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SAP Business Objects Architecture

Architecture is key for all Business Intelligence applications. BI applications tend to sit in the "middle of everything”: operational applications like ERP and CRM-systems, data warehouse(s) and applications to support the other business processes like PLM, MDM, ... . This means there are a lot of "interfaces” to be set up and managed. The way you architect this and the choices you make highly matter. 

The above is even more true for SAP Business Objects Business Intelligence. Amongst others, due to the fact 2 mature technologies were brought together and are being integrated. Virtually all components in an architecture – ranging from infrastructure to security setup – are present in both SAP and Business Objects. Of course the obvious question then pops up: what component from which stack best serves my needs ? 

Lets take Security Architecture as an example. What components make up a security architecture ? There are several ways to look at this. For SAP Business Objects BI, we at element61 classify them into 4 areas:

  • Login into an application - Authentication
    Can we reuse user administration from a third party tool, like for example Windows Active Directory or LDAP. And do we integrate this user administration information in SAP BW or directly in the SAP Business Objects Enterprise (or both) ?
           
  • Data security
    There are several data stores from which your BI tools will fetch data. Whether it's a data warehouse, an operational data store, the operational application itself, some data cubes … they most likely have security rules defined within. User X belongs to group Y and can only see part of the data of data set Z. With SAP Business Objects Enterprise on top of these, do I need to copy my security or can I inherit it in some way ? Does pulling all data into SAP BW give me the solution ?
           
  • Network security
    In whatever BI architecture – if it is client server or web based – data is going over a network. How do we organize this so it lives up to your companies security standards ? Do we use SSL ? What role do firewalls play ? Do we need reverse proxies ? 
           
  • Security within the Application itself
    Both the Business Explorer and the Business Objects Enterprise suite have an extensive arsenal of security features, that can be used to ensure the correct security & data access rules.
Finally, you best don't decide on these 4 aspects independently, they interact not only with each other but also with other aspects of Enterprise Architecture. This includes 
  • infrastructure: how many servers do I need, what's their configuration, … 
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  • release management: how do I transport validated "units” from one platform to another ? (Not to be confused with the concept of "SAP transports”) 
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  • scalability: if my end user community doubles, can my BI solution still follow… 

element61 has proven experience in general aspects of BI architecture and specific, applied knowledge for a combined SAP Business Objects architecture. 

Consult us to define together an appropriate architecture for your own environment.