The Mobile BI Rat Race

When it comes to updating mobile BI apps, Tableau isn’t leading the race.

Although I rarely use their products, I signed up for the free mobile apps from several major BI vendors. Seeing their updates pop up on my Apple iPhone is one way that I can keep up with what’s going on in the industry.

Unlike on-premise software that requires a project plan and an off-hours maintenance window to push into production, mobile software is nearly as easy to update as cloud-based software because the vendor assumes a majority of the upgrade risks. But it seemed to me that SAP was updating their mobile BI app at a much slower rate than their competitors.

To back up my hunch with facts, I built a quick model in Microsoft Excel using product versions and release dates from the Apple iTunes store and loaded the data into SAP BusinessObjects Lumira.

As you can see in the chart below, Microsoft clearly updates their Power BI mobile app at a frequency greater than SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI or even (gasp!) Tableau Mobile (click images to enlarge).

Mobile BI Release Comparison by Release Date

Microsoft Power BI, a recent entry into the BI marketplace, was introduced on July 24, 2015 and has been on a rapid release schedule ever since. The Apple iTunes store had release history going back to September 5, 2015 and contains 44 releases through February 2017. Oh sure, many of the releases contain only “bug fixes” or “performance enhancements,” but so do many of the releases from Microsoft’s competitors.

Since January 1 of last year, Microsoft has updated their Power BI iOS app a whopping 35 times. Contributing to most SAP users’ Tableau envy, Tableau updated their iOS app 11 times, almost twice as many updates as SAP’s.

Mobile BI Release Comparison Number of Releases

Microsoft releases a new version of Power BI for iOS on an average of every 12 days. SAP actually beats Tableau on this metric, releasing a new iOS version every 39.41 days to Tableau’s 42.58 days.

Mobile BI Release Comparison Average Days between Releases

These are quantitative measurements and one could certainly argue that Microsoft’s numbers are padded with frequent “bug fix” updates that don’t introduce any new functionality. In terms of qualitative measurements, which are a bit more subjective, only Microsoft Power BI has a native interface for the Apple Watch. Not even Tableau can boast that. And only Microsoft Power BI boasts “conversational BI” with the ability to ask questions about data in plain English.

Ironically, none of the three Lumira charts I prepared for this article could be viewed on my Apple iPad, even though I’m using the latest versions of SAP’s BI platform and mobile app.

Unsupported Lumira charts in Mobile BI 6.5

The SAP Mobile BI team is likely hard at work preparing updates to support the forthcoming Lumira 2.0 release. Or perhaps they’ve been reassigned to help roll out a new version of the separate SAP BusinessObjects Cloud mobile app. Or both. But I hope SAP will be able to increase the release frequency and deliver bigger analytic innovations in its core Mobile BI app.

Related articles

Unsociable Media

It’s time to stop ranting and get back to work.

Yesterday, Facebook declared that it was “Facebook Friends Day”. Facebook has been part of our lives for thirteen years and its moody adolescence is showing.

Facebook Friends Day

Facebook used to be the home of grumpy cat and cute kid videos. But last year it became a vast wasteland of political punditry as its seems everybody had something to say about the US presidential election. My Facebook feed became an incessant deluge of rants and shared articles from my collection of Democratic, Republican and even Libertarian friends.

I was hoping that the madness would stop after the election. Or at least after inauguration day. Wishful thinking, no?

unsociable – un·so·cia·ble – \ˌən-ˈsō-shə-bəl\

adjective

having or showing a disinclination for social activity
or
not conducive to sociability

definition courtesy of Merriam-Webster dictionary

Dealing with annoying people on Facebook is simple. You can “unfollow” them while still being their “friend”. Convenient. But unfortunately the problem has spread to other social media venues like LinkedIn and Twitter. I don’t have “friends” on those social media channels. I have professional business contacts. And people who I assumed were respected thought leaders in their field, not political pundits.

I’m perfectly capable of finding my own news, be it real or “fake news”, liberal or conservative news, or even clickbait masquerading as news. I don’t need to understand your political views nor do you need me to endorse them.

But I need your expertise.

Desperately.

And I miss it.

Have we reached the point of no return? We may never be able to “Make Facebook Fun Again”. But I hope that we can get back to business on LinkedIn and Twitter.

And soon.

2016 Year In Review

A personal reflection on the past year.

2016 is almost over. I began the new year moving my blog to a new web hosting service. A side benefit was finally moving my blog to the DallasMarks.com domain from the previous DallasMarks.org domain. You’ll definitely want to update any bookmarks that you have.

It’s taken ten years, but this year Eric Vallo asked me to transition from services into presales. I also visited the SAP Vancouver office for the first time to receive SAP BusinessObjects Cloud presales training for partners. Sometimes your dreams don’t come true how and when you expect them to. In 2006, I got my first passport on the hopes that I’d be accepting a presales job with BusinessObjects and traveling frequently to Vancouver, BC for training. That opportunity did not come to fruition, nor did two additional attempts after SAP’s acquisition.

This year was the first that I did not attend or speak at the annual ASUG BI conference (see related article, Watching #ASUGBIA from the sidelines). I’ve spoken at the national event each year starting with BusinessObjects Insight 2006 conference in San Francisco, California and was an attendee at Insight 2005 the year before at the Gaylord resort in Orlando, Florida. Missing the annual event and its networking opportunities was a big bummer and yet another reminder that not every career opportunity is under one’s own control. What I have learned this year is that many more people have seen my writing than seen me give a presentation. So I am endeavouring to write more frequently in 2017.

One of the things I’ll be writing in 2017 is the fourth edition of Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide from SAP Press with co-authors Jim Brogden and Christian Ah-Soon (see related article, Is There Room On Your Bookshelf for Web Intelligence, Fourth Edition?)

Even though I missed both the 2016 ASUG volunteer meeting and ASUG Business Intelligence and Analytics conference, I remained an active ASUG volunteer as program chair for the Kentucky chapter. Due to some career transitions, I inherited planning the annual ASUG Developer Tools Day, co-sponsored by the Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky ASUG chapters. I’m looking forward to the 2017 ASUG volunteer meeting next month in Chicago, Illinois.

2016 Travels

courtesy of TripIt and Google Maps

It’s a challenge to beat last year’s trip to SAP’s Paris office, but my first visit to SAP’s Vancouver office was splendid. I ran into Blair Wheadon at Starbucks and Ty Miller at the SkyTrain station. It was good to see familiar faces like Jayne Landry kick off the partner event and Radim Bacinschi gave me a personalized tour of Vancouver.

2016 Webcasts

Books Read and Reviewed

I’ve noticed that I’m not reading as many books, due in part to three active children as well as eyes that now need reading glasses. I still read lots of shorter articles from my laptop or tablet, but book reading is an area of my life where I need to set higher goals in 2017.

SAP Lumira Essentials by Dmitry Anoshin

2016 Writing

In addition to the articles I’ve written here on my personal blog in 2016 (click here for complete list), you’ll want to check out the articles I wrote for the SAP Community (see my profile on SAP Community for a complete list).

Or the articles I wrote for EV Technologies (see my profile on EV Technologies for a complete list).

Thanks for your encouragement and support this year. 2017 should prove to be another interesting year. I’m already scheduled to present two sessions at SAP Insider BI 2017 about SAP BusinessObjects Lumira and SAP IQ (read related article here). I’ll also be attending the January 2017 ASUG volunteer meeting with my fellow Kentucky volunteers Eric-Stephan Neill, Vince Barber, Ashley Lowe, and Theresa Westlund. And no doubt SAP will provide a few interesting announcements to keep us on our toes.

SAP Insider BI 2017

Join me for deep dives into SAP Lumira and SAP IQ.

Join me this February 27 – March 2, 2017 in Orlando, Florida at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort for SAP Insider BI 2017, the definitive conference for professionals who use and support SAP BusinessObjects BI, SAP BW, and SAP analytics solutions.

This year I will be presenting two sessions – the full conference agenda is available on the conference web site.

SAP BusinessObjects Lumira integration with the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform: What BI administrators need to know.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 2:45 pm – 3:45 pm, room TBD

Learn how to add SAP BusinessObjects Lumira support to your existing SAP BusinessObjects BI landscape, and deploy to your user community with confidence. By attending, you will:

  • Learn how to install, size, and configure the SAP BusinessObjects Lumira in-memory database engine on your existing SAP BusinessObjects BI landscape
  • See step-by-step how to configure security and govern SAP BusinessObjects Lumira desktops from the BI platform
  • Explore which SAP BusinessObjects Lumira capabilities are supported in mobile BI and which ones are not
  • Best practices for monitoring the SAP BusinessObjects Lumira engine for peak performance

How SAP IQ can accelerate your existing data warehouse with minimal effort

Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm, room TBD

SAP has amended the SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 license to include 1 license of SAP PowerDesigner, 8 cores of SAP Data Integrator, and 8 cores of SAP IQ. Discover how this “data warehouse in a box” solution can accelerate your existing data warehouse with minimal effort, and how to lead a pilot project to determine the feasibility of migrating to the SAP IQ platform. Learn how to:

  • Use SAP PowerDesigner to automatically recreate existing data warehouse schema DDL from the current platform to SAP IQ
  • Use SAP Data Integrator to move a snapshot of the existing data warehouse to SAP IQ
  • Modify an existing universe to use SAP IQ with minimal disruption to downstream SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence content
  • Benchmark the old and new solution to determine ROI

Attendees will be able to take home a project plan to manage their own SAP IQ pilot.

Register by January 27 and SAVE $550! BI 2017 is co-located with Basis & SAP Administration 2017 and HANA 2017. Your registration will allow you access sessions across all 3 events at no additional cost.

Data Visualization Humor

Hopefully none of the “featured” visualizations belong to you.

There’s enough bad data visualizations out there to mock publically. Here are some sites that do just that.

  • Junk Charts – examples with commentary on how to make improvements. You can also follow @JunkCharts on Twitter.
  • WTF Visualizations – a Tumblr blog of “visualizations that make no sense”. You can also follow @WTFViz on Twitter.

Are there other sites that I should list here?

SAP Business Intelligence in the ‘Burgh

I will be speaking about the latest SAP innovations in analytics at the next Pittsburgh BusinessObjects User Group (PGHBOUG) on Thursday, December 1, 2016.

What’s New in SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise 4.2

SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise 4.2 provides a wealth of new enhancements whether you are a user, developer or administrator. This session will focus on innovations as seen through the eyes of a business user who uses Web Intelligence or Lumira on a regular basis. We’ll also unpack the benefits of adopting the Information Design Tool for universe design and SAP IQ for accelerating your existing data warehouse architecture.

SAP Lumira: What BI Administrators Need to Know

Learn how to add SAP Lumira support to your existing SAP BI or Edge landscape. See several of Lumira’s unique features for trusted data discovery and deploy to your user community with confidence.
• Learn how to install, size, and configure the SAP Lumira in-memory database engine on your existing SAP BI landscape
• See step-by-step how to configure security and govern SAP Lumira desktops from the BI platform
• Learn which Lumira capabilities are supported in Mobile BI and which ones aren’t
• Adopt best practices for monitoring the SAP Lumira engine for peak performance
• Understand how SAP Lumira and Design Studio will converge with their 2.0 releases

It’s been over four years since I’ve been at a Pittsburgh meeting and am looking forward to sampling some pierogis and local craft brews. Visit the Pittsburgh BusinessObjects User Group web site for meeting location, directions and other details.

Watching #ASUGBIA from the sidelines

Unfortunately, I am not one of the top ten reasons to attend ASUG BIA this year.

ASUG released a YouTube video listing the Top Ten Reasons to Attend their BI + Analytics Conference on October 17-20, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Sadly, for reasons beyond my control, I won’t be there. It will be the first annual BI conference that I miss since first attending BusinessObjects Insight in 2005. It looks like a spectacular event, especially with keynotes from industry thought leaders Wayne Eckerson and Claudia Imhoff. If you’re fortunate enough to attend this year’s event, send me a postcard!