Optimize Your BusinessObjects BI4.2 Upgrade

The release of SAP BusinessObjects BI4.2 SP5 is prompting many customers to invest in an upgrade. Upgrades are a chance to deploy new solutions, seize new opportunities, and better serve users. The more successful the upgrade, the greater the value proposition.

Upgrade projects became more challenging over the past 20 years and organizations struggled to optimize business intelligence. As an SAP technology partner, GB&SMITH developed 360Suite to enhance the Business Objects experience, making it easier, faster, safer and cheaper. 360Suite offers a set of solutions and recommends 10 steps to upgrade to SAP BusinessObjects BI4.2.


Step 1: Prepare for the Upgrade

Upgrades require preparation and the first step is to analyze the source platform.

360Eyes generates the detailed information needed to conduct a thorough BI on BI assessment and evaluate the scope of the upgrade.

  • CMS information
  • Metadata (Webi reports, variables, functions, etc.)

Step 2: Back Up the Current Environment

Backing up the current environment before upgrading to Business Objects BI4.2 SP5 safeguards the process.

A typical Business Objects recovery strategy includes backing up the entire Business Objects server and CMS database. This allows the entire system to be restored in the event of a server crash, but it is not suitable for selective rollbacks or for restoring deleted objects. Full backups may also impact platform availability and take down an environment for several hours.

360Plus is a powerful and flexible backup solution. The first time the program runs, it performs a full backup. Every night thereafter, the program runs delta and dynamic backups, which have no impact on the platform. This enables selective rollbacks to any previous version of any object (personal documents, security settings, user, universe connections, etc.). It also allows the recovery of all deleted objects from the 360Suite recycle bin.  Note: The SAP BusinessObjects BI4.2 recycle bin does not recover all object types (e.g., users).

Blogger Raphael Branger discusses the available means of backup and recovery in SAP Business Objects BI 4.x.

Step 3: Clean Up the Current Environment

Investing time and energy into cleaning up the environment yields high returns. That’s because less content results in an easier, faster and cheaper Business Objects upgrade and future back-ups.

Key questions:

  • Is it necessary to move documents that have not been read or used for months?
  • Is it necessary to keep all instances stored on the system, regardless of age?
  • Are there duplicate reports on the system? If so, it is necessary to move them all?
  • Is it necessary to move the in-boxes of all users, including unread documents?
  • Is it possible to document all current authorization settings, security and scheduling jobs?

360Suite provides solutions to streamline content:


Step 4: Optimize Business Objects

Upgrades are an ideal time to optimize Business Objects.

360Eyes includes a query-stripping feature that detects useless variables and useless universe objects and presents the information in prebuilt Webi reports. This empowers system administrators to optimize the documents, which paves the way for a smoother and more successful testing phase.

360View bulk-converts thesource of Webi reports from unv to unx.


Step 5: Analyze the License Pool

Analyzing the license pool before upgrading Business Objects highlights potential cost savings. That’s because renewing unnecessary licenses or opting for the wrong license model wastes resources.

360Eyes provides valuable information about the historical use of licensed products. Prebuilt Webi reports highlight needs and trends for the purpose of optimizing licensing pools—adding, renewing or ending licenses, and reconsidering the balance between CPUs, named users, and CSBLs.

SAP’s Blair Wheadon explains the two ways SAP licenses content viewing in the BI platform–Named Users and CSBLs.



Step 6: Conduct Impact Analysis

Upgrades are an ideal time to conduct an impact analysis.

360Eyes highlights reports that contain particular functions, variable, or universe objects, and offers valuable insight in the form of prebuilt Webi reports. Impact analysis is particularly useful in the case of regressions and calculation engine changes, because it identifies all reports that may be impacted. The 360Eyes query-stripping feature detects useless variables.

360View bulk updates reports to take the work out of repairing, replacing and deleting identified variables.

SAP’s Gregory Botticchio describes calculation engines changes and suggests migration strategies to accommodate them.

Blogger Christoph Gnodtke explains how to find documents impacted by calculation engine changes.

Step 7: Compare Source and Target

Upgrades raise the problem of how to handle content created or modified during the upgrade process.

With 360Eyes, you can keep snapshots of your deployment at various stages. This eliminates the need to freeze the source production environment during the migration process, or attempt to synchronize the source with the SAP BusinessObjects BI4.2 target. By comparing snapshots and highlighting changes, 360Suite ensures that all content upgrades completely and correctly.

360Plus schedules promotions and migrates content in a logical order.

Step 8: Automate Regression Testing

Regression testing is the most time-consuming part of an upgrade project. It is also the most important part because end-users must rely on the new outputs. Business Objects often touches sensitive data (financial, medical, personal) that may be subject to regulatory requirements, including the need for regression testing that cannot be outsourced. Done manually, regression testing is tedious and risky.

360Bind automates wide-scale regression testing for safer and faster upgrade to BI4.2 SP5. When testing identifies regressions, 360Suite performs an impact analysis to pinpoint affected objects, and bulk updates reports. Finally, 360Suite keeps track of the migration process to ensure due diligence.



Step 9: Going Live–Adopting a Flexible Promotion Strategy

Upgrading Business Objects can be challenging without a good promotion strategy, and lifecycle management capabilities can be limited, especially for large promotions.

360Suite schedules promotions and migrates content in a logical order.

  1. Access levels (security)
  2. Groups and users
  3. Connections
  4. Universes
  5. Documents
  6. Everything else (calendars, events, etc.)

360Suite bridges the gap between Business Objects and enterprise job schedulers (CTRLM, $U or $Universe, UC4, TWS, etc.).

360Plus offers a user-friendly, drag-and-drop promotion feature as well as a scheduled promotion feature.

Step 10: Going Live–Ensure Compliance and Security

Upgrades are a good time for Chief Security Officers and managers to review security and regulatory requirements, which may include the need to store information in a particular location or maintain specific security protocols.

360Suite maps the security structure before and after upgrading Business Objects, down to the level of identifying broken and double inheritances. It answers the questions, “Who has access to what? When? Where? Why?”

360Suite also identifies data that is impacted by regulatory requirements so system administrators can monitor and audit sensitive information during the upgrade process.

360Suite invented the matrix system for implementing and documenting security, and holds several US patents for the technology.

360Suite presents new BOE Xi 3.x security concepts.

Blogger Michael Welter examines the security model in 3.x and offers tips to make it as simple as possible.


360Suite by GB&SMITH is a set of solutions that facilitates the upgrade to SAP BusinessObjects BI4.2.

Alexandre Biegala and Sebastien Goiffon founded 360Suite as an alternative to the central management console. The 360Suite software evolved over time in response to client needs, and now includes solutions to streamline Business Objects in the areas of governance, risk and compliance, backup and disaster recovery, promotion, upgrades and cloud migration, metadata, license compliance, bursting and regression testing.

360Suite saves customers up to 80% (time and money), and eliminates the need for post-migration assistance.

360Suite allows organizations to maintain control of platforms on a daily basis, which ensures a better experience for SAP BusinessObjects BI users and maintains readiness for future upgrades.

360Suite helps organizations comply with regulatory requirements (FISMA, SOX, HIPAA, GDPR, etc.) by providing an accurate picture of who can access various resources.

Finally, 360Suite empowers organizations to efficiently monitor, document, and secure Business Objects deployments.

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