SAP Business Objects vs SAS Business Intelligence: Whos the Winner?

The potential of data analytics is being recognized by increasing number of sectors every day, be it financial, administrative, health or business. Thus the analytics companies are blooming even faster, with some of them discovering newer ways to utilise the statistical information obtained from the big data collected.

As such, to make an informed choice, it becomes significant to identify the benefits as well as drawbacks of each of such analytics tools. Below, we lay out the comparison between two market giants: SAP Business Objects and SAS Business Intelligence.


SAS Business Intelligence

The largest market share holder of business analytics, SAS (Statistical Analytical Solution) offers comprehensive analytics including business intelligence and predictive analysis. It was founded in late 1970s and with that amount of experience, SAS is known to provide the most complete and integrated data management and analytics.


  • SAS has a trusted and tested predictive analysis tool which forms an essential component of the Business Intelligence capabilities.
  • Extensive support for open source R programming language.
  • In-database processing instead of proprietary dataset processing.
  • Pre-built model-driven analytics.
  • Seamless integration with other data management tools. The integrated data-management platform spanning across data warehousing, BI, performance management, in-memory databases, data integration, data quality, and content and social analytics (Gartner’s Magic Quadrant Q1 2014).
  • Rich APIs which support easy customisation.
  • SAS Business Intelligence offers scalability without compromising performance.


  • The plans are exorbitant and not feasible for smaller companies.
  • No offers for perpetual licenses.
  • The visual interpretation of analytics is not as developed as compared to its contemporaries. Thus they are less favoured by technologically less aware customers.
  • With highly advanced analytics tools available, it is generally not favoured by new users due to lack of user friendly interface.

SAP Business Objects

Business Objects was an enterprise software company pioneering in business intelligence (BI), before it was acquired by SAP in 2007. The recent upgrades have made BO a formidable competitor among the business analytics tools. The BO applications enable generation of reports, interactive dashboards, online as well as offline analysis of big data, navigation and search.

SAP BO Overview


  • Data is easily accessible. Also fetching data is quick, regardless of the complexity of the question.
  • The interface is intuitive and hence, convenient to master and use. All the suites follow the same intelligence platform. This enhances synchronisation between separate applications.
  • Well-crafted technical architecture. Information is consolidated and unified, further simplifying maintaining and accessing accurate data.
  • Analytics visualization is simple to understand and assimilate the key points.
  • SAP BO offers integration with other enterprise applications, drawing a larger user base.
  • Suitable for even smaller companies owing to fairly transparent pricing. As the following Forrester graphic shows (The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Business Intelligence Platforms, Q4 2013), SAP happens to be the BI vendor clients ask about most often in product inquiries, as evident in the graphic below. A fairly recent market survey report indicates that 36% of corporate users have selected SAP as their BI platform.



  • There are a number of applications each for a specific purpose. Though they are built under the same platform, the integration is not smooth. This makes the BI unclear to initial users.
  • Lack of complex and advanced analytics.
  • Modifying the content requires expert IT professionals.
  • Drilling through the contents hierarchically is an exhaustive process.

SAP BO Product Tour

Both the BI Tools have their patron users with respective needs. Though SAS Business Intelligence has had a larger market share, it is yet to excel in its visual analytics and create a more user-friendly interface. SAP with its improved Business Objects seems to catch up fast with a growing customer base, but it needs to work upon the advance analytics tools and predictive analysis to challenge the pioneers in the field. The following graphic shows Forrester’s overall ranking for BI Leaders for Q4 2013:


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