Qenos to upgrade SAP in BI push

SOA for integration the next big step

Chemical company Qenos will upgrade its SAP platform and deploy a business intelligence portal to complement its existing Web-based reporting infrastructure.

Qenos is using SAP R4.7 and the upgrade has been under way for the past two months and is due to go live in March, 2008.

Applications development team leader Ray Thomas told Computerworld the company has a six-month window of opportunity to do the upgrade and is now building test environments.

"We're also deploying a portal and the SAP BI component as part of a business warehouse," Thomas said, adding SAP is a good product, but it is complex.

"We're running R4.7 and have had problems in many areas. It's not so much with SAP but with the business processes around various modules."

Thomas blames in part Qenos' implementation of SAP than the technology itself, but believes it is a difficult platform to support given the company's heritage and size.

SAP and Notes are running on separate partitions of an IBM AIX system which Thomas says has a good uptime and security record.

Qenos is not new to BI and back in 2001 became an early adopter of Information Builders' Web-based reporting application to gain a consolidated view of its diverse infrastructure.

"We had a range of request for reports and didn't have any reporting engine," Thomas said. "Engineers write all sorts of custom code in Excel and over a number of years lots of things started to fall apart so we were looking for a standard platform for reporting and BI."

Qenos' standard requirements were a Web-based reporting system that would allow it to extract data from SAP, Lotus Notes, and Oracle, and process plant systems running on SQL Server.

After viewing proposals from Cognos and the now Business Objects-owned Crystal Reports, it was the Web-based features of Information Builders that won the deal.

"Most didn't have Web-based reporting at the time and that was a key requirement as we have a complex desktop environment with some 200 applications so the last thing we wanted was another client to support," Thomas said. "It worked out nicely as an efficient, effective solution and there is good local support."

Qenos has a small IT team of 16 people with a few contractors for development projects.

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