This article is my 400th published blog article. Thanks for reading!
Monitoring, along with Platform Search, Promotion Management (formerly Lifecycle Management), and Visual Difference, was introduced as a marquee feature of the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 platform, the first major release of the platform bearing SAP’s distinctive fingerprints. But after the initial fanfare of the BI 4.0 launch, SAP seemed satisfied that these features could appear on a checklist of “enterprise BI” features. None of these capabilities received significant updates in last year’s BI 4.1 update (although to be fair, there have been modest enhancements in support packs 1 and 2, with more rumored for the upcoming Support Pack 3).
SAP BusinessObjects BI 4 Monitoring suffers from two key deficiencies. First, the well-documented reliance on Apache Derby as a trending database on the back end (see related series of articles from EV Technologies, Demolition Derby). Second, the front-end is built with Adobe Flash. While this “rich interface” seemed like a good idea five years ago on the BI 4.0 drawing board, the use of Flash is now a liability. The Adobe Flash plug-in is crash-prone and a source of security issues and frequent patch updates. And as we’ve seen with SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, the use of an Adobe Flash interface seems to actually slow SAP’s ability to innovate (a View SQL button, anyone?).
And Kristof Speeckaert speaks for many SAP BusinessObjects administrators with the following tweet:
— Kristof Speeckaert (@kspeeckaert) March 5, 2014
The monitoring engine is an important feature of the SAP BusinessObjects platform. However, its implementation in BI 4.0 was only a first step. The SAP roadmap for dashboards eschews Adobe Flash in favor of HTML5 (see related article, The Future of SAP Dashboards). And while its roadmap is less clear, it’s reasonable to assume that the next release of Explorer-like functionality will share and extend the HTML5 technology present in SAP Lumira. In a similar way, it’s critical that both Apache Derby and Adobe Flash are quickly phased out of SAP’s BI platform.
Nobody demos an administrator’s tool like the Central Management Console from a keynote stage. So it’s easy for SAP product managers to nix enhancements and spend limited resources elsewhere. But keeping less-visible or vocal IT managers and administrators energized about the BI platform is just as important as C-level executives and power users. I hope SAP will take a second look at the enterprise features of their enterprise BI platform and take the next steps to continue their evolution and innovation.
What are your impressions of the BI 4.x monitoring engine?