Making peace with the enemy: SAP BusinessObjects Live Office XI 4.0

The most common scenario that I’ve  faced with so far, after quite some years giving BI pre-sales presentations and implementing BI systems for customers, has been that of meeting members of an overloaded IT department who direct their efforts into developing complex reports with BI tools for a group of business users who, in the end, will simply export the information delivered to them to an Excel sheet and work on it directly.

For decades, most BI vendors have tried to convince users to give up Excel sheets and instead work with more flexible and user friendly BI tools. But it’s an acknowledged fact that nowadays millions of people around the world use spreadsheets on a daily basis. The time has come for vendors to take off their blinders and to act upon what is happening. Already some have been readjusting their strategies and roadmaps, and have shifted towards accepting Excel as a presentation layer for data thereby providing the necessary integration with it.

This article is about how SAP BusinessObjects tackles this challenge and goes one step further in terms of tools integration thanks to the new features of the latest release XI 4.0.

With Live Office, it is possible to insert content from Web Intelligence, Crystal Reports and also Universe Queries directly into Microsoft Office documents (PowerPoint, Word, Excel or Outlook). Furthermore, when opening the very document at a later time, it is possible to refresh the embedded objects and retrieve up-to-date data in the document.

This is truly an advantageous solution and I have had the opportunity to use this technology with some customers, who continue employing their traditional form of reporting with an Excel sheet but can now combine this with error-free data obtained directly from their business systems.

In the latest release of Live Office, a new functionality loads the data selection of Microsoft Excel to SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, a flash-based tool that allows further analysis in a very visual and intuitive way. Moreover, the results from a completed analysis can also be downloaded to other applications, such as Outlook and PowerPoint to further the study or to simply send by email.

If you have any questions regarding Live Office XI 4.0 and its uses in a customer environment, feel free to leave a comment and I will follow up with you.