Trailblazing the Analytics Frontier: mySmartApp™ for SAP® BusinessObjects™ Design Studio

One of the nice side effects of business analytics software that is leading the market, is that lot's of third party development is done simply because customers require the best. In the spotlight is mySmartApp; a remarkable piece of software;

SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio has continued to evolve as SAP’s go-to tool for professionally authored dashboards by IT. Now, a remarkable innovation, the mySmartApp™ extension complements Design Studio to make it more accessible for non-technical business users by allowing the creation of analytics without the need for the coding skills of a developer. Let’s explore what it has to offer.

mySmartApp in a Nutshell

mySmartApp is a single, self-contained, end-to-end component which allows the very rapid design and deployment of visually appealing, engaging and interactive Fiori-like analytics without the need for any coding, with a run-time configuration wizard for easy definition of content using a variety of layout options and consumption patterns.

The video below demonstrates mySmartApp for SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio running inside the SAP MobileBI 6.5 app for iOS. The products shows immediately some key feautures:

  • Enjoyable: designed to provide an engaging, interactive and fun experience to delight the user

  • Collaborative: allows users to share their analytic creations by publishing to an "app store"-like environment

  • Simple yet sophisticated: focuses on the “less is more” principle by minimising the configurable options to a practical set that results in simplicity of design and usability while delivering sophistication of insight and personalization

  • Mobile first: intelligently adapts the analytic content to the device, whether it be a smartphone, tablet or desktop PC, for consumption anytime, anywhere

  • Easy to deploy: plugs into your existing BI stack as an add-on for SAP Design Studio, simplifying the installation task for IT while empowering users to build and share their own analytics, as and when needed

Who is mySmartApp for?

mySmartApp is intended for:

  1. Non-technical business users for creating code-free BI apps by focusing on business content rather than technical design

  2. Customers with small IT departments to allow them to be more productive by doing more with less

  3. Customers with large IT departments to allow rapid roll out of useful BI apps while freeing up resources in parallel to work on custom built specialized BI app requirements

  4. SAP Partners to package rapid deployment of BI apps with complementary value-added services for their clients

mySmartApp is a tool for quickly deploying curated, lightweight yet sophisticated BI apps for the masses, by business users for business users. It is alos complement to the existing ready-turun standard apps. Be aware, mySmartApp is not a replacement for custom built Design Studio BI apps. There will always be a need for specialised BI apps for specific user groups, developed by IT with a combination of coding and free form layout design.

It’s all about simple sophistication

mySmartApp does not have an Additional Properties Sheet (APS) with a huge selection of properties, nor does it include any script methods. This is quite deliberate as the intent is to provide an easy to use, code-free environment for rapidly building useful BI apps which simplifies the process for business users and other non-programmers.

As you can see from the screenshot below, the mySmartApp component makes up the entire BI app. The content is not rendered on the canvas at design-time because it is defined through a configuration wizard at run-time.

One of the challenges of deploying Design Studio apps is to provide support for different types of devices such as smartphones, tablets and desktops, particularly in an increasingly mobile world where a mobile first design is encouraged. mySmartApp addresses this issue with both a responsive and adaptive design. There are various definitions of this terminology for our purposes we’ll define it as:

Responsive design keeps the same content for all target devices but simply changes the layout according to the form factor, whereas Adaptive design also includes logic to explicitly change the content for a particular target device such as smartphone or tablet.

Why is the Fiori design important?

SAP’s User Experience Strategy clearly sets the Fiori UX as the future direction of SAP applications. This has been reinforced with the recent announcement of SAP’s partnership with Apple whereby the Fiori Design Guidelines now also include a standard for iOS. Furthermore, from a Design Studio perspective this commitment to the Fiori design has been implemented with the new M Mode introduced in Design Studio 1.6.

Taking these factors into account, mySmartApp, while not a full-fledged SAP Fiori app, has adopted important aspects of the SAP Fiori look and feel complemented with variations and features tailored for business intelligence use cases. This results in the following benefits:

  • ensures consistency with SAP’s stated future UX direction

  • the adoption of a well-defined, enterprise grade standard like SAP Fiori saves a considerable amount of time in terms of having a foundation to build on rather than creating one from scratch

  • the look and feel of mySmartApp integrates seamlessly and consistently with the Fiori Launchpad and new Fiori-style BusinessObject BI Launchpad, thereby providing a familiar and coherent user experience

mySmartZone is the entry point for organizing, creating, sharing and exploring analytical, interactive visualizations known as SmartViews.

Stay Organised with myWall

myWall is the area where the user pins SmartViews they have created themselves or those shared by other users in myStore. This area can be fully personalized by arranging SmartView tiles according to groups defined by the user. myCreations is the area showing the SmartViews created by the user, indicating their status (Draft or Published).

If the SmartView is relevant for the user, they can pin it to their wall for easy access. SmartViews can also have associated bookmarks created and shared by other users as shown below:

SmartViews for Smart Analytics

An important idea behind mySmartApp is the concept of SmartViews, which effectively represent different configurable consumption patterns for viewing analytics. mySmartApp currently supports three different SmartView types with more to follow.

mySmartApp simplifies the creation of BI apps with Design Studio by implementing a wizard-based approach that allows business users to easily create analytics, specifically without the need for the script coding that is typically needed when building BI apps with Design Studio. The Configuration Wizard allows the user to select the data source, which can be either BW or HANA, as well as the layout as defined by what is known as a SmartView.

The wizard approach then allows the user to focus on defining the relevant analytic content through configuration without having to worry about coding or target devices and other technical considerations.

Screenshots of the wizard are shown below:

Visuals impress a lot

The visuals of mySmartApp are stunning. Just click the below pictures and be amazed yourself:

Try mySmartApp for Yourself

So there you have it! Signup here for a free trial of mySmartApp to experience it for yourself.

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