Business Objects (BO) is an advanced, highly sophisticated business intelligence software tool from global business technology giant SAP. It includes data warehousing and broad reporting capabilities that assist executives in making more informed business decisions based on superior data and analysis. Although the fundamentals of BO might appear relatively simple at first glance, mastery of the tool requires extensive reading or training. SAP offers free resources and a number of other options exist for learning BO design and management.
Learn the fundamentals. Although BO is more complex than a simple explanation, it consists of two primary components--the design of universes and a data integrator core function. After a new user has learned the basics, more advanced training includes features such as semantic layers and applications such as creating “dimensions” and “measures”--or customized metrics for a particular universe or reporting parameters. The end result is a comprehensive business intelligence reporting system based on an individual organization’s specific needs.
Become a master of the universe. A BO universe is a particular, or customized, reflection of a company’s relevant operational data that allows users to use common business terminology while also freeing themselves from technical information about the database where the data is stored. A universe consists of “objects” and “classes” that route back to the original database. That functionality then allows “queries” and reports.
One of the easiest ways to learn to create universes is to exploit the free resources available directly from SAP (see “Resources”). The company offers a comprehensive online tutorial on the creation of BO universes. Another option is a free online tutorial from Scribd, which includes screen shots that make learning easier and faster for some people.
Learn to deploy BO’s data integrator core, the other key component of the software suite. The data extractor core function allows users to “extract and integrate data for analytical reporting and e-business,” explains SAP. It also assists in state-of-the-art data warehousing. The company also offers a free online tutorial in the application of the data core integrator (see “Resources”).
Hire a consultant. For most people, learning to be expert in the use of BO is not an easy process. It requires commitment and sustained effort. Given that reality, many companies retain expert BO consultants to assist in training. WIT is among only a handful of BO partners in the U.S. to have earned SAP’s elite “certified” level. Another well-established provider of BO training and consulting is DataSense Solutions. A third option is Schmidt Ink, which provides BO consulting and computer-based training. The company also publishes a series of nine training manuals that cover the entire spectrum of BO application, design and reporting.