SAP just released their BusinessObjects™ BI OnDemand solution for Salesforce.com which is a subscription-based, SaaS solution empowering sales professionals to explore, report and share data from Salesforce.com. It looks like SAP is trying to play nicely with Salesforce.com and is positioning this product as a BI alternative to actual reporting in Salesforce.com. There was no bashing of Salesforce.com in the text and the solution is AppExchange certified.

For companies concerned about the speed of reporting or size of Salesforce data sets, SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand provides a preconfigured data warehouse that can be implemented in as little as a day. The data warehouseprovides a duplicate set of data that can dramatically improve reporting time and speed information delivery.

Since they offer a free trial and I have a few years of SAP experience I thought I'd give it a spin. The signup process was pretty painless and after logging in I set up my connection to a production org (looks like sandbox connections are not an option).

The entire application is essentially a series of Flex applications. After logging into my org I was presented with the following screen displaying the metadata for the org and allowing me to drag and drop fields from any object to create a dataset.

It then presents you with a preview of the dataset and the associated SOQL query. Once you confirm the query and save the dataset the data is imported from your org into the warehouse's datastore.

You can then see your newly created dataset in the list of available datasets.

After clicking on the dataset you are presented with the main UI for that dataset. Your options here include:

  • View data in the dataset
  • Perform ad-hoc queries against the dataset
  • Explore the dataset to slice and dice it to create more specific datasets or visualizations
  • Share the dataset with other uses (similar functionality to Google Docs sharing). I also noticed that you can share the actual web service address.
  • Download the data in CSV format
  • Combine with other datasets for more detailed reporting
  • Duplicate the dataset
  • Delete the dataset

With the Explore tab you can drill down into your data and run various scenario to create your own dataset and save results as a visualization that you can share or display with an iframe.

The product has a ton of features (it's based off of Crystal Reports which SAP bought in 2007) and I only had time to try a few. If you are looking for a simple way to access and externally report on your Salesforce.com data, you might want to give SAP's BusinessObjects™ BI OnDemand solution good look.