360Suite, a must for SAP BI customers

360 Suite, or how to save  time and money, is a must for all SAP BI customers

Working for a Financial company, we had to upgrade from BO XI 3.1 to the new SAP BI 4.1.x platform. It was a huge project as we had to migrate around 1'500 DeskI reports to WebIntelligence… The biggest time consuming was the reports comparison. Each report has been exported as PDF and as CSV on both platform.  Both files have been compared using existing a files comparison tool… As soon as a difference has been found, the required correction has been deployed and the comparison process done a second time…

After this big migration project, the users, who saw all the problems we can have after any changes in the BI environment, wanted to increase the security  of their BI Platform by having a comparison and a validation process as soon as it give any changes on the new BI Platform. It means  that for each universes changes, for each database changes, which include any changes in the Database structure and/or a database upgrade, and of course for each SAP BI 4.1 Service Pack and Fix Patch deployment , the whole comparison process should be executed before we can get their 'Go live approval'…

We made several investigation to find the easiest way to automate the comparison process… After several analysis, we took contact with GB&Smith to get more information regarding their 360Suite. What was the surprise when they start to speak about 360Bind… after a quick demo, we were able to see all the potential of this product.

Also, we requested a trial key to test 360Bind on our environment, and as we planned to deploy the SAP BI 4.1 SP7 in 

production, we had a very good environment to make the POC, before moving to this new BI 4.1 version.

After having deployed 360Bind on our environment, we were able to run our first comparison of 10 documents after only 20 minutes ! Again we were surprised when the tools returned 3 documents with differences…  

Before using 360Bind, these 10 documents were successfully compared and validated by the users, which went thru the comparison process in place. Nobody were able to see any differences… The reason is easy to understand, an extraction from the data was made and successfully compared. The PDF comparison was fine and the last visual comparison was not able to highlight any differences as well… (note that each documents contained multiple queries and have at least 10 tabs each…)

As mentioned, 360Bind was able to find differences, but only in 1 or 2 tabs from each report… After having analysed the reports more in detail, we were able to find the differences and here… surprise… 360Bind was able to find a Bug in BI 4.1 SP7 !

The result of the PCO was presented to the users. Their reaction was unanimous:  360Bind would significantly increase the efficiency and reduce the operational risk of user's testing of the BI Reports as soon as it give a BI Platform, Universe, Database or server upgrade. As they realized that the ROI is extremely short, they all confirm that they will fully support the purchase of the tool.

Once 360Bind  has been deployed, we had to answer to few new questions. What, where, how, when and by who are used a specific SQL fields, universe's objects, reports … 

We tried first to use the BI Audit database, but we were not able to fully answered to the questions. Again we had a look on the GB&Smith's solution, and again they were  able to help us really quickly. The proposed solution gave us the possibility to reply to all our users requests and much more.

Also, with GB&Smith its support, we installed 360Eyes. Once the tool installed and the jobs started and completed we were able after 1 hour to find all required information: is the SQL Field (or the universe's object) used, In which report is it used, from which universe does it come…

When we saw all the information which have been collected, we made further analysis from our BI Environment. The reports package which are delivered with the tools is extremely useful. 360Eyes is able to highlight identical or similar report (Same query, same parameters). Just with this report, we were able to find that we have quite a lot a similarity. Then, we tried another report, which highlight the objects usage, again we were surprise to see that for some universes, between 30-40% of the objects are not used !

Based on just this 2 analysis, we were agreed that a clean-up is really recommended. This tasks should simplify quite a lot the reports and the universes maintenance.

To conclude, we were frustrated that we didn't got both tools (360Bind and 360Eyes) 2 years ago when we started the migration from BO XI 3.1 to SAP BI 4.1. By using the tools earlier we had probably saved quite a lot of time.

But it's never to late… Today, 360Bind and 360Eyes will help us for all future changes in our BI Environment. The business users a more than happy: as we can greatly reduce the operational risk, save quite a lot of their time and as we can now quickly reply positively to all their questions.

With 360Suite and 360Eyes, we can guaranty that you, and your BI Users, will never be frustrated. We highly recommend these tools.

To the GB&Smith web page.


© Eric Egea 2019