A Few (More) Words about Visualization in SAP BI 4.0

Do exploding pie charts really sell business intelligence software?

I’m a consultant, so I’m usually doing project work, not sales.  But after posting an article this morning about visualization in SAP BI 4.0, I attended an afternoon SAP sales presentation with one of our clients.  A big focus of the presentation was SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 and why the customer should upgrade.  As luck would have it,  we were treated to not one, but TWO PowerPoint slides demonstrating the now-infamous exploding pie chart.  The demo was conducted remotely, so the SAP sales engineer was deprived of the ability to see me smirking.  When we moved to the live demo, the sales engineer took a perfectly good Web Intelligence 4.0 report that showed a sectioned report with a cross-tab table and bar chart.  As an aside, the bar chart in Web Intelligence 4.0 is much more readable than the prior version.  But the sales engineer had to demonstrate the interactive capabilities of Web Intelligence.  So he converted the bar chart into a – you guessed it – exploding pie chart.  A sectioned exploding pie chart.  Pie charts everywhere.  Agggghhhhhh!!!

Having used BusinessObjects since version 5.1 (when Web Intelligence 2.x was so bad it was unusable), I am personally ecstatic that Web Intelligence 4.0 not only features a new charting engine but shares it with the other reporting tools in the platform.  However, like Mr. Few, I am disappointed that out of all of that charting goodness, the exploding pie chart is not only ineffective, but overexposed.

A note to SAP: could you please show customers some of the other, more useful, charts in your standard sales presentation and demos?  Thanks!

Author: Dallas Marks

I am a business intelligence architect, author, and trainer. I help organizations harness the power of analytics, primarily with SAP BusinessObjects products. An active blogger, SAP Mentor and co-author of the SAP Press book SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide, I prefer piano keyboards over computer keyboards when not blogging or tweeting about business intelligence.

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