SAP Netweaver Business Intelligence (SAP BI) is the name of the Business Intelligence, analytical, reporting and Data Warehousing solution produced by SAP AG, It was originally named SAP BIW (Business Information Warehouse), then abbreviated to SAP BW, but is now known as "SAP BI" at the end user level. In contrast, "BW" is still used to describe the underlying Data Warehouse Area and Accelerator components. It is often used by companies who run their business on SAP's operational systems.
It may be helpful to consider layers that make up the structure of SAP's BI solution:
SAP's BI solution has a very pervasively employed data warehouse, and contains a large number of pre-defined business content in the form of InfoCubes, Info Objects, authorization roles, and queries. Benefits of this approach include the ability to leverage SAP's experience and to reduce implementation cycles. The pre-defined business content can be modified to meet an organization's specific requirements.
SAP BI is part of the SAP NetWeaver technology stack. Other components of SAP NetWeaver include SAP Enterprise Portal (EP, called SAP NetWeaver Portal as of Release 7.0), Web Application Server (WAS), SAP Process Integration (PI, or previously XI, i.e. eXchange Infrastructure) and Master Data Management (MDM). It also includes end-user reporting tools such as Report Designer, BEx Query Designer, and BEx Analyzer.
The 7.0 version of SAP BI was released in June 2006 as part of the SAP NetWeaver 7.0 (aka 2004s). This new release includes many new features, such as next-generation reporting and analytical features, major data warehousing enhancements, and a memory resident option for improving query performance called "BI Accelerator" (it has since been re-named BW Accelerator). The BW Accelerator comes as an external applicance, i.e. complete hardware with pre-installed software, and requires a separate licence fee. BW Accelerator is licenced per blade server and 16 GB increments of memory.
Recently SAP acquired Business Objects, one of the premier business intelligence software providers. SAP has indicated that Business Objects will operate as an independent entity to preserve the principle of application agnosticism, but also promised a tighter integration between SAP BI and Business Objects. A new BI roadmap was recently released by the combined entity.
According to SAP, more than 12,000 installations of SAP's BI solution exist.[@more@]
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