The SAP BusinessObjects (BO) Business Intelligence (BI) Suite (SAP BI) is part of SAP’s on-premises BI portfolio, which incorporates various end-user business intelligence tools with a moderate level of integration. The suite contains a few strong individual products for reporting as well as several clients for various types of analysis. It also offers good capabilities for building customized guided BI applications that can be published to the web or mobile devices.

SAP was founded in 1972 as a business applications company. With 101,150 employees worldwide and a turnover of €27.6 billion, SAP is now one of the largest business software vendors in the world. Its portfolio of analytics solutions encompasses cloud-based and on-premises solutions for business intelligence, augmented analytics and planning.

SAP launched its packaged SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) date warehouse solution, which included a ROLAP Engine and front-end components, in the late 1990s. To support a broader user spectrum than was possible with SAP BEx (the SAP BW front ends), the vendor acquired Business Objects in 2007 and complemented it with the self-developed SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Microsoft Office (SAP AfO) and SAP Lumira. All of them are packaged together as SAP BusinessObjects BI platform.

SAP BO BI is based on a three-tiered architecture. Data modeling, settings for security and data access and metadata storage all happen in the solution’s central administration tools. SAP BO BI supports access to both multidimensional and relational data sources.

The SAP BO BI platform incorporates various front-end products. Some of these modules are web-based and can be opened from SAP’s BI Launchpad, the BI Portal. The full client front-end tools are SAP Crystal Reports Designer, SAP Lumira Designer, SAP Analysis for Office and SAP BO Web Intelligence (also available as a web client). The suite also includes further administration full client tools such as the Information Design Tool for creating Universes.

User & Use Cases

Customer data clearly shows that SAP BO BI is mostly used by large companies in mid-sized to large deployments. The typical usage scenarios reflect the fact that most of the responses we received in this year’s BI Survey came from Web Intelligence and Analysis for Office users. In fact, the various SAP BO BI platform modules can be used for a range of scenarios including ad hoc reporting/query, standard/enterprise, dashboard/BI application building and analysis.

The list of rival solutions evaluated in competition with SAP BO BI reveals one of its weaknesses: the lack of a mature business-user-oriented data discovery solution. SAP Analytics Cloud is the vendor’s recommended product for data discovery tasks.

Current vs. planned use


5 products most often evaluated in competition with SAP BO BI


Percentage of employees using SAP BO BI


Number of users using SAP BO BI


Tasks carried out with SAP BO BI by business users


Company size (number of employees)


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Peer Groups Large global enterprise BI platforms, Large international BI vendors
Number of responses115
ProductSAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Suite (SAP BO BI Suite)
OfficesOffices in more than 130 countries worldwide
Customers> 437,000 (in total, not only BI customers)
Revenues (2019)€ 24.74 billion