SAP VP Weighs in on the Differences Among NetWeaver and Old-School BusinessObjects Crowds
by Scott Wallask, Managing Editor, BusinessObjects Expert
June 27, 2012
In a recent podcast, Steve Lucas from SAP boils down the tension between BusinessObjects and SAP NetWeaver BW folks.
The topic of how the legacy BusinessObjects audience and the SAP NetWeaver BW crowd view each other came up strongly during an excellent podcast last week put on by the folks at the Diversified Semantic Layer Web site.
Most prominent among the participants was Steve Lucas, executive vice president of business analytics, database, and technology at SAP. Lucas was formerly a senior vice president for BusinessObjects in North America for SAP, and worked for Business Objects when it was its own company.
At its core, Lucas believes the difference between long-time BusinessObjects customers and NetWeaver folks is the idea of the data warehouse, which SAP NetWeaver BW embraces.
Here’s the classic BusinessObjects stance from 15 years ago: “BusinessObjects [customers’] view of the world was BusinessObjects never had a data warehouse,” he said. “No pun intended, their universe was the universe.”
In other words, if a BusinessObjects company had data problems, the idea was to simply spread a universe over the data and make the problems go away, he added.
As a result, lots of legacy BusinessObjects customers never got into the database discussion, and Business Objects as an independent company always wanted to remain agnostic with database vendors, Lucas said.
“There is an element of religion in conversation between . . . classic BusinessObjects people and classic SAP NetWeaver-ish and BW-ish people,” he added.
Eric Vallo, owner of EV Technologies and co-host of the Diversified Semantic Layer podcasts, said NetWeaver folks don’t always share the same enthusiasm for BusinessObjects concepts. “As we mesh more with our BI brethren,” it’s clear that SAP customers are not as excited about the semantic layer as BusinessObjects customers are, Vallo said during the podcast.
A typical rough spot is when a BW team that doesn’t want to reinvent InfoCubes to enable more efficient BI reporting by working with a BusinessObjects team, even if there are benefits to joining disparate cubs using common dimensions, Vallo said.
“There is often a lot of friction still today in putting those two types of teams together,” Vallo said.
To me, this is Yankees versus Red Sox, Greasers battling Socs from The Outsiders, or Roger Waters butting heads with David Gilmour. You can feel the dissension in blogs, online forums, and in person at industry gatherings.
There is very much a rivalry here, and finding ways to combine these two camps remains a significant challenge for SAP given how many legacy BusinessObjects customers it serves.
Follow Scott on Twitter @BObjExpert
(p.s. During the podcast, Lucas also talked about the pressure for SAP HANA to succeed. Read more here on our sister SAPexperts blog.)