobility will be a key theme of the conference. Help us drive strategy by attending a mobility microforum (Frankfurt Orlando). Find out how Dow Corning has delivered mobile BI to its employees with SAP BusinessObjects Explorer for iPhone and iPad and RoamBI. Check out BusinessObjects Mobile, and try out the products yourself in the mobility area of the innovation campus (and you might even get a sneak peek at a bit of “augmented corporate reality”)

Exhibition hall

If you’re going to be at one of the physical locations, make sure you find the time to visit the exhibition booths for lots of other BI / Analytic products and services from SAP Partners (Frankfurt Orlando)

Other resources

During the show, I’ll be one of the people tweeting out from the BusinessObjects twitter account, and you should follow me directly at

So there you have it: more information than you can possibly process, just like the whole reason for BI in the first place.