The Only SAP Lumira 2.0 Feature That Matters

The stakes are high. Lumira 2.0 cannot just be a “better Lumira”.

Yesterday, SAP unveiled SAP Lumira 2.0 at the SAP Insider BI2017 conference in Orlando, Florida.

SAP BusinessObjects Lumira and SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio are coming together under a single name, retaining 2 user experiences but on a common technology platform. Learn about the next step in SAP’s convergence strategy.

from SAP Insider breakout session description

This year’s conference has an interesting vibe. The stories from the keynote stage are about SAP BusinessObjects Lumira 2.0 and SAP BusinessObjects Cloud. Customers on the showroom floor are telling different stories – stories of more time and energy spent using SAP BusinessObjects tools to prepare data sets for competing products.

What we know is that Lumira and Design Studio are coming together (see Blair Wheadon’s SAP Community blog), with the Lumira Desktop getting a rebranding as Lumira Discovery. Design Studio will be rebranded as Lumira Designer. Design Studio is getting a new splash screen with a smattering of new features, most importantly integration. However, the current Lumira desktop is getting quite a major UX overhaul. Gone are the prepare, visualize and compose rooms in favor of a single workspace. Also rumored to be gone are many of the pain points and limitations experienced by early Lumira adopters.

But out of all the product features that were demonstrated yesterday, there’s only ONE feature that matters.

Can Lumira 2.0 beat Tableau?

Can it clip Qlik?

And can it punch PowerBI?

Lumira 2.0 cannot just be a “better Lumira”. It must be a credible alternative to what’s currently available- and leading- in the marketplace. It’s no longer sufficient for SAP to prepare its sales force or its partners to do battle in the marketplace. The battle is being played out at customer sites around the globe. SAP must also prepare its customers to fight- and win- data discovery projects from the vendors who are landing and expanding right in front of their eyes.

For many SAP customers, it’s no longer about keeping tools Tableau out of the enterprise. It’s already there. The game is now about keeping Tableau running in tandem with solutions from SAP. Is it time for SAP to adjust strategy and help their customers reach that goal instead?

What are your impressions of SAP BusinessObjects Lumira 2.0?

 

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

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 Asia 3

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 Northern E-4

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.

Presentation downloads for all sessions are available to conference attendees from the SAP Insider web site.

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.

SAP Lumira Essentials

Until Lumira has its own movie, at least we have books to appreciate.

Dmitry Anoshin has the distinction of being the author of one of just two books about SAP Lumira. SAP Lumira Essentials (ISBN 978-1785281815) is offered by Packt Publishing and provides comprehensive coverage of the key features of SAP’s data discovery product.

The book was written using SAP Lumira version 1.21. Version 1.31 is the most current release, and will remain so for several months until SAP Lumira 2.0 makes its debut sometime in early 2017. SAP Lumira has been a difficult product to keep up with, having agile product updates roughly every six weeks, and Dmitry is to be commended for hitting a moving target.

While there have been changes to both the SAP Lumira product and its roadmap since version 1.21 was introduced, there’s some great things to love here. The book comes with a substantial amount of sample content, including some spreadsheets, a mySQL database and a universe. There’s an entire chapter on preparing data that shows how to perform data cleanup, enriching, and merging. There’s also a chapter on working with visualization extensions. This material translates well to the most current version of SAP Lumira.

Some of the topics covered have changed since this book’s publication. SAP has abandoned SAP Lumira Cloud in favor of SAP BusinessObjects Cloud, a completely different offering. SAP Lumira is now fully integrated with the SAP BusinessObjects platform. And the universe and BW connectivity is substantially improved.

That said, some people prefer having a book that they can make notes in instead of just online documentation. And this book is one that can answer a lot of questions about SAP Lumira.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”

The Road Unexplored: A Future for SAP BusinessObjects Explorer

Four years is an eternity in enterprise software development. Is it time to bring Explorer’s mojo back with a revised product roadmap?

Pity poor SAP BusinessObjects Explorer. Born as a poster child for innovation in business intelligence, it became a foster child- passed from product owner to product owner without a devoted and loving parent. Customers had their own reasons for not adopting Explorer, the most significant reason being- at least historically- licensing costs. I’ve been a passionate advocate of SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, giving many presentations to BI administrators over the years beginning with “Deploying BI to the Masses using SAP BusinessObjects Explorer” at the 2009 Global BusinessObjects Network (GBN) conference in Dallas, Texas. In my experience, most SAP BI customers have stuck largely with Web Intelligence and Crystal Reports, with a smattering of Xcelsius dashboards. But customers who have adopted Explorer really love the tool and have made significant investments in it.

The current state of affairs is unfortunate, because if you’ve seen a SAP HANA demo (and who hasn’t?), you’ve most likely seen a demonstration of Explorer and how briskly it interacts with large volumes of data in the SAP HANA platform. SAP’s most unloved BI tool demonstrates how lovely SAP HANA can be.

It’s been four years since SAP released a significant update to Explorer. SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 Feature Pack 3 was released on June 15, 2012 and brought many new features to the BI4 platform that missed the original GA date, including Explorer Exploration Views. At the time, Exploration Views was one of the key benefits SAP touted as part of Feature Pack 3. But four years without innovation is an eternity in enterprise software years.

The SAP Digital Board Room is the spiritual successor to Explorer, not because of its feature set (although it does offer some of Explorer’s faceted navigation capabilities), but because of who its target user is (see my recent SAP Community Network article, Thoughts on the SAP Digital Boardroom). But the SAP Digital Board Room was not designed to provide a home for legacy on-premise Explorer information spaces.

As SAP focuses on bringing the second generation of Lumira and Design Studio to life, it seems likely that another year or possibly two will pass before Explorer’s search and exploration capabilities are fully incorporated into Lumira. But what will the delay mean for current Explorer customers, whose pain in dealing with Adobe Flash is second only to Web Intelligence customers dealing with Oracle Java? How should we reconcile SAP’s commitment to not expire BI content with the marketplace’s rejection of legacy technology like Adobe Flash? And if not from Explorer, where will the next business intelligence breakthrough for casual business users come from?

Is there a better path forward for Explorer than the current roadmap allows? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or on a related Explorer thread on SAP Community Network, How and when will Explorer functionality migrate to Lumira?

Major Milestones for SAP BusinessObjects Explorer

  • October 2005, BusinessObjects releases Intelligent Question XI Release 2, Explorer’s spiritual ancestor
  • October 2007, Debuted as Polestar on XI R2 for Microsoft Windows
  • July 2009, Polestar rebranded as Explorer for XI 3.1 SP1 release
  • July 2010, Explorer XI 3.2 added support for IBM AIX, SUSE Linux, and Edge BI platform
  • September 2011, Explorer 4.0 goes GA, integrated into BI Launchpad 4.0, removes UNV support and adds UNX support, introduces direct connectivity to SAP HANA with 4.0 SP2 FP11
  • June 2012, Exploration Views introduced in BI 4.0 Feature Pack 3 September 2013: SAP restores UNV support with BI 4.1
  • June 2014, SAP announces plans to not expire content, fold Explorer use cases into future version of SAP Lumira as part of a convergence of the SAP BI tool portfolio

Recommended Reading

When I’m Sixty-Four (Bit)

SAP Lumira wonders “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four (bit)”?

Lumira Splash Screen

Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four (bit)?

Lennon–McCartney from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

New 64-bit engine leads SAP to sunset 32-bit Lumira Desktop

In a SAP Community Network article entitled 32-bit Lumira Desktop: Direction and Support Going Forward, SAP reveals that Lumira 1.25 (not yet released) will be the last edition of Lumira with 32-bit support.

SAP Visual Intelligence 1.0 (the original product name for what we now know as Lumira) was originally released as 64-bit. SAP Visual Intelligence 1.07 added 32-bit support based on customer feedback. I’m not surprised that SAP acted to meet customers wishes, but I was surprised that giving users, especially power users, a 64-bit operating system was such a large obstacle for SAP customers. Most of these same customers were deploying 32-bit Windows 7 on 64-bit hardware. Starting with the iPhone 5S and iOS 7, even pocket-sized smartphones sport 64-bit processors and operating systems.

SAP introduced its new “in-memory database engine”, formerly known as the much hipper “velocity engine”, in the latest 64-bit edition of Lumira Desktop, version 1.23 (see related SAP Community Network article, What’s New in SAP Lumira 1.23). The 32-bit edition of Lumira Desktop will move into its impending retirement with the older IQ-based database engine. However, Lumira has reached a point in its development where new features (on the Lumira 1.26 desktop and soon to be on the BI 4.1 server) will require this new engine.

The new in-memory database engine will soon come to the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1 platform as an add-on, allowing visualizations created with SAP Lumira Desktop to be viewed and refreshed in the BI Launch Pad (see related SAP Community Network article, Planned Native Integration of Lumira into BI Platform Details).

Will SAP BI 4.2 Client Tools Go 64-bit?

With SAP Lumira, SAP Design Studio, and even SAP Data Services Designer already available in 64-bit editions, will SAP BI 4.2 introduce 64-bit editions of “go-forward” client tools like Crystal Reports for Enterprise, Information Design Tool, and Web Intelligence Rich Client? Or does “interoperability” in the SAP BI tool simplification diagram mean that future versions of Crystal Reports and Web Intelligence will receive an adrenaline boost and also take advantage of the in-memory database engine?

SAP BI Simplified Portfolio

At this point, nobody outside of SAP knows but I’m sure we’ll hear more details in the latter half of 2015.

Is Your Organization Ready for 64-bits?

One thing is clear. Now is the time to install 64-bit Windows on the workstations of your Business Intelligence Competency Center (BICC) team and the power users you support. Let your SAP Lumira Desktop pilot act as a catalyst in discussions with your enterprise desktop support organization. And while Microsoft is planning a 32-bit edition of its upcoming Windows 10, offer to be guinea pigs for your organization’s Windows 10 pilot, insuring that 64-bit Windows 10 will be the operating system deployed to your core constituencies.

Resources

Are you ready to go 64-bit?