Exciting analytics innovations at the SAP EMEA Analytics boot camp

We call it the "week of our own": one week per year the creme-de-la-creme of SAP analytics pre-sales joins together in the analytics boot camp to share knowledge and experience. It brings magic. Put them even together with SAP analytics product development and you get firework!

And especially in the latter is where great value comes for you as a customer: pre-sales people are always talking to customers, isn't it? They exactly understand what the customer - or better said: the market - requires from analytics and business intelligence. Bringing them together with product development allows to prioritize on the markets needs and bring the most important functionality quickly to the products.

The analytics boot camp is a week for and by the most experienced people in the analytics and business intelligence domain. And it always brings a wealth of new insights, new best practices and tips.

As a guiding document that led us through the document, we used this public article on positioning all SAP analytics components Worth a read.

On premise Business Intelligence

What would you expect: of course we went through any detail on the upcoming Lumira 2.0 component which in its core comes out of the convergence of SAP Design Studio and Lumira 1.31. Joining managed BI and dash-boarding with the freedom of set-service data exploration is as innovative as it is a cracking combo. If have discussed it in this blog already, but it lines up the data analist with the broader end-user community. Being able to start from scratch, blend and enrich any data and bring this to a storyboard, which - if needed - can be seamlessly promoted to the end user community is very valuable functionality.

The Lumira 2.0 components will have 2 clients: a discovery and a designer one both sharing the same server. The discovery client inherits the online BW connectivity from the current Design Studio, whereas the designer adds off-line (next to the existing online) connectivity to its managed dashboard.

Of course we discussed the market situation: we discussed the likes of Qlik and Tableau start suffering from being privately held now; enterprises doubt whether this would benefit the long term product development investments of these vendors and are pulling their tale. For the moment we cannot conclude yet if this is correct; next few months need to prove if Qlik and Tableau will suffer innovation issues.

A remarkable article comparing SAP BusinessObject BI to the latest niche vendors was discussed; the article can be found here and provides a good and honest insight on the real situation from a technical perspective.

Though not immediately in the eye of everyone, the SP03 pack for SAP BI Suite 4.2 brought a new CMS DB driver allowing to quickly do advanced auditing reporting on your users. This document tells you all about it, and especially large roll-outs will love it.

Ah yes, I saw some things coming up in WebIntelligence. Apart from the SP03 pack launched recently with CMS DB driver, dynamic input controls, using of SETS (powerful for segmentation), linked UNX and UNV universes, and lots of SDK improvements, I was "wowed" with what's coming. Can't tell you but think "experience" :-)

GEO Spatial

Regardless of country, continent or type of industries, every single customer understands the value of GEO spatial analytics. Information makes so much more sense when put into insights with GEO spatial techniques. Plotting data on maps, using various layers with GEO data from different grain, highlighting points of interest or having point-and-click filters by just selecting on a map; GEO makes data so much easier to understand and interpret. The people from Galigeo do understand this perfectly well. Their suite encompasses the full SAP BI Suite and as such users can benefit from GeoSpatial insights in WebIntelligence, Lumira and DesignStudio.

It is always a delight to listen to Product manager Vincent Dechandon from Galigeo. He is highly knowledgable and showed some of the very best features in their product: polygon selection and filtering, multi-layers and dynamic interactivity between them, GEO points having links to WebIntelligence reports (!!), drill anywhere and many more.

I have worked with Galigeo on many occasions. One of the things that really helped me was their ability to quickly tailor the GEO extensions for the SAP BI Suite to the customer needs. What do I mean? I had a grocery customer once that wanted to plot the performance of each of their 800 store on a map. Of course the customer-erea a single supermarket covers is not aligned with standard geography; a supermarket in London-West may cover pieces of London West but also pieces of Windsor East. With the help of my customer, Galigeo created "dedicated supermarket coverage areas" in just three hours!

Cloud Analytics

SAP's business analytics strategy makes it's two-fold approach very clear and understandable:

  1. Innovate the Core: with the on premise Business Objects BI Suite 4.2

  2. Lead the Cloud: with BusinessObjects Cloud

Having said that, BusinessObjects Cloud was a hot topic at the boot camp. The modeling section of BusinessObjects Cloud is bettered and new innovations in the section are expected the next few days.

With tons of customers running large scaled BI Suite on premise roll-outs, it is of course important to discuss when and where to apply BusinessObjects Cloud. Well, the use cases for BusinessObjects Cloud are various. They look as follows:

  1. Compliment to on-premise deployment: the BusinessObjects Cloud solution is great when you want to leverage your on-premise BI and compliment on that. Given the universe access, BusinessObjects Cloud can re-use anything you have prepared and defined in your semantic layers: business definitions, prompts, variables, hierarchies and models. Any project or department in your enterprise initiating new BI projects can use BusinessObjects Cloud to start their BI journey. The product is extremely easy to use, over course leverages the HANA in memory power since it runs on HCP (Hana Cloud Platform) and lastly combines all elements of the Closed Loop Portfolio bringing BI, planning, predictive analytics and governance & risk together in ONE application. Users also benefit from the embedded collaboration and alerting facilities. The agility to generate analytics without any additional infrastructure will be loved by lots of you.

  2. Line of business analytics for your cloud applications: if you are already running Cloud applications like Concur, SuccesFactors or Google Docs - to name a few - you definitely benefit from the Cloud-readiness and connectors that come with BusinessObjects Cloud. It makes sense to continue working in the cloud, if your core applications already running there too. In the end the product delivers best-of-breed analytics for data that stays in the Cloud and can mash up data sourced from different Cloud applications.

  3. Extranet Analytics: if you consider providing analytics in a secured way to users outside your firewall (i.e. customers), than BusinessObjects Cloud is your ultimate solution for simply distribution of insights

  4. New BI initiatives: as said above, any new BI initiative will benefit from the hu-ighly agile way of generating analytics without even have to consider any analytics infrastructure. If that isn't agile :-)

Within 2 weeks I start sharing BusinessObjects Cloud best practices on this website. Some of them are things I learned building Digital Boardrooms and others. Hope you will like it; stay tuned.

If your customers are seriously considering BusinessObjects Cloud but want to know more about the trends and insights of using cloud analytics in general, you might want to present them this EMA survey.

Roambi & Extensions Directory

Given it's success we did a deep dive in the SAP Analytics Extensions Directory. This directory is the new single source of any visualization or data connectivity extension applicable for SAP Business Intelligence components. These extensions can either be SAP-made or by Partners and external vendors. Some of them are for free others are payable, but they all share a magnificent quality and value. The directory sums them all with detailed background info. Raghu Ramakrishnan is the passionated driver behind the directory and he showed us the best-of-the-best extensions: multi-select GEO, connectors to Ms Project, customizable heatmaps, just to name a few.

By the way, I added three very interesting presentations and fact sheets on the extensions directory which you find here.

Talking mobile business intelligence one immediately thinks of Roambi. I have never come across a mobile analytics solution that is soo easy to use as Roambi is. I'll be honest, I didn't play around with Roambi before, and just last week started using it. Just upload a simple CSV and off you go. The dynamics, interactivity and simplicity of the Roambi tools is second to none. I am currently creating to best practices video's which I will post shortly. For the moment you'll need to work with below :-)

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