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Planning your BI4 Upgrade

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Upgrade Series


Whether your deployment is big or small, upgrading to BI 4 should be treated as a project. Planning is the most important element of your upgrade project.

Things to consider

When you plan your upgrade, consider the following items and include them in the upgrade process.

Skills and Enablement

Although BI platform 4 is compatible with most existing BI content and its design is similar to XI 3.1, there are some fundamental differences in user and administrator roles:

  • For IT departments and administrators, differences exist in platform design. For instance the grouping of processes in the APS, the mobile server, or the built-in SAP integration means that existing installation, deployment and tuning processes need to be revised. Training, hands-on discovery, and update of existing procedures is also necessary.

  • Business Intelligence developers should review existing BI clients and note any changes in their typical workflows. While most changes are intuitive improvements over previous releases, an adaptation period should be expected. Going forward, BI developers must evaluate new BI clients and their capabilities in order to take advantage of the full value of the platform.

  • The end-user experience has been revamped across the entire suite, modernizing it and improving productivity of most common workflows. However, these changes will require an adjustment period. It is recommended that these changes are evaluated directly (with business users who may need help) and then included in a roll-out plan.

Scope and Methodology

BI 4 offers various upgrade options, from a full system copy to incremental upgrades. Your strategy will depend on your organization's technical and business requirements. Your upgrade assessment must account for factors such as the size of your existing deployment, the time zones it serves, how many users and BI applications run on it, or how much downtime the business can cope with.

Smaller environments that serve a few hundred users are more likely to be candidates for a full system upgrade. However, some smaller organizations still prefer to use a staged upgrade due to the business-critical nature of BI.

Important: In terms of scope, it is not necessary to simultaneously perform a platform upgrade (sometimes called a technical upgrade) and modify your existing BI applications (for example, to implement new features) in the same project. The two tasks should be performed as different projects in order to manage scope and risk.

Architecture and Sizing

Because of changes in the BI platform, such as the adoption of 64-bit support and new capabilities such as monitoring or analysis, you must plan a revised sizing and architecture blueprint. Planning and executing this task early in the upgrade process will allow for proper provisioning of new infrastructure to support BI 4.

Note: Some degree of server tuning will be necessary even for your sandbox or development environments, in order to process some of your existing large reports.

Testing and Validation

Additional investment in testing reduces risk. Your upgrade plan should include multiple stages of testing:

  • Sandbox BI 4 platform and clients discovery with a number of BI artifacts
  • Iterations of dry-run upgrades for security and BI applications
  • Functional test of the dry-run applications
  • First-pass IT test of security and content after an application is upgraded to the test environment
  • Second-pass user acceptance test by the business in the test environment
  • Final user validation after the application is moved from a test system to a production system

User acceptance should cover all business-critical analytics (typically, executive dashboards and operational reports) and a good sample of BI applications across the different report structures that are used typically.

Impacted IT processes

The following table summarizes the IT processes that may be impacted by the upgrade process. Actual impact will depend on the degree to which these processes rely on the BI Platform infrastructure in own business.

AdministrationOperationsApplication Development

Architecture Design


Upgrade Process

Promotion Management Process

Portal and Customization

Setup and Configuration


Backup and Restore Procedures

Tracing and Diagnosis

Auditing and Monitoring

Update and Patching Process

Choice of a Client Tool

Data Federation

Access to SAP BW

OpenDocument and Drill-Through

Portal and Workspaces

SDK-Based Applications

Secure your success

It is important to engage SAP or a Partner because of the scale of changes and innovations introduced by the upgrade. You should engage the following four parties in the early stages of the process, before you determine your scope and draft a plan:

Your Account Team (for instance, account manager, global account director, client partner)

These individuals are your first connection to SAP. They will support your success even if you have no immediate licensing plan. Your account team can help you discover new features in BI 4 and new business opportunities that these features enable. The account team can also help you with questions such as the following:

  • How can I run multiple systems without being out of compliance?
  • Is there an opportunity to convert existing licenses into a model that best supports my growth?
  • What are the implications of scaling up my hardware?
SAP Active Global Support

SAP support provides essential business continuity. Even older SAP BusinessObjects releases merit services included in their support contract, so it is important to keep up with the latest innovations in system monitoring and root cause analysis. Consider some of the following tasks:

  • Set up Support Services: Reach out to the Customer Interaction Center. Its representatives they can explain what services are available and how to best interact with support. For more information, see the Global Support Customer Interaction Brochure.
  • Enable remote supportability: Remote support is the best way to ensure seamless interaction and maximum efficiency in root cause analysis. You should include the deployment of supportability tools in your BI 4 upgrade plan. For more information, visit the Remote Supportability Portal.
  • Leverage your premium contract: Many additional services are available through premium support engagement. The support of a TQM throughout the upgrade project can be valuable. For more information, visit the Support Offerings Page.
SAP Services and SAP Partners

Each upgrade project is unique. In most cases, there is only one upgrade of a BI landscape to BI 4. The great amount of experience acquired by your team at the expense of your own project has a poor return on investment. Thus, even if you generally do not seek external help, you should consider engaging SAP services for your upgrade project. See this video for more information on SAP upgrade services.

Note: When you seek limited assistance, give priority to the areas discussed on this page: assessment, planning, sizing, and architecture.

Rapid Deployment SolutionsFrom best-practices, to pre-defined content and packaged services, our BI 4 Adoption RDS helps customers reduce time-to-value. Soon, the package will be extended with specific content for customers upgrading from previous SAP BusinessObjects releases.
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