Most enterprise organizations rely on large amounts of business data to complete tasks, analyze business performance, and make informed decisions for future business objectives, requiring intelligent data analysis, reporting, and visualization tools for better visibility into each data source.

SAP Business Intelligence (BI) allows organizations to combine critical business data from their enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain, E-commerce, and other internal and external data sources in one unified platform to facilitate data-driven decisions and drive better outcomes.

This article will discuss the main components and capabilities of the SAP BI system, how it enables data analysts and other business users to improve data management and visibility, and where our team of SAP consultants can come in to help.

What is SAP BI?

SAP Business Intelligence (BI) is a centralized suite of applications and software tools designed to improve data gathering, visualization, reporting, and sharing and help users transform business data into actionable insights on a single, scalable platform.

It offers real-time data access and self-service analytics capabilities to increase operational efficiency, improve decision-making, and maintain a competitive advantage in an ever-evolving business world.

Understanding Business Intelligence Tools

Here are a few of the most common business intelligence tools used in modern data landscapes:

BI Reporting

The BI reporting component allows users to create interactive reports that leverage comprehensive data summaries and visualizations, like graphs and charts, to visualize key usage trends over time and drill down into specific data sources to find more relevant information as needed.

Reports created in the SAP Business Intelligence suite are also fully-automated, meaning users can create, run, and send reports based on a predefined reporting schedule.

Data Preparation

Data preparation refers to the process of compiling multiple data sources in one location and preparing it for complete data analysis. With the data preparation component in the SAP BI suite, organizations can leverage extract, transform, and load (ETL) functionality to cleanse, organize, and load data into their existing data warehouse.

Interactive Dashboards

SAP BI dashboards leverage continually updated tables, charts, graphs, and other data visualizations to visualize performance in near-real-time and keep track of critical KPIs and metrics over time.

With complete and interactive dashboard functionality, BI users can create dashboards based on critical business activities, tailor each dashboard to meet requirements, and share with key stakeholders.


Querying tools enable users to ask and answer business questions in a single intuitive interface. With modern querying functionality in SAP BI, users can submit a query, such as “How many products were sold by X team on X date?,” and access on-demand answers to maintain business continuity and efficiency, no matter what.

Data Warehouse

Comprehensive data warehousing capabilities in SAP BI enable users to aggregate and store data from multiple internal and external sources in the same location and access critical data from other analytics tools across the technical landscape.


Online analytical processing (OLAP) functionality improves data discovery and visualization across critical business intelligence systems, enabling quicker, multidimensional analysis for large datasets stored in the data warehouse.

Business Intelligence vs. Business Analytics

Business intelligence and business analytics are typically used interchangeably but offer a different approach to data analysis based on specific business requirements or scenarios.

Business intelligence focuses on WHAT happened, and business analytics emphasizes WHY something happened, offering prescriptive and predictive analytics to prepare for what will happen next and create plans for future actions to ensure the best possible outcomes.

By focusing on two different aspects of the data analytics lifecycle, business intelligence analytics tools work together to provide diagnostic, descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics and create comprehensive data visualizations for multiple data sources in one intuitive interface.

Navigating the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Suite

The SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Suite offers various tools and applications for comprehensive data reporting, analytics, and visualization.

It enables organizations to extract insights from data, create interactive dashboards, and share business-critical information with stakeholders to enhance overall business performance.

Here are the main components of the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Suite:

Data Visualization and Analytics Tools

  • Utilize self-service visualization tools to consolidate critical information and analyze trends
  • Access role-based, interactive dashboards anytime, anywhere, and on any device
  • Share business insights with key stakeholders to improve decision-making across the organization
  • Assess overall business risk and identify critical areas of improvement and other growth opportunities

Comprehensive Reporting Tools

  • Leverage ad-hoc queries and comprehensive reporting functionality to visualize data trends and identify root causes for data management or analysis issues
  • Gain actionable insights into critical data to facilitate better business decisions
  • Access on-demand answers to ad-hoc queries and easily share with other business users
  • Establish robust connections with enterprise reporting tools to improve the overall business intelligence strategy

Integration with Microsoft Office

  • Connect SAP and Microsoft Office tools to filter, manage, manipulate, and store data efficiently
  • Utilize embedded analytics in Microsoft PowerPoint to share discoveries with key stakeholders
  • Leverage real-time analytics to identify trends and outliers to improve overall data management
  • Conduct large-scale data analysis to discover business insights and forecast future data trends through the Microsoft Excel platform
  • Integrate SAP HANA, SAP Business Warehouse, and SAP BI tools with critical areas of the Microsoft ecosystem, like PowerPoint, Power BI, and Excel

Main Advantages of SAP Business Intelligence (BI) Tools

Here’s a closer look at the main advantages of the SAP BI tool for business users:

Data Visibility and Accessibility:

SAP BI tools allow business users to access a wide range of data sources, including structured, unstructured, internal, and external business data.

Users can quickly access, analyze, and visualize data from various systems, databases, and applications, allowing for a more comprehensive view of business information and better decision-making.

Data Analysis and Reporting:

With SAP BI solutions, business users can create interactive and customizable reports and dashboards. Intelligent, self-service data analysis tools empower users to perform ad-hoc data analysis, create visualizations, build reports, and extract valuable insights without relying on IT or data specialists.

Real-time and Historical Insights:

SAP BI tools support both real-time and historical data analysis, allowing users to track current business performance and access historical data to identify patterns and make more informed decisions. With real-time data insight and integration capabilities, organizations can ensure critical business insights are accurate and current.

Data-driven Decision-Making:

By providing accurate, timely, and relevant information, the SAP BI Suite enables business users to make informed decisions that span various business areas, including finance, sales, marketing, supply chain, and more. This way, users can react quickly to market changes, optimize data management processes, and identify opportunities for future business growth.

Improved Collaboration:

SAP BI tools often come with collaboration features that allow business users to share reports, dashboards, and insights with key stakeholders, promoting data-driven decision-making and ensuring insights are communicated effectively within the organization.

How Can We Help?

Whether you need help leveraging the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer tool to sift through large volumes of data across your organization, gaining real-time insights by connecting with SAP HANA and SAP Business Warehouse, or just getting started with SAP solutions, Surety Systems can help.

Our senior-level, US-based SAP consultant team has the knowledge, skills, and experience to handle all your critical project needs and help you maximize your investment in the long run.

Plus, with their proven track record of success, you can guarantee your projects will be completed on time, within budget, and according to your own terms, no matter what.

Getting Started with Our Team

Interested in learning how SAP Business Intelligence tools can help you transform your raw data into comprehensive reports and improve business decisions across teams? Ready to get started on a project with our team of expert SAP consultants?

Contact us today!