Power BI vs BusinessObjects: 7 Core Differences to Choose a Winner

In 2022, there will be a rise of hundreds and thousands of business intelligence tools in the market.

A business can fulfill all your business requirements and needs with a wide range of options. But it’s impossible to use multiple business intelligence tools for your business, right?

So, if we talk about the best business intelligence tools, SAP Business Objects and Microsoft Power BI are two of the standouts.

Based on Google Trends, Microsoft Power BI has more Google search queries than BusinessObjects, but that doesn’t mean one is superior. Earlier, we had discussed the difference between Power BI cloud vs on-premise. Today, we will discuss the difference between Power BI vs BusinessObjects in detail.

Microsoft Power BI vs SAP BusinessObjects

The first major difference between Power BI and BusinessObjects is that

check icon SAP BusinessObjects is an enterprise BI tool

check icon Power BI is a self-service data analytics tool

What does this difference highlight?

Have a look at the common features of these platforms.

Enterprise BI – SAP BusinessObjects Self-Service Analytics – Microsoft Power BI
  • The platform is managed by a central IT department.
  • The tool can be managed and procured within the organization’s department.
  • Enterprise BI platform supports the scaling up to thousands of users and delivers high-volume reports.
  • The users can blend and acquire data themselves with no external support.
  • It uses well-structured, rigid data models on top of the data warehouse.
  • It doesn’t require IT involvement and can be accessed using individuals’ desktops.
  • The users accessing the platform can be governed using browser-based tools.
  • The data sources of the tool include cloud data, desktop-based files, and semi-structured data.
  • It requires IT engagements to adjust because of the enterprise-grad data sources.
  • The tool’s usage is not limited to the sales or finance teams. The HR department can use it.
To boil it down, the Microsoft Power BI is ideal and focused on smaller businesses, departmental use, or businesses who want to try out a business intelligence tool for the first time.

But on the contrary, SAP BusinessObjects is a wide enterprise-scale BI platform that is ideal for established IT departments to use and explore its advanced functionalities.

The difference doesn’t restrict a small business from using SAP BusinessObjects or a large enterprise from using Microsoft Power BI. The usability of these tools depends upon different business and technical requirements that can change for businesses from time to time.

Now let’s explore the difference based on different scenarios in your business operations.

Major Differences Between Power BI vs SAP BusinessObjects

Here are the detailed differences between Power BI vs SAP Business Objects in the following section.

  1. Comparing Power BI and SAP BusinessObjects On The Basis of Integration

    SAP utilizes APIs for creating quality embeddable applications. It has a network of systems that enhance the software’s functionalities like testing, reporting, and scheduling.

    SAP advertises the ability of BusinessObject to integrate with Microsoft Office. The software also analyzes and accesses data from Excel. You can even connect SAP BusinessObject to PowerPoint and display the data in the presentations.

    Microsoft Power BI adds embeddable programs and data sources continuously. The leading applications that Power BI supports are Oracle, Google Analytics, Github, Salesforce, Facebook, and all Microsoft platforms.

    An experienced Power BI integration team can also build custom data connectors apart from hundreds of lists available.

  2. Comparing Power BI and SAP BusinessObjects On The Basis of Pricing

    Your budget can be a decisive factor once you want to select a powerful business intelligence tool for your business requirements. Because of the major difference between an enterprise-grade and self-service BI, a large gap can be witnessed in the pricing factor of these tools.

    Power BI Pricing Structure
    The Power BI has the lowest pricing point of $8.11 per user per month. You also get a Microsoft 365 E5 subscription offer in this Power BI Pro version for $52.04 per user per month.

    Power BI Pro provides individual licenses to its users to share and create reports based on their desired business requirements. You have a limited feature in the Pro version, restricting you from extracting the best out of the tool.

    The advanced version of Power BI Pro is Power BI Premium which can cost you a minimum of $16.34 per user per month. It also offers a per capacity per month pricing option of around $4075.32.

    The per-capacity version has multi-gro deployment management, on-premises reporting, and BYOK (Bring Your Own Key). The premium version of Power BI is ideal for sharing your created reports outside of your organization with no hassles.

    SAP BusinessObjects Pricing Structure
    The SAP BusinessObjects platform is an enterprise-grade BI with a starting price of $14,000 per year. The price can increase based on the types and number of licenses your organization wants.

    The license categories are divided into two:

    1. Concurrent licenses and
    2. User licenses based on the limitations on the no. of users who can access SAP BO at any given time

    The user license allows one user to access the tool at all times, and the concurrent session license can allow limited users at a given point in time. Your employees need to wait for others to log out if the concurrent sessions license is being used and the limit is triggered.

  3. Comparing SAP BusinessObjects and Power BI On The Basis of Analytics

    Power BI Analytics

    Source: Power BI

    You can manage relationships with customers using the software program provided by SAP. It helps businesses examine the performance of their finances and marketing strategies and streamline the supply chain.

    The SAP BO offers analytics that calculates the website’s profitability and the social media users who comment on the business. It also helps to track the visitors provided by the referring domain and the conversion rates of the traffic source. The system leverages the interaction data and generates heat maps of areas commonly clicked by the users.

    SAP calculates the percentage of the guest and pageviews of the returning users to the website, which helps in the analytics process.

    Talking Microsoft Power BI enables the users to create widgets, evaluate data, modify dashboards, and receive data from multiple sources. The system can help you calculate the inventory your business requires for a specific time duration based on the seasonal and historical traffic patterns.

    Power BI calculates the number of defective items while managing the inventory and anticipates financial losses because of malfunctioning products. It determines the downtime incurred because of defective products to curb complications for the next business phase.

  4. Comparing Power BI and SAP BusinessObjects On The Basis of Document management

    SAP reports can be shared via online platforms, email, and other mobile devices in different formats.

    SAP Business Objects supports

    check icon XLSX

    check icon XLS

    check icon TXT

    check icon PDF, and

    check icon CSV files.

    The lifecycle management tool of SAP BO handles the version control functions.

    With Microsoft Power BI, you can save files in Word and Excel format. The program allows version control using deployment pipelines available in the premium version of the tool.

  5. Comparing SAP BusinessObjects and Power BI On The Basis of Decision Services

    SAP BusinessObjects offers a wide range of support channels with training courses and partner networks to provide quality support to the users. You can learn more about the BusinessObjects software, and it can help you make the most of your spending on a professional BI tool.

    SAP also offers a support suite that includes enterprise support that can help you channel different business practices. Troubleshooting and standard technical support are also provided to help you bypass multiple dynamic situations.

    Microsoft BI offers a wide range of partner businesses that provide consulting and knowledge services. Power BI offers a support network with community forums and traditional support resources.

  6. Comparing SAP BusinessObjects and Power BI On The Basis of Data visualization

    Power BI Data visualization

    Source: Power BI

    Data visualization is another top requirement for businesses to create quality reports using BI tools. SAP Business Objects Tools allow you to add images, infographics, text, animation, and charts and is considered a storyboarding-type of data visualization platform.

    You can add ad-hoc reporting and filters to fine-tune the data visualization and improve the quality of the information in the files. You also get geospatial integration to map purposes in SAP BO.

    SAP visual analytics presents data through interactive and appealing reports. You can organize analytics findings in the dashboards and add multiple visually attractive components.

    The changes are made in real-time, and insights are presented through filtering, sorting, and content linking. The feature-rich platform offered by SAP can be confusing for the non-data experts and can get overwhelming for businesses to achieve their goals.

    That’s where Power BI comes in. It is forced towards making the platform easily usable and ensuring that a novice creates well-vetted reports that can be utilized for improving the business operations. The drag and drop features cut the complexities and make it similar to using basic tools like Excel.

    You can create customized visualizations with the help of a Power BI developer using multiple built-in styles and features. The user-friendly interface helps in the popularity of Power BI.

  7. Comparing Power BI and SAP BusinessObjects On The Basis of Extra Features

    Power BI uses a natural language query tool and offers a user-friendly interface that separates it from the BusinessObjects. You can type in search queries like Google search, such as “What is our efficient department?” and the tools will provide relevant answers.

    It offers a free desktop version that helps users get a hands-on experience of the tool before purchasing.

    SAP BusinessObjects offers real-time analytics by connecting SAP HANA and SAP Business Warehouse. It also provides SAP’s predictive analytics to help you visualize multiple what-if business scenarios for better predictions.

    These are some of the major differential points that you can consider while choosing one of the best BI tools for your business.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Which one is better: Power BI or SAP?

    Both BI tools have different qualities compared to each other. Selecting one for your business boils down to your business requirement and goals.

    If you don’t have a professional data expert team and have a limited budget for BI tools, choose Power BI.

    But if you want a professional enterprise-level BI tool and have the budget to purchase them, then select SAP BO.

    What’s the major difference between SAP and Power BI?

    There are considerable differences between the SAP BO and Power BI, and the major difference is the pricing, data visualization, and document management processes.

    Is BusinessObjects a BI tool?

    Yes, BusinessObjects is a powerful enterprise-grade BI tool that can help you streamline your business operations and data management.

    Which BI tool is most affordable between SAP BO and Power BI?

    Power BI is the most affordable BI tool compared to SAP BO because of the limited usability features. It is focused on helping businesses solve smaller-scale problems compared to SAP BO.

    Can I use SAP BusinessObjects for my small business?

    SAP BO usage depends on your business requirements and the budget you can spend on a dedicated BI tool. If you have a complex data situation that you want to solve and have a professional team of data experts that can handle the abilities of SAP BO, then you can use the tool. Otherwise, you can opt for Power BI.

    Summing Up The Differences

    Choose Microsoft’s Power BI over SAP BusinessObjects if:

    • You don’t want your BI managed by your IT team
    • You want to access BI tools at a reasonable price
    • You want non-data experts to use the power of BI tools
    Choose SAP BusinessObjects Over Microsoft’s Power BI if:

    • You want strict governance by your IT team,
    • You have a sizable budget for BI tools and
    • You want to scale the users

    Now that you have understood there is no abstract answer to the selection between Power BI vs Business Objects, you need to pinpoint your business requirements and align them with the features offered by these tools.

Gaurang Bhatt

Written by

Gaurang Bhatt

Gaurang has 15+ years of experience solving complex business problems and enabling businesses with data-driven decisions using data analysis and predictive modeling tools like Tableau, Power BI, Looker, and Google Data Studio. His expertise lies in data visualization, reporting, and creating ETL pipelines. In addition, he is passionate about exploring different technologies like machine learning and AI. He shares his knowledge and learnings on the LabsMedia platform.