Ten Features That Absolutely Must Be in BI 4.2 SP3

It’s been four years since I published my wish list for BI 4.0 Feature Pack 3. I revisit the list and see what, if anything, has made it into the SAP BI suite.

Four years ago, I wrote an article entitled Ten Features That Absolutely Must Be in BI 4.0 Feature Pack 3. With SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 SP3 soon going into general availability, I thought it might be interesting to review the current status of my original wish list.

1. Tree control for Web Intelligence universe selection

No improvements here and none expected for the forthcoming SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 Support Pack 3. But perhaps SAP will surprise us with a redesigned universe selector panel in the fully-functional Java-free Web Intelligence coming next year in Support Pack 4?

2. Improved visual distinction between UNV and UNX universes in Web Intelligence

I don’t think there’s been much change here. Still an opportunity for some subtle UI improvements.

3. OLAP universe support for Explorer

Lack of OLAP support for this aging product is by design according to SAP KB 1559221My friend who requested it got tired of waiting and is now a Tableau developer. True story.

4. UNX universe support for Live Office

Fixed. UNX support was finally added to starting with SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 SP6. Live Office isn’t for everyone, but Excel geeks seem to really like it. And Live Office is going to live on in the simplified BI portfolio as its functionality is converged into a future version of Analysis for Microsoft Office.

5. Improved qualification selection in Information Design Tool

Fixed. There have been many usability improvements in the Information Design Tool and this is one of them. If you last took a look at Information Design Tool way back when version 4.0 was released, it’s time to take a second look at the new 4.2 release.

6. Corporate customization of Central Management Console

This request is still unfulfilled but perhaps we’ll see something when the CMC gets the Fiori treatment next year? I’m not looking for robust customization like the BI Launch Pad has. I just want a simple way to change some text strings and colors (using preset themes) to easily distinguish multiple landscapes in the BI lifecycle (Development, Test, Production).

7. No more monolithic Adaptive Processing Server

Fixed. SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 introduced the System Configuration Wizard for APS configuration and some other post-installation tasks, which you can read about here.

My big gripe here continues to be that Design Studio and Lumira both add services to the Adaptive Processing Server. Because these two products are “add-ons”, the System Configuration Wizard doesn’t accommodate them very well. I hope the situation will improve next year when Lumira and Design Studio 2.0 standardize on a single server-size engine.

8. Improved control of Web Intelligence default paper size

Still an open item. Since non-A4 paper size mostly an accommodation for American users, no doubt this improvement is far down on the enhancement backlog, if it’s there at all. Perhaps paper size is less relevant in a greener 21st century?

9. Improved browser support

Fixed. SAP has made major strides in browser support. The biggest obstacle to browser support is how various browsers handle (or refuse to handle) plugins like Adobe Flash and Oracle Java. Fortunately, SAP is working really hard to deliver a plugin-free version of the platform, starting with enhancements to the Web Intelligence HTML panel in the forthcoming BI 4.2 SP3.

10. Improved and better organized sample content

Still as bad as before, except that SAP has added some really nice sample content for mobile devices (see related article, Sampling the Mobile BI Samples with BI 4.1).

Conclusion

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence BI 4.2 Support Pack 3 is almost ready for general availability and contains some really exciting improvements, including four of the items on this wish list. But I hope there’s still time to include the remaining six improvements in BI 4.2 SP4.

What’s on your SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 SP3 wish list?

Thoughts on the SAP Digital Boardroom

There are some compelling things about the SAP Digital Boardroom and I’ve shared some observations from recent partner training on the SAP Community Network.

Last month, I attended the SAP BusinessObjects Cloud Pre-Sales Workshop at SAP’s Vancouver, BC office (see related SCN article). Approximately two dozen pre-sales professionals from various North American partners received intensive training on how to use SAP BusinessObjects Cloud. We also received a tour of the SAP Digital Boardroom, which is built on SAP BusinessObjects Cloud (which in turn is built on the SAP HANA Cloud platform, or HCP).

There are some compelling things about the SAP Digital Boardroom and I’ve shared some observations from the partner training on the SAP Community Network.

Read Thoughts on the SAP Digital Boardroom on the SAP Community Network.

Celebrate the Small Stuff Along the Road to BI Maturity

Wherever your organization is on its business intelligence journey, I hope you’ll take the time to celebrate success whenever and wherever it happens.

My son recently finished kindergarten, his first year of public education. His mother and I were invited, along with the other parents, to a special end-of-year party to celebrate.

I learned from my son’s kindergarten teacher the importance of celebrating small steps of progress. There are lessons here for business intelligence teams and I’ve written some observations in the Business Intelligence Community on the SAP Community Network.

Wherever your organization is on its business intelligence journey, I hope you’ll take the time to celebrate success whenever and wherever it happens.

Read Celebrate the Small Stuff Along the Road to BI Maturity on the SAP Community Network.

Will SAP’s Bill McDermott Enter US Presidential Race?

“It doesn’t hurt that he would have the best hair of all of the current candidates.”

With the leading candidates of both US presidential parties out of favor with a majority of the electorate, there is renewed speculation that SAP CEO Bill McDermott may enter the US presidential race as either an independent or third-party candidate.

Clearly one of the most unusual primary seasons ever experienced by the American electorate, large numbers of voters are expressing their discontent with the status quo in Washington, casting votes for “outsider” candidates like Democrat Bernie Sanders or Republican Donald Trump.

According to Reuters, Bill McDermott “received compensation for 2015 including salary, benefits and short- and long-term incentives of 9.28 million euros ($10.40 million), up nearly 15 percent over 2014”. Although the chief executive of the United States earns a mere fraction of what a tech CEO makes, business-minded candidates from Ross Perot to Mitt Romney to Carly Fiorina have sought the office for more altruistic reasons than just compensation. In this election cycle, other high-profile business leaders from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to former New York mayor and businessman Michael Bloomberg have given the idea some consideration.

Should McDermott choose to enter the race, there would be a renewed emphasis on the use of technology in US elections. A secret team of elite data scientists and the world’s largest SAP HANA system- code named Event Horizon– are already at work analyzing voter demographics in an unassuming office building just minutes from SAP’s technology labs in Palo Alto, California.

An unnamed spokesperson who wasn’t authorized to speak publically about the matter said “Should he chose to run, we have a candidate who is a true leader on a global stage. He has a track record of bringing a positive approach to difficult problems and would do so for the problems currently facing the United States. His campaign style would be a sharp contrast to what Americans have seen so far in the primaries. And it doesn’t hurt that he would have the best hair of all of the current candidates.”

SAP just extended contracts for its executive team until 2021, but it’s unclear if that’s enough to keep Mr. McDermott out of the race. SAP spokesperson April Erste would only offer a terse “It is our policy not to comment on rumors or speculation,” when asked about the potential candidacy.

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.


SAP Insider BI 2016

Join me in Las Vegas for SAP Insider’s BI 2016.

I’m presenting at SAP Insider’s BI 2016 event being held February 16-19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. I’ll be presenting three breakouts this year and co-presenting a pre-conference seminar with Eric Vallo.

Analytics end-to-end! An in-depth examination of the full analytics process and how to make it work at your organization
BI Pre-conference session | Palmer 2 | Monday, February 15, 2016 | 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Co-presented with Eric Vallo, this pre-conference session provided a comprehensive look at the end-to-end analytics process, critical steps necessary for successfully deploying the right analytic tools and process, and specific ‘gotchas’ to look out for that can lead to unwanted results.

Meet the Mentors: BI platform administration
Lafleur 2 | Wednesday, February 17, 2016 | 2:30 PM – 2:50 PM
SAP mentors Dallas Marks and Eric Vallo will facilitate this interactive discussion and sharing of ideas for efficient, effective administration of your SAP BI platform. Share useful tips you have uncovered, and get new ideas from your conference cohorts. Take home plenty of practical tips and new resources for when you return to the office.

Secrets of customizing the BI Launch Pad in SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2
BI Track 7 | Palmer 2 | Thursday, February 18, 2016 | 8:30 AM – 9:45 AM
Get practical tips and techniques to customize your BI Launch Pad portal, as well as new personalization capabilities introduced in SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence 4.1. With detailed step-by-step instructions, learn how to deliver a tailored information portal that meets user needs without custom coding.

SAP Lumira Integration for the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform: What BI Administrators Need to Know
BI Track 7 | Petrus 2 | Thursday, February 18, 2016 | 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm
SAP Lumira is now a full citizen of the SAP BI platform and no longer requires SAP HANA. Learn how to plan, size, and configure your existing landscape for the addition of the SAP Lumira for BI4 add-on and its in-memory database engine (formerly known as the Velocity engine), and how it compliments your existing SAP BI tools.

Making mobile magic with SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence
BI Track 5 | Mouton 2 | Friday, February 19, 2016 | 8:30 AM – 9:45 AM
Get best practices to mobilize SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence reports — both how to tailor your existing reports for tablet and smartphone devices, as well as hot to create new mobile-friendly views.