SAP Business Objects Overview: Features, Benefits and Challenges Addressed

How do you help employees make faster and better decisions and increase their overall productivity?

By providing them with self-service access to the data and insight they need, no matter where the information resides. SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions help your people to be more effective in everything they do – helping boost overall productivity.

SAP BusinessObjects business intelligence (BI) solutions can empower your teams to achieve remarkable results by allowing anyone in your organization self-service access to relevant information — and by helping business users transform their decision making by providing fact-based, quality information regardless of where the data resides. SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions provide comprehensive functionality for the following:

  • Reporting and analysis
  • Dashboards
  • Data exploration
  • Mobile
  • BI platform


Business Object Technology

Business object technology and business object programming are based on the concept of “business objects”. Real world objects, for example an employee or a sales order, are modeled as business objects in business application systems, such as the R/3 System.

You can visualize the SAP Business Objects as “black boxes” that encapsulate R/3 data and business processes, thus hiding the details of the structure and implementation of the underlying data.

How it works?

Using the interface in the SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand solution, you can follow an intuitive process to upload a spreadsheet, bring in different data sources, and explore your data with the software’s unique search and browse functionality. The integrated solution lets you create accurate, timely dashboards and reports. That means you no longer need to pull together sales reports from various sources or manually create pivot tables, charts, and graphs. You can also perform ad hoc “what-if” analyses. And there’s no need to share spreadsheets and reports via e-mail or paper – instead, you can share the information online. Partner offerings for industry and business-specific uses are available.



To achieve this encapsulation, the SAP Business Objects are constructed as entities with multiple layers:

  • At the core of an SAP Business Object is the kernel, which represents the object’s inherent data.
  • The second layer, the integrity layer, represents the business logic of the object. It comprises the business rules and constraints that apply to the Business Object.
  • The third layer, the interface layer, describes the implementation and structure of the SAP Business Object, and defines the object’s interface to the outside world.
  • The fourth and outermost layer of a Business Object is the access layer, which defines the technologies that can be used to obtain external access to the object’s data, for example COM/DCOM (Component Object Model/Distributed Component Object Model).


Accessing Business Objects

As the image shows, the interface layer separates a Business Object’s data and the applications and technologies that can be used to access it. To the outside, the SAP Business Objects reveal only their interface, which consists of a set of clearly defined methods. Applications can only access the Business Object data by the object’s methods.

layers of SAP

An application program that accesses an SAP Business Object and its data only needs the information required to execute the methods. Therefore, an application programmer can work with the SAP Business Objects and invoke their methods without having to know or consider the object’s underlying implementation details.

The set of methods that is associated with a Business Object represents the object’s behavior. When a method is executed on a Business Object, the method can change the object’s internal state, that is, the object’s data.

For example, one method that you can use on the Business Object “Employee” is to “check for the employee’s existence”.

All SAP Business Object types and their methods are identified and described in the Business Object Repository (BOR).


Object Types and Object Instances

Each individual Business Object belongs to a specific object class, depending on the nature and general characteristics of the object. These object classes are called object types. For example, the individual employees working in an organization are all part of the “Employee” object type.

The object types are descriptions of the actual SAP Business Objects that can exist in R/3; that is, each individual SAP Business Object is a representation, or instance, of its object type. For example, the employee with the name Charles Jones and the employee number 1234 is an instance of the “Employee” object type.

When writing object-oriented application programs, application developers identify the object types that are to be used and operated on by their programs. At runtime, the application program accesses the specific instances of the defined object types.

When an instance of a Business Object is used by an application program, the object instance responds only to the set of characteristics and methods defined for its own object type. The SAP Business Object types are defined by the following:

  • Object type
    The object type describes the features common to all instances of that object type. This includes information such as the unique name of the object type, its classification, and the data model.
  • Key fields
    The key fields determine the structure of an identifying key, which allows an application to access a specific instance of the object type. The object type “Employee” and the key field “Employee.Number” are examples of an object type and a corresponding key field.
  • Methods 
    A method is an operation that can be performed on a Business Object and that provides access to the object data. A method is defined by a name and a set of parameters and exceptions, which can or must be provided by the calling program in order to use the method. BAPIs are examples of such methods.
  • Attributes
    An attribute contains data about a Business Object, thus describing a particular object property. For example, “Employee.Name” is an attribute of the “Employee” object type.
  • Events
    An event indicates the occurrence of a status change of a Business Object.
  • Interfaces
    Interfaces are groups of related methods associated with an object type.



With its cohesive, consolidated approach, industry powerhouse SAP BusinessObjects gives organizations a full set of tools to manage and optimize Business Intelligence. From a centralized portal, companies can handle everything from ETL and data cleansing to predictive dashboards and a variety of reports – Crystal Reports, OLAP, ad hoc and more.

  • Complete solution: Explore, report, and share all in a single, integrated offering
  • Powerful search and browse functionality: Supercharge searching and browsing to find the information you need
  • Combined data: Bring together data from several sources to create a single report for a complete view
  • Preconfigured, customizable templates: Create interactive visualizations, data sets, charts, and graphs
  • Ad hoc reporting: Perform what-if analysis
  • On-time reporting: Schedule and share data, reports, or dashboards online securely, inside or outside the organization
  • Intuitive interface: Accelerate learning and ramp up quickly
  • Free trial: Try it for free, then get the scalable, subscription-based solution
  • Security: Use folder-level security to limit access and help ensure data security
  • SaaS offering: Be up and running quickly without software or hardware installation
  • Streamline operations: Leverage a hosted data warehouse and development environment
  • Industry and business-specific offerings: Get solutions for industry and specific line-of-business uses through partners.



Few of the challenges addressed have been listed below:

  • Outdated or limited information available, hampering informed decision making
  • Lack of accessible or easy-to-use BI tools for business users
  • Limited availability of reports that provide a complete view of the business
  • Time-intensive, manual processes to consolidate data and create reports, charts, graphs and dashboards
  • Awkward processes to share information inside or outside the organization
  • Limited resources and budget for supporting BI



SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand is designed with the business user in mind. The software is free to try, and its scalable pricing model fits your needs and budget. Because it is offered as an SaaS solution, you can treat the software as an operational expense instead of a capital expenditure and be up and running without a lengthy technology project. SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand helps you provide immediate, anytime access to employees, customers, and partners. With access to the most current data, you can support users across all lines of business to make timely, data-driven decisions. And the solution’s folder-level security features help you share information safely.

  • Support for informed decision-making with intuitive exploration, reporting, and sharing
  • Affordable subscription-based SaaS solution supporting quick time to value
  • Short ramp up through an intuitive interface to help users learn and leverage the solution
  • Complete view of the business through the integration of information from multiple sources
  • Time savings with self-service BI and streamlined exploring, reporting, and sharing
  • Greater ability to access and analyze data without IT involvement
  • Faster and more collaborative decision making
  • Improved performance metric tracking
  • More accountability, with visibility into key performance indicators by line of business
  • Faster response times, when exceptions and events occur



In today’s volatile economy, you need solutions that can deliver the insight you need to understand your data, and use it to make better decisions. At the same time, you need functionality that can streamline your business processes and help you manage your enterprise – so you can focus on sustainable growth.

SAP BusinessObjects provides solutions for SMBs to large enterprises, and can be configured for a number of industries, including government entities, manufacturing and distribution, financial services, nonprofits and more.

The key advantage to SAP BusinessObjects is that the solution can grow with a company, allowing organizations to employ additional tools as necessary and eliminating the need to stitch together various disparate solutions that can result in a bulky, user-unfriendly system. SAP’s intuitive, standardized solution encourages high end-user adoption.

SAP BusinessObjects offers a mature, industry-leading solution for comprehensive Business Intelligence.

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