I am at Sapphire 2008 this week and yesterday I attended the Jumpstart session entitled "SAP and Business Objects: Understanding the new Business Intelligence Platform in Detail".  I think the attendance was more than they expected because the room was very full and they ran out of lunch boxes.  Having said that, it was a very good session and it was a positive that the attendance was high.  In the past, SAP and BOBJ have published their joint product roadmap but the session yesterday made many things clearer.  The main presenters were Dan Kearnan, Tanner Spalding, and Bobby Coates.  They also had Bryan Katis come in for about 45 minutes to talk about their Performance Management Roadmap – what they are now calling Performance Optimization Applications.

If you are at Sapphire, Dan will have a session today (Monday) at 3:45 that will give an overview of the Jumpstart session yesterday.

Dan gave a nice overview of the roadmap. A few things that I found interesting are that SAP customers will get a stripped down version of Cyrstal Reports called Crystal Light as part of the base SAP offering.  SAP and BOBJ are still trying to figure out what will be in Crystal Light and were quite open to hearing feedback from customers which is very good.  Of course, the customers that were in the room were all encouraging SAP to put as much into Crystal Light as possible because this will be a base offering and will not cost customers extra.

On the Performance Management front, it looks like the go forward platforms are the ones from Outlooksoft, Pilot and ALG.  While the offerings from INEA, Cartesis, and SRC are still supported, eventually the customers and any special functionality will migrate to the go forward platforms.  Of course, there is no overlap with SAP’s GRC product so it too will continue forward.  Performance Management is any area of heavy overlap between SAP and BOBJ and this rationalization was expected.

On the BIA front, one thing I found interesting was SAP BOBJ is considering how to use BIA to enhance performance of BOBJ Universes.  There has been a lot of talk about a standalone BIA.  I had assumed that this meant a BIA that was database like.  Using BIA to enhance the performance of BOBJ Universes is a great idea and would indicate BIA is more of a database accelerator that plugs into any data source.  Interesting idea.  I am hoping to attend more sessions on BIA this week and hopefully learn more.