SAP Insider BI & HANA 2018

Come to Las Vegas to learn the latest and greatest about SAP solutions for analytics and HANA.

Join me this February 26 – March 1, 2018 at SAP Insider BI & HANA 2018, hosted by The Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada. BI & HANA 2018 is co-located with Basis & SAP Administration 2018. Registration permits you to attend both events.

This year I will be presenting a single session about universe design.

The fate of the (SAP BusinessObjects) universe depends on you:
Moving your classic universes and reports to the Information Design Tool

Thursday, March 01, 2018 / 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM / Room TBD

Starting with SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 in 2011, SAP introduced a new universe format (UNX) and design tool (Information Design Tool). In the years since its introduction, the Information Design Tool has become more robust and newer BI tools such as SAP Lumira 2.0 and SAP Analytics Cloud prefer its format over the legacy format. Starting with SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 SP4, SAP provides the Web Intelligence Change Source Utility to assist organizations in accelerating UNX adoption by converting their inventory of existing reports from the legacy UNV format. In this session, you’ll learn how to install and use this new utility to its maximum effectiveness. Specifically you’ll:

  • Learn how to install and configure the Web Intelligence Change Source Utility
  • Convert a batch of legacy reports to the new universe format
  • Tune and monitor the BI platform for maximum UNX support

The full conference agenda is available on the conference web site. Follow the conference activity on Twitter using the hashtag #BIHANA2018.

The Big Book of Dashboards

Twenty-eight real-world dashboards show how solid design can illuminate your business data.

The Big Book of Dashboards is- well- a really big book of dashboards. 448 pages of them. Steve Wexler, Jeffrey Shaffer, and Andy Cotgreave- all household names in the Tableau community- have produced a book that is both beautiful and useful, just like the visualizations that they write about.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part is a single chapter entitled Data Visualization: A Primer that reviews terminology and sets the stage for what’s to come.

The second part of the book is the heart of the book and lends the book its name. Twenty-eight dashboards, each described in its own chapter. You’ll learn why a particular dashboard “works”. Sometimes you’ll learn why it doesn’t work as well as it should. The three authors even critique each other’s work, which is like being a fly on the wall of a design review.

Part three of the book is called Succeeding in the Real World and is filled with practical advice, including how to deal with users that want something “cool” instead of useful. Or- heaven forbid- a pie chart.

The Big Book of Dashboards

Not only are many of the dashboards visually stunning, the book design is beautiful to behold. You’ll probably learn as much about things like color, typography and whitespace from the book itself as much as the dashboards contained within.

The book is written by three Tableau experts, but it is not a “Tableau book”. If you’re looking for a “How do I do that in Tableau” book, there are plenty of those on the market. The focus here is elegantly solving business problems through design, regardless of what tools you use. And yet, I really hope that the product management team at SAP will flip through this book and ask “can our product do that”? As a practical “cookbook”, this book will fit comfortably on your shelf in between the more abstract writing of authors like Stephen Few and the practical “tool-centric” guides from your preferred software vendor. Although I imagine it will get too much use to simply remain on a shelf.


SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide, Fourth Edition

The best book on SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence is now even better.

Today is an important day for SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence users. I’m proud to announce that the fourth edition of SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide is now available in both hardcover and electronic formats from SAP Press.

The book has been significantly updated to include features from SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence 4.2 Support Pack 4, the latest release. You can learn more and order from my book page.

Is SAP Mobile BI Ready for iOS 11?

Apple iOS 11 has been out less than a week but it’s already old news for SAP’s mobile analytics team.

Yes, yes it is!

After years of wondering if SAP Mobile BI is ready for iOS 10, iOS 8, iOS 7, iOS 6 (I must have forgotten to complain about delayed iOS 9 support), I can say that SAP has surprised its analytics users by getting Mobile BI to the app store before the official release of iOS 11 and getting its companion apps, SAP Roambi Analytics and SAP Analytics Cloud, into the Apple App Store just a few short days after iOS 11’s release.​

SAP Analytics Cloud
version 2.8.0
released September 23, 2017
Mobile BI 6.3 Icon SAP BusinessObjects Mobile
version 6.6.5
released September 16, 2017
SAP Roambi Analytics for iOS icon 2017 SAP Roambi Analytics
version 9.1.17
released September 21, 2017
SAP Roambi Flow Icon SAP Roambi Flow
version 9.1.18
released October 3, 2017

Talk Like a Web Intelligence Pirate

Ahoy there, mates! It’s September 19, time to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day with the Web Intelligence iRate PieRates. This year you can celebrate by pre-ordering a copy of the fourth edition of SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Resource. In addition to welcoming Christian Ah-Soon from SAP’s Web Intelligence product group to the authoring team, the book has been fully updated for SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.2, including features from the latest Support Pack 4. The book officially goes on sale October 25 in both hardback and electronic editions. The iRate PieRates hope you’ll pre-order a copy today.


SAP BusinessObjects Mobile 6.6.5

SAP BusinessObjects Mobile 6.6.5 for iOS includes Lumira 2.0 compatibility and is the first version to support a new iOS version before it is released.

SAP gave its mobile BI users a surprise over the weekend by releasing SAP BusinessObjects Mobile 6.6.5 for iOS. Not only does it include support for SAP Lumira 2.0 SP02 (the GA release) but also includes support for iOS 11, which will be released to the general public this Tuesday, September 19, 2017. This is the first time that SAP has provided compatibility for a new version of iOS before its release.

SAP RoamBI Analytics , SAP RoamBI Flow, and SAP Analytics Cloud  don’t explicitly promise iOS 11 compatibility, so users of those apps will want to defer updating their iOS devices to iOS 11 until SAP has issued minor releases that explicitly promise iOS 11 compatibility.

SAP still keeps the stand-alone version of SAP BusinessObjects Explorer in the Apple App Store despite the fact that SAP BusinessObjects Mobile has supported Explorer content for many years and the app hasn’t been updated since 2013, which is nearly an eternity for mobile apps. It’s probably time for SAP to consider retiring the app.

SAP BusinessObjects Mobile 6.2.20 for Android was released on August 22, 2017 but lacks any Lumira compatibility at this time.

Lastly, iTunes 12.7 was released last week and no longer includes the App Store.

The new iTunes focuses on music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and audiobooks.

Apple release notes for iTunes 12.7

This means that you’ll have to use your iOS device and the updated App Store included in iOS 11 to review release history and release notes.

I recently recycled my old iPad 2 and replaced it with a new A9-powered iPad. I’ve already updated it with the latest SAP BusinessObjects Mobile app and eagerly plan install iOS 11 when it is released later this week. I intend to write soon about its new Lumira 2.0 features and delve into the growing Web Intelligence functionality gaps between the Mobile BI app and its browser-based cousins.

Good luck with your iOS 11 upgrade!

UPDATE: SAP Roambi Analytics 9.1.17 now available in Apple App Store with iOS 11 compatibility (September 22, 2017)

UPDATE: SAP Analytics Cloud 2.8.0 now available in Apple App Store with iOS 11 compatibility (September 23, 2017)

Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo

One small step for your remote control, but one giant leap for your Netflix queue.

Last month, something caught my eye in the “Recently Added” column on Netflix. It was a documentary entitled Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo. Mission Control weaves a compelling history of the NASA Apollo program by combining interviews of the still-living flight directors and controllers with archival footage and computer animation. As somebody who was not yet living when the Apollo 1 launchpad disaster occurred and still making small steps in diapers when Neil Armstrong made “one giant leap for mankind,” I find this period of history fascinating. It boggles my mind that the backdrop to the achievements of the Apollo astronauts and their support teams were events like the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy.

It’s a great story and if you’re only familiar with the Apollo 11 moon landing and Apollo 13 crisis, you’ll learn a lot about the other Apollo missions. And if you’re curious about the last moon mission, Apollo 17, you’ll want to put The Last Man On the Moon next in your Netflix queue. It’s a documentary about Gene Cernan, the last man on the moon, who died earlier this year. Created by the same team as Mission Control, I’ll write more about that film in a future article.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”