BusinessObjects XI Release 2 For Dummies
BusinessObjects may seem like a dauntingly complex topic, but properly preparing for an install or upgrade to BusinessObjects XI Release 2 can make for a more positive experience. You can successfully manage your system by knowing how to handle security and access rights among users, and if you run into any issues, there are available online resources to help you.
Installation and Upgrade Considerations for BusinessObjects
You need to take into account some considerations before you start using BusinessObjects — or even installing it on your own machine. By laying the groundwork and doing your homework ahead of time, you can (potentially) save yourself a lot of time and avoid a lot of headaches.
Here are some things to keep in mind when installing or upgrading to BusinessObjects XI Release 2:
Pick the right computer
This applies to anyone who is planning to install BusinessObjects locally or who isn't planning on running the installation on a dedicated computer.
Ideally, you should host BusinessObjects XI Release 2 only on a dedicated server. BusinessObjects should run on a powerful computer whose sole mission is to run BusinessObjects for your organization.
Okay, you've heard this before, but take the necessary precautions to guarantee that your installation will work. Here's a quick checklist:
Make sure that you're using a powerful processor that is in line with BusinessObjects' minimum requirements.
Keep extra RAM on board to ensure better performance. If you're buying a new computer these days, the standard seems to be 4GB. Even if the minimum requirements for installing BusinessObjects are significantly lower, it's recommended to have a higher amount of RAM. You can never have too much memory.
Keep a significant amount of hard-drive space free for your installation. For example, if you were installing BusinessObjects XI Release 2 on a spare PC, it's recommended you buy an extra disk (even an external USB drive works) and dedicate it to BusinessObjects.
You'll have to store all of the documents that your users create, too!
Make sure that you have the proper malware applications, as well as an active firewall. To cover your malware protection, use an antivirus and anti-spyware combination for complete coverage.
Use a computer that you can leave turned on continually. BusinessObjects XI Release 2 requires continual uptime so others can access applications — such as InfoView — so you'll want to use a computer that not only can be left on continually but also has continual Internet connection. Otherwise, when your host computer is off, your colleagues can't use BusinessObjects.
Before you attempt to install BusinessObjects XI Release 2 on any computer, be sure to perform a full backup of your entire computer. Even if you're performing a full installation on a new hard drive on your computer, perform a backup of all other media drives and their files.
You certainly don't want to take any unnecessary risks of data loss; computer backups are relatively quick and easy to perform.
Are you upgrading?
If you're an existing BusinessObjects user who is simply new to XI Release 2, there are some extra concerns that you should think about prior to integrating BusinessObjects XI Release 2. Here's a short list:
Everyone in your organization who runs Desktop Intelligence locally must upgrade to BO XI R2. Migration is an all-or-nothing deal — either everyone upgrades or things get ugly fast.
If you've saved any BusinessObjects or Web Intelligence documents, you need to upgrade them (in DeskI or WebI) to BO XI R2. You can do this using the Import Wizard tool.
After you upgrade a document, it cannot be used retroactively with any earlier version of BusinessObjects.
If you're administrating the upgrade, think about upgrading everyone's personal documents and InfoView Inbox documents. Neither of those groups migrates automatically; each requires your guidance in order to happen correctly.
Though there are many similarities between this release of BusinessObjects and earlier releases, throw out your preconceived notions of how the upgrade should occur. To make the most out of BusinessObjects XI Release 2, remain flexible and be prepared to adapt with the application.
The BusinessObjects Security Model
BusinessObjects XI Release 2 provides a pretty complex suite of reporting, query and analysis, and performance-management tools. Such a broad range of products clearly has to cater to the needs of a variety of different user profiles, while at the same time handling security and access rights that become ever more complex as your system grows. You need a clear understanding of the BusinessObjects XI R2 security model and how it lets you manage what users can and cannot do.
Three key concepts you need to retain when thinking about the BusinessObjects security model are objects, groups, and users:
Objects: Objects lie at the heart of the BusinessObjects system. In BusinessObjects XI R2, objects can include reports, Web Intelligence documents, Microsoft Office files (Word, Excel, or PowerPoint), Adobe Acrobat PDFs, text files, hyperlinks, folders, and more.
Groups: A group is a logical grouping of individuals who all require similar rights and permissions. Combining them in this way allows you to make any changes to their rights and permissions in one place instead of having to modify each user's account individually.
Examples of groups could include specific roles (such as the group of people responsible for designing BusinessObjects universes) or particular departments or teams (such as managers in the Accounts Department).
Users: A user is each individual person who needs to interact with the BusinessObjects system in some way.
Online BusinessObjects Resources
As you start using BusinessObjects XI Release 2 Enterprise suite, you may find the following websites to be a good list of references to have by your side as you begin to navigate through the world of business intelligence tools.
The BusinessObjects website
When you're looking to learn more about any product, be it a piece of software or a car or a washing machine, one of your first ports of call should undoubtedly be the manufacturer's website.
From BusinessObjects you can download official product documentation, find out how other people are using BusinessObjects products, discover more about the different aspects of business intelligence, and (if all else fails) even contact customer support.
Needless to say, the main aim of the site is to sell BusinessObjects products, but it also contains some useful information underneath the marketing sheen.
SAP Community Network
One particularly useful section of the BusinessObjects website is the SAP Community Network, which is the official BusinessObjects community site (SAP acquired BusinessObjects in 2007). It features forums, developer resources, product news, tips and tricks, together with a series of specific portals for some of the company's main products, including Web Intelligence.
BOB: BusinessObjects Board
If you don't want the official word, but would rather ask questions and share information with other users of the BusinessObjects suite who aren't afraid to point out when (and why) things are going wrong, and who can often provide ways around even the thorniest of problems, then the BusinessObjects Board is the place for you.
BusinessIntelligence.com provides a host of material covering the many facets of business intelligence as a whole, rather than focusing solely on the products in the BusinessObjects suite.
The site features numerous short articles, opinion pieces, and news stories, and also offers more in-depth white papers for download (although to access these you have to register with the site).
ITtoolbox Business Intelligence Knowledge Base
Like Business Intelligence.com, the BI corner of the ITtoolbox Knowledge Base is a gold mine of information on every aspect of the field of Business Intelligence. One of its strengths lies in the way it breaks down its information by topic, and the fact that it includes a specific BusinessObjects section, making it much easier to find stuff that is of direct relevance to BusinessObjects.
Business Intelligence Network
If you can get past the packed home page, and the cutesy URL, the Business Intelligence Network is a great site for Business Intelligence news, thanks to the sheer mass of information it provides about the world of BI.