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 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)

SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI 6.6

SAP Mobile takes one giant leap forward for Lumira 2.0 but Web Intelligence support is still a few steps behind.

SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI 6.6 is now available for download in the Apple iTunes app store. This means that we’re one step closer to the general availability of SAP Lumira 2.0.

What’s New in Version 6.6.3

  • SAP Lumira 2.0 support (for both the discovery and designer components of SAP Lumira)
  • Additional charts and functionalities for the discovery component of SAP Lumira
  • Good containerization support
  • AirWatch SDK support

SAP Lumira has been the star of the iOS Mobile BI app since version 6.3 was released in December 2015. There’s been a feature gap in mobile Web Intelligence chart rendering since SAP BI 4.0 was released over five years ago. And with the Web Intelligence team delivering new functionality like shared components and new charts like geocharts, gauges and tiles, the gap has only widened.

If history is a guide, we can expect a few months of minor point releases containing “technical improvements” to version 6.6 hopefully followed by version 6.7 around December 2017. Hopefully version 6.7 will make some progress closing the Web Intelligence mobile feature gap. But I imagine that by then the Mobile BI team will be hard at work getting ready to support the Fiorified (and Java-less!) version of Web Intelligence that will hopefully arrive in 2018.

SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI for Android remains at version 6.2 in the Google Play store. Android users will have to wait just a bit longer for Lumira 2.0 support in their app.

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

Is SAP Mobile BI Ready for iOS 10?

It’s tempting to upgrade immediately to iOS 10, but SAP Mobile BI users should wait. If they can control themselves.

Today, Tuesday, September 13, 2016, is the day Apple officially releases its latest mobile OS, iOS 10, to the public. Although SAP’s recently acquired Roambi apps received iOS 10 updates yesterday, we’re still waiting for an iOS 10 compatible update for the SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI app, which historically arrives about a week after Apple updates its OS. It’s likely that Apple may have some iOS 10.1 fixes ready by then.

Today is a good day to remind your SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI users that they should avoid updating to iOS 10 until all of your organization’s mission-critical apps support it.

Today is a good day to remind your support staff to confirm the iOS version during any support calls, as there are frequently small glitches that occur until vendors release a fix for the latest Apple mobile OS.

And lastly, if you haven’t yet implemented a mobile BI strategy, it’s time to take a fresh look at both SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI and SAP BusinessObjects Roambi, which are complementary, not competitive solutions from SAP.

UPDATE: SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI version 6.4.13 was released September 16, 2016 with iOS 10 support (see related SCN article, SAP BusinessObjects Mobile now supports iOS 10). Assuming your other enterprise mobile apps are ready for iOS 10, feel free to update your iPhones and iPads.

RoamBI (If You Want To)

Roam if you want to
Roam around the world
Roam if you want to
Without wings, without wheels

the B-52’s

Yesterday during the SAP Insider BI2016 keynote, Jayne Landry, SAP Global VP and GM for Business Intelligence announced SAP’s acquisition of RoamBI with a single slide, then quickly moved onto other announcements. RoamBI Co-Founder Santiago Becerra stepped down as CEO in November 2014 and passed away a few weeks ago. He was, in the words of InfoSol’s Paul Grill, a true BI visionary, seeing the business potential of first Adobe Flash and later the Apple iPhone (an ironic combination, to be sure). SAP customers may also recognize Santiago’s name as one of the founders of Infomerssion, the company that created Xcelsius. Xcelsius was sold in 2005 to BusinessObjects and continues to live on rebranded as SAP Dashboards.

What does the RoamBI acquisition mean for SAP analytics customers? It’s simply too early to tell. The first iterations of RoamBI’s signature mobile product only worked with the SAP BusinessObjects suite, although support was later added for other on-premise and cloud-based data sources.

SAP’s lack of an acquisition roadmap is probably an indicator that the deal came together quickly, with Santiago’s passing potentially acting as a catalyst. It’s likely that the technology gained from the RoamBI acquisition will benefit both classic SAP BusinessObjects on-premise customers as well as users of SAP’s new Cloud for Analytics offering.


BI to go at SAP Insider’s BI2015

Join me at SAP Insider’s BI2015 conference in Las Vegas.

In March 2015, I’ll be speaking at SAP Insider BI2015 in Las Vegas, a WIS Publishing conference. It’s actually four conferences in one, as HANA 2015, HR 2015 and SAP Admin 2015 will all be going on at the same time. EV Technologies is an event sponsor and I’ll be joined by several of my co-workers (see related EV Technologies article, Viva, Las Vegas!).

SAP Mobile BI to Go at SAP Insider

BI to go! A guide to mobilizing SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence reports

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 5:00 PM – 6:15 PM
Web and formatted reports track

This comprehensive session teaches you how to create SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence reports, as well as tailor existing reports, for tablet and smartphone devices. After a brief overview of how to make your BI environment mobile-ready, you will explore:

  • Techniques to master new mobile-exclusive capabilities, like bullet graphs and scorecards
  • Important differences between card view and page view
  • Methods to distribute bursted and personalized content to users via their mobile devices

You can learn more about these events on the SAP Insider web site or follow the BI2015 conversation on Twitter.

See you in Vegas!