This Tuesday, Apple unveiled its new iPhone and Watch. While I wouldn’t consider it an unveiling- as most of the details were previously disclosed- SAP provided an #askSAP webcast to elaborate on its analytics roadmap (see related article, The Future of the SAP BI Platform, Again) and respond directly to questions posed by its customers. I caught three key messages from the #askSAP webcast.
When I hear Jayne Landry speak, either directly or through her blogs, she always conveys the message that “we’re listening”. While we may quibble about the speed and direction of SAP analytics, I do believe that SAP is sincerely listening to its analytics customers more than they have in the past. Further evidence of this listening is Ty Miller’s news that SAP including Lumira Server as part of the BI platform license and creating a limited-use lower-cost HANA license to facilitate that. Even more shocking was Ty’s admission that SAP is looking at providing web access to Lumira visualizations without the need for HANA. If true, this is a welcome break from the HANA Everywhere messaging (see Steve Lucas’ SAP Insider article, SAP HANA Everywhere). I’m still confused on details and timeframes, but am looking forward to hearing more first-hand at this month’s ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.
Bill McDermott’s message of Run Simple is taking root throughout SAP, including analytics. Folding together tools for the analyst persona like Analysis, Live Office, Explorer and Lumira makes a lot of sense. So does keeping Crystal Reports and Web Intelligence largely intact. As a big Explorer fan, the news of its functionality moving to Lumira (and therefore HANA) makes me nervous, but I’m curious to see how Explorer’s road map might change in light of Lumira w/o HANA (see previous paragraph). Sure, we all wish things would move along faster (see related article, The Future of the SAP BI Platform, Again), but I have no doubt that SAP executives agree with customers on this point.
We’d Really Rather You Didn’t Buy Those Other
Smartwatches Analytics Tools
I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking about why Apple announced a product (the Apple Watch) that won’t be available until 2015. I came up with two reasons. First, Apple wants to give developers plenty of lead time to support the watch with their apps. Second, and I believe more important than the first, Apple wants to suck the oxygen out of the smartwatch room. “Don’t even think of buying an Android watch for Christmas because we’ll have you covered in 2015.” (Fast Company came up with three theories).
SAP employed a similar strategy to Apple’s this week. At first, I wondered why SAP would schedule the webcast on a day where any news was likely to get buried under the deluge of Apple coverage. But September 9 was also the day of Tableau CEO Christian Chabot’s keynote from the Tableau Customer Conference as well as their financial analyst day (I still haven’t watched either presentation but hope to get caught up over the weekend). It’s no coincidence that SAP planned their webcast on the same day as Tableau’s keynote (and that Tableau was the only competitor mentioned by name in Steve Lucas’ latest blog post). It’s year-end budgeting time. And SAP would be eternally grateful if customers based their desktop data visualization strategy around Lumira. And keep those pesky land-and-expand Tableau desktop licenses out of the capital budgets because it isn’t the enterprise standard application dictated by corporate IT (remember those guys?).
The roadmap made clear which direction the SAP Big Data bus is headed in. But what remains unclear is when it will arrive with shipping software. No doubt we’ll be hearing more at the ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference and throughout the rest of 2014.
What did you take away from the #askSAP webcast? Be sure to place your vote for which 80’s hit captures your reaction to the #askSAP webcast for BI Strategy and Direction?
For Further Reading
- Follow the #askSAP conversation on Twitter
- SAP Clarifies BI Roadmap, Takes on Questions on #askSAP Webcast by Courtney Bjorlin/ASUG News
- Times They Are a Changin’ by Greg Myers on EV Technologies blog
- My takeaways from the “#askSAP Analytics Call: SAP BusinessObjects BI Strategy and Roadmap” by Ronald Konijnenburg/SAP Community Network
- The Countdown on Data Visualization Has Begun – Top Ten Reasons Why SAP Will Deliver by Steve Lucas/SAP