I cannot believe that my rant on Embedded BI from the BOB forum never made it to my blog. So here it is…
When it comes to integrating BusinessObjects into Salesforce.com there are 3 areas of connection to address
1) the integration of the data for ETL and reporting using system accounts – Using the various drivers available for both SAP Data Services and the Information Design Tool (IDT Universe) it is straightforward to install a driver using a system account to query the data in SalesForce.com. Some drivers are better than others when it comes to providing the metadata needed to represent the tables and columns needed for the Universe design so test out the latest from Samba, Data Direct, and RSS Bus. at our company we have licensed Relational Junction from Sesame Software to be part of our products as it also provides some key advantages that we label as data caching which is more efficient then bulk data loads between cloud and on premise data sources. BOE 4.2 and Crystal Reports now will share the same driver which is a more stable driver providing a more consistent view of data
2) The Integration of the logged in user – in order to get the data using the account of the user that is logged in using the security rules that have been implemented in SalesForce.com a query services needs to use the session of the user in real time. To address this need we developed a self service query tool called Touch that can pickup the session using the appropriate SalesForce.com API’s so that the data returned via the web services has only the data the user is supposed to see but in a format that can be used in various tools including Webi, Dashboards and Design Studio. If you have a team of developers familiar with the SFDC API’s this can be developed internally. Note these API’s change often so don’t underestimate the effort to keep them working.
3) The integration of the reports themselves into the user interface of SalesForce.com completes the picture so that users only need a single interface to do their jobs. The goal is a user can login to SalesForce.com from any device and have an effortless view of reports, graphs , dashboards and they don’t have to jockey between SalesForce.com and their LaunchPad. If the user is only logging on to Salesforce.com through their desktop while on a SSO enabled network (i.e. Windows AD) there is some linking that can be done through a SSO enabled link to opendoc for meeting some basic needs. If users want access to a complete report list in a Tab or screen, report parts integrated into pages, SSO across devices and without VPN or want to see both SalesForce.com reports and Webi reports in the same report list then go to launchworks.com for the LaunchWorks SalesForce Integration Kit for SAP BusinessObjects aka Report Launch.
If you have other ideas, solutions or needs please post them here or contact us @ firstname.lastname@example.org. We live and breath BOE Integration with Salesforce.com and want to know what people want and need to make it happen.