What do you like best?
One of the things I like about BObj is that, as a BI Manager, I can help varying levels of users. For example, if I have a user that has no interest/technical skill, I can build up a Universe, create an InfoSpace, and design some view sets. If the user is more advanced, maybe I just need to build the universe and let them play with the view sets. Users can insert themselves in the BI process where they feel comfortable.
What do you dislike?
There has traditionally not been a good method of restoring a single item when a user accidentally over-engineers it or deletes it altogether. And until recently, there hasn't been any kind of versioning. There are also, if there is much customization of the environment, it takes a little more effort to upgrade an existing environment or stage a new one.
Recommendations to others considering the product
This tool was here when I was hired a few years ago and now that I've learned it, It's a solid BI tool. If I didn't have a BI tool and I was researching from scratch, I don't know if I'd necessarily hands-down pick this one, but Business Objects would definitely be one of the options I considered.
Sometimes configuration is challenging (unless you are also very familiar with setting up Java VMs). I like the meta-data layer design tool. I like that there are thick and thin versions of the tools users use. Users at this point try to build a report themselves rather than immediately asking me to do it (which is a small miracle). I did end up having to use a 3rd party tool to make me feel safe about backups and versioning (because at the time I started using BObj, there was no recycle bin or version management), but in general I'm happy with the product and am not looking for a replacement solution.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
The problem is that there is an ever-changing series of questions that get asked. Many reporting tools are simply too robust and cumbersome for the standard user. Having lots of data is useless, if it is to hard for the decision-makers to get to. Web Intelligence can be as simple or as complex as the user needs it to be, so it attracts varying levels of experience. Explorer is a very easy to use visualization tool. I've seen Explorer users go from ONLY looking at canned view sets to building their own Information Spaces.