At Sapphire this year, the big announcement from SAP was the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer.  Since the SAP acquisition of the Business Objects company, one of the major product integrations that has been publicly discussed has been the Polestar and BWA – Business Warehouse Accelerator (formerly called BIA – Business Intelligence Accelerator). The first time I saw this demo was at the Business Objects Field/Partner Kick-off in January 2008. Well, they are now saying the product will be available shortly and has been officially named the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer. If you haven't seen it, it is a slick product for ad-hoc query and analysis. It has a Google-like simple interface for entering your English language queries and it works on the underlying TREX engine from SAP which significantly boosts the performance of BW. You can query billions of records in seconds.

The keynotes from Sapphire are available online and you can see the demos they had: http://www.sap.com/community/events/sapphire_online_2009/index.epx.

I also attended a session with Dan Kearnan from SAP where the key points about the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer were:
– Combines a BI interface for simple, fast, and very intuitive information search & exploration solution built on top of SAP BW Accelerator
– Fast data exploration of very large information to quickly answer questions and find root cause
– For the casual information worker whose needs for BI have been underserved by traditional BI tools
– Make IT successful – scale to thousands of casual business users with very low TCO

Also, in his slides, Dan called this a 'BI Appliance'.  I understood this to mean that the BWA/Explorer combination was the BI Appliance which then sat on top of your existing SAP BW system.

Then, it got more interesting because Dan spoke about Wave 2 which he called a 'Source Agnostic BI Appliance' and which he said was coming at the end of 2009. The key points for the Wave 2 were:
– Source-agnostic, high performance, stand-alone ‘appliance’ based on SAP BW Accelerator technology fronted by SAP BusinessObjects BI
– End-to-end SAP BusinessObjects BI capabilities fully integrated
– Built-in analytical capabilities and write-back/planning services
– Not a replacement or SAP BW as an enterprise data warehouse but suitable for departmental, LOB BI initiatives

The diagram included with Wave 2 showed that the BWA would connect to any data source using the Data Integrator product.  However, connectivity to BW would be direct.  I would assume that the BWA would then integrate the data coming from BW and coming via the Data Integrator product.