Panorama Software cozies up to SAP, announces support for Business Warehouse
Analyst: Krishna Roy
Sector: Enterprise Software »»
Date: 31 Mar 2006
· Having built a business providing a BI front end for the Analysis Services OLAP engine in SQL Server 2005, Panorama now wants to create a second revenue stream by providing the same functionality for SAP Business Warehouse.
· SAP's InfoCube star schema architecture will be the first to be integrated with Panorama's middle-tier NovaView server, followed by the rest of BW. Panorama will also provide Office 2007 integration for BW and deliver NovaView for SAP by August.
· Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion, MicroStrategy, Applix and some smaller players already provide some sort of integration with BW, NetWeaver and its portal, although it's mainly through packaged adapters.
The 451 take
Panorama originally developed Analysis Services and sold it to Microsoft in 1996, which is the reason it's been able to provide such tight integration with SQL Server. Whether it can do the same for Business Warehouse – a notoriously closed environment – remains to be seen. BW's ubiquity has mainly come about because it's bundled, often free of charge, with SAP's extensive application portfolio. SAP's BI tools have always worked far better in SAP environments than in heterogeneous environments. So any vendor that supplies the latter is going to thrive. We feel the other motivation for the BW port is Microsoft. It's moving further into Panorama's territory as it begins delivering more SQL Server-based analytic tools starting with Office 2007.
Having focused solely on Microsoft SQL Server as the database that drives its NovaView business intelligence (BI) platform, Panorama Software is now aligning with SAP. It will deliver a version of its NovaView server for SAP BW and its InfoCube star schema architecture by August. Executives report that SAP customers are thirsty for more direct connectivity to data inside BW, and have tried other competitive BI toolsets that claim to support BW but haven't cut the mustard. SAP customers are also reportedly struggling with performance and scalability issues when using BW's InfoCubes, which Panorama plans to remedy.
As a middle-tier server, NovaView effectively enhances the performance of the underlying analytic server through features such as advanced caching, connection pooling and query optimization. It also enables application sharing at the data level and provides a single console for security and management. These features will be brought to BW –although Panorama is also filling functional gaps in BW such as a lack of native exception management features. The startup will also handle Office 2007 integration with BW for those that want to use it as a desktop BI package without buying Analysis Services. The next release of Microsoft Office is being built to be fully integrated with Analysis Services. NovaView recently gained NetWeaver and SAP Enterprise Portal certification.
BW is emerging as the warehouse BI vendors want to support. This isn't surprising, since it stores a lot of the data used in performance management and operational reporting – two big growth areas. NovaView for SAP will compete directly with SAP's own Business Explorer for reporting and analysis sold with BW. Hyperion Solutions has an adapter to enable BW to talk to its Essbase OLAP server; it also has an adapter suite to pull SAP data into the latest System 9 all-in-one BI and performance management suite.
Cognos is aggressively courting SAP shops with the latest Report Packs for SAP. Cognos Series 8 sports better integration with NetWeaver, its Web application server and NetWeaver portal. SAP customers also use Cognos' ReportNet tool to import metadata from BW and integrate it with non-SAP data. Business Objects has a Crystal-based enterprise reporting platform for reporting on SAP data; its XI platform also supports SAP. Applix and MicroStrategy have recently improved SAP support.