In the classic 1965 film The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews plays Maria, who according to Wikipedia is “a young woman who leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the seven children of a naval officer widower.” Governing seven children is no easy task, but it’s made easier when you have a guitar and basic sewing skills.
How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find the word that means Maria?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!
Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay and listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand?
Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?
But enough about the governess. Let’s talk about governance, looking closer at the new governance features introduced in SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence BI 4.1 Support Pack 5. These features allow a SAP BI administrator to pin users to a specific CMS cluster and control which features of the product are enabled. The administrator can also direct the auto-update feature to an internal site, keeping the organization on a consistent version of SAP Lumira desktop.
To enable governance, a file named LumiraGovernance.properties must be deployed in each user’s C:Users\.sapvi directory. How is this accomplished? According to Greg Wcislo’s SCN post,
To make the feature effective, you do need a centralized software distribution system, and one that will set this file to read only.
A New Approach to Client Tool Governance
Lumira’s approach to governance is unique among the current SAP analytics tools. Whether it’s an end-user tool like Web Intelligence or a developer tool like the Universe Design Tool or Information Design Tool, traditional client tools become governed automatically as soon as a user connects to a CMS. In contrast, Lumira requires the BI administrator to distribute a governance file to each users desktop, without any assistance from the BI platform. So while the governance feature exists on a product comparison chart, actually using the feature will require time and effort from BI administrators that is often in short supply.
But Who Wants to Be Governed Anyway?
I predict that application governance is going to be a slippery slope for SAP. On one hand, IT wants to hear that they can control rogue users. On the other hand, a large part of Tableau’s current appeal is that it can be purchased and deployed without IT. SAP hasn’t introduced anything new here to help improve often frayed relationships between business users and their IT departments.
What About Software Distribution?
Something else missing from the first release of Lumira governance is automated software distribution. Long time BusinessObjects users will fondly remember ZABO, or Zero-Administration Business Objects. Not only did ZABO automate software distribution, it eliminated the need to configure database middleware on client PCs, typically a cumbersome process. Despite the (not very well-known) fact that Web Intelligence Rich Client can be installed from the BI Launch Pad, BI administrators are reluctant to deploy and manage client software. Or IT policies make it difficult to leverage those features. Live Office, although it cannot be installed from the BI Launch Pad, is another example of a client BI tool whose adoption has suffered due to the installation hurdle.
The Bottom Line
The marketplace has spoken. Users want powerful visualization software on their desktops, unconstrained by grumpy administrators who turn off desired features or by flaky, underperforming web applications. SAP- with its historic ability to automatically deploy client software combined with an awareness of IT’s reluctance to do so- has an opportunity here.
Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
‘Till you find your dream.
Let’s see how these governance features mature over the next few months.
- SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform Administrator Guide 4.1 SP 5 from the SAP Help Portal
- SAP BusinessObjects BI add-on for SAP Lumira Guide from the SAP Help Portal
- Governing Lumira Desktop using BI4 without HANA on SAP Community Network
- Lumira governance on BI Platform 4.1 SP5, actual customer experience on SAP Community Network
- Learn about The Sound of Music (film) on Wikipedia
- Purchase The Sound of Music (Blu Ray) on Amazon.com
What are your thoughts on SAP Lumira’s new governance features? Would Captain Von Trapp approve?
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