UPDATE: I liked this book I helped co-write later editions. See SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide.
SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence is a brand new 2010 title from SAP Press, who kindly sent me a review copy. According to its back cover, the book will “provide you with a comprehensive functional overview of SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, as well as actionable, step-by-step content to help you quickly begin creating, analyzing, an sharing enterprise reports.” Authors Jim Brogden, Heather Sinkwitz and Mac Holden have created a comprehensive, hard-cover 574-page guide to SAP BusinessObjects’ query and analysis tool.
Web Intelligence is used by many types of business and IT users throughout an organization. However, it is designed primarily for business users, not IT professionals. I was curious how the authors would define Web Intelligence, as this definition would guide the organization of the material. From the book’s description of Web Intelligence in Chapter 1:
SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence is a best-in-class ad hoc query, reporting, and analysis tool designed with the business user in mind [emphasis added]… The primary function of Web Intelligence XI 3.1 is to provide the capability of querying a set of data without any knowledge of the SQL language and interactively analyzing data to further restrict, expand, and modify the way information is displayed and delivered”
A majority of the book is devoted to Web Intelligence report design and is topically well-organized. There is also significant coverage of universe design and the Web Intelligence SDK, topics that traditionally have different (predominantly IT) audiences. The Web Intelligence SDK is covered neatly at the end of the book. However, universe design topics appear at several places throughout the book. My personal preference is that a book for Web Intelligence users should focus on the user experience and, to quote the Wizard of Oz, “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain”. That man (or woman) is the universe designer, frequently an IT professional. That said, I really appreciated the discussion in Section 2.1.1, “Design with the Business User in Mind”. Technical challenges aside, most universe designers violate this basic rule, resulting in a universe that is not easily adopted by business users.
This book is comprehensive, giving coverage to advanced features like report bursting via Publications, related tools like Live Office, linking multiple report documents, and new features introduced in Web Intelligence XI 3.1 SP2. Business users who are new to SAP BusinessObjects tools will benefit greatly from the book’s methodical coverage of Web Intelligence. Traditional SAP users, in particular, should embrace this book readily, as Web Intelligence is replacing older SAP BI tools in the product portfolio.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”