SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence

SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence

[The BI Survey 18 results, not included in The BI Survey 19] SAP BusinessObjects (BO) Web Intelligence (WebI) is an ad hoc query and interactive reporting solution available as a web (Java/HTML) and rich client. WebI is part of the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform (SAP BO BI). The suite incorporates various end user BI tools for different usage scenarios.

SAP was founded in 1972 by five former IBM employees but really came into prominence in the 1990s with the ERP boom. Its ERP solution (R/3) was first released in 1992. The vendor employs over 93,000 people worldwide and has a turnover of over € 22 bn. It is one of the largest business software vendors in the world.

At the end of the 1990s, SAP started to offer BI products with its packaged solution SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) which included besides data storage also front-end components (e.g. SAP BEx). To support a broader user spectrum as it was possible with the SAP BW front ends, the vendor acquired Business Objects in 2007 and complemented the portfolio by additional, self-developed BI products like SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office and SAP Lumira. All of them were packaged as SAP BusinessObjects BI platform.

Web Intelligence is part of SAP BO BI, which is based on a three-tiered architecture. Data modeling, settings for security and data access and metadata storage all take place in the solution’s central administration tools.

Until 2018 SAP claimed to be following a dual analytics strategy with its front ends, which was aimed at delivering continued innovations for on-premises solutions while building new cloud solutions. However, this year was a significant one for SAC as it was named as SAP’s strategic data discovery product. At the same time, SAP set its BusinessObjects BI suite, including all related components (SAP Crystal Reports, SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office and SAP Lumira) on maintenance by ensuring support beyond 2024 as well as the release of SAP BO BI 4.3 in 2019. The roadmaps for SAC and SAP BO BI clearly show that all functional innovation will go into SAC while any improvements to SAP BO BI are likely to be of a more technical nature.

WebI is an ad hoc query and reporting solution aimed at business users. WebI documents are created via a web-based or a rich client application and can be published in a portal. New documents are based on Universes, free-hand SQL queries, BEx queries, HANA views, Analysis Views (a data query sharing option between some of the SAP BO BI clients) and local files. A new document can contain more than one query (data provider) that can be synchronized (merge capability) at the client side.

User & Use Cases

WebI is a product for ad hoc reporting and query, targeted at business users. 92 percent use it for standard/enterprise reporting and 88 percent for ad hoc query. The tasks business users typically carry out using WebI indicate that only a few users create reports but the majority view them. 95 percent of respondents (compared to The BI Survey average of 91 percent) view the information provided by WebI.

WebI’s business user orientation is underlined by the fact it often competes against other products with a focus on business users. Like other products in the SAP BO BI suite, WebI has good traction in large usage scenarios. Its user numbers (median: 200; mean: 919) and the finding that 64 percent of the companies using the product have over 2,500 employees support this assertion.

Current vs. planned use


5 products most often evaluated in competition with SAP BO Web Intelligence


Percentage of employees using SAP BO Web Intelligence


Number of users using SAP BO Web Intelligence


Tasks carried out with SAP BO Web Intelligence by business users


Company size (number of employees)


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SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence

Peer Groups
Number of responses88
ProductSAP BO Web Intelligence
Customers404,000+ (not only BI)
Revenues (2017)€23.46 Billion (FY 2017)