Good Interview questions to ask for SAP Business Objects Admin

I was asked by a colleague to list some of the questions “I” would ask if I am interviewing a person for SAP Business Objects (SAP BI Platform) admin. Their team is trying to hire a candidate and he wants some Q&A to judge the candidate. It has been 16 years when I first got exposed to “Crystal Enterprise” what I would call is the ancestor of current SAP BI Platform. Crystal Enterprise 8/9/10 gave a way to Business Objects XI & when it was taken over by SAP, it got named as current SAP BI platform. The engine, services and the core architecture has gone through plethora of enhancements but the main core logic behind the way the architecture works has preserved. It got lot better from its primitive look & performance for sure.

Having started with Crystal Enterprise, I know the intricacies, machine level of BI platform when we use to create the manual website in IIS, enable the page server(s) etc for hosted crystal reports to be delivered via browser. In today’s BI platform world, we no longer need those details to be understood but just need to know some basics around what the Server Intelligence Service(SIA) does & how the other services are bundled in this.

Very few SAP BI administrators I think remember what APS/CMS were in older versions of Crystal Enterprise and Business Objects XI are. Not having that knowledge about older versions doesn’t necessarily make them bad admins, so I needed to make some adjustments when coming to what I need to look in the person while hiring the candidates. How deep their understanding should be when it comes to the way SAP BI Platform works in current versions of say SAP BI 4.0/4.1/4.2 and how knowledgeable they are about the road map and the things SAP BI platform support.

So, keep all the above things in mind, If I need to interview a candidate who will be working on SAP BI 4.2, I would include these following questions and based on the response, I might deviate and dig little bit more to understand the basics the candidate has.

Q1: Explain the different steps happen when say a user comes to BI Launchpad page, enters his/her ID/Pwd and hits login. What happend when you enter the URL to the page which comes up with folders etc ?

Will write answer when I get some comments/requests from users to list the best way to answer this. Or give your answers in the comments & I can rate your answer/add or modify to what you answer.

Q2: What is the “role” of  some of the different services (I would pick the services based on the answer I would get for my question 1 ), will ask to explain in detail about one of the services from this list below.

  • Central Management Server
  • InputFileRepository
  • OutputFileRepository
  • WebApplicationProcessingServer
  • EventServer
  • AdaptiveJobServer
  • Auditing

Q3: What are some of the “default” settings in the services you would probably change for “sizing” or to make sure that the servers can handle more records being returned into your WebI reports ?

Q5: On setting up the security of a brand new SAP BI platform, where will you start ?

Q6: What is “Top Level” security ?

Q7: Have you done any explicit denials in your security ? If yes, why ? if No, why ?

Q8: How would you change “Java Heap memory” settings and why would you need to do it ?

Q9: Explain what “Access levels” are ? Any “custom” access levels you have used before ?

Q10: User Groups/AD Authentication and how would you set up the Folder/Category security ?


As I started listing the questions, there are so many related question I came up with, will try to filter them out, list the important ones here and update the blog…have to run for my “tennis” practice game, will update this page as soon as I get time to do it…



3 responses to “Good Interview questions to ask for SAP Business Objects Admin”

  1. Haritha says:


    I’m very much interested to pursue my career as a BO ADMIN. Your blog has given me clear understanding and basic’s that every admin should be aware of.

    Kindly help me in learning BO ADMIN responsibilities.

  2. Pankaj says:

    Hello Haritha,

    If you want to learn SAP BO administration then I would suggest you go through the SAP BO admin guide.

    First try to understand the architecture and then go for installation, sizing, clustering, security, scheduling, migration, promotion.

  3. Akbar says:

    1. When a user hits enter on the BI Launchpad, a request will be generated and it will hit the CMS data base tables ( System/Infoobject/Application tables) and verify the user name and password. If it found a match then it will allow user to login into the system

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