SAP Business Explorer (BEx)

SAP is the world’s largest business application provider. Its original business intelligence strategy was to view BI as an extension to its all-inclusive ERP offerings. This was in line with SAP’s general long-term policy of offering all-inclusive enterprise software.

SAP BW, a data warehouse management tool, and BEx, the BI front-ends, were the core products of the former SAP Business Intelligence Suite.

The two products offer a multidimensional data model and an ad hoc reporting tool for Excel as well as a development environment for creating Web applications. BEx is now in maintenance mode but is still heavily used by SAP customers.

In 2007, SAP shifted to a strategy of acquisitions to meet the needs of its customers, acquiring three BI and performance management vendors in the course of 12 months: Business Objects, Outlooksoft and Pilot Software. With the Business Objects acquisition, SAP acquired one of the broadest BI tool portfolios in the industry.

Today, SAP provides solutions for a broad set of BI usage scenarios. Based on their preferences, customers can choose between two portfolios: on-premise or in the cloud. On-premise, the vendor sells former Business Objects products plus some SAP-developed products such as SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio.

In the cloud, a newly developed BusinessObjects cloud solution was launched in 2015. It is positioned as a single integrated product for BI, performance management, predictive analytics and GRC.

User & Use Cases

SAP BW and its BEx front ends, which are now in maintenance mode, are mostly seen in larger scenarios. BEx is mainly used to query data in BW and to produce standardized formatted reports. 79 percent also use the BEx front ends for basic data analysis. Besides BI features, BW also provides planning capabilities, which are used by 52 percent of respondents.

The product serves a median of 500 users in customer organizations, although the reported mean of 2,623 users indicates that it’s also used in much larger deployments.

73 percent of respondents state that they acquired SAP BEx as part of a bundle, reflecting the fact that the BW platform is comprised of ETL capabilities, data storage and modeling features as well as front ends to analyze the data.

Current vs. planned use

N = 92

5 products most often evaluated in competition with SAP BEx

N = 238

Percentage of employees using SAP BEx

N = 88

Licensing models

N = 73

Number of users using SAP BEx

N = 82

Tasks carried out with SAP BEx by business users

N = 82

Company size (number of employees)

N = 91

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SAP Business Explorer (BEx)

Peer Groups Large enterprise BI platforms, Large international BI vendors, OLAP analysis-focused products
VendorSAP SE
Number of responses92
Revenues (2015)€20.8 billion (FY 2015)