It hasn’t been a great month for Adobe Flash. Both Google and Mozilla took extraordinary steps to temporarily disable Adobe Flash from their respective browsers, bringing disruption to SAP Dashboards (see related BusinessObjects Board article).
Adobe released a patch and all was well again, but isn’t it really just a matter of time before we’ll be going through the same exercise? There’s a growing chorus in the mainstream press, not just the technical press, to walk away from Adobe Flash.
- Adobe Flash Woes Prove Steve Jobs Was Right by Tony Bradley, published July 14, 2015 in Forbes
- Google and Mozilla Disable Flash Over Security Concerns by Danny Yadron, published July 15, 2015 in Wall Street Journal
- Flash. Must. Die. by Brian Barrett published July 15, 2015 in Wired
- Tech World Prepares Obituary for Adobe Flash by Robert McMillan, published July 20, 2015 in Wall Street Journal
- The Agonizingly Slow Decline of Adobe Flash Player by Jared Newman, published August 18, 2015 in Fast Company
While the Occupy Flash movement (yes, there is a movement) advocates letting “your IT department know you can do without Flash”, there are some obvious places (like Explorer and Dashboards/Xcelsius) where the Adobe Flash Player is required by SAP BusinessObjects.
— Andreas J.A. S. (@Xeradox) July 21, 2015
Unfortunately, there are also several less-than-obvious places (see related article, Adobe Flash- Dying but not Dead Just Yet). However, much of everyday web browsing no longer requires the Adobe Flash Player. I was motivated by the recent controversy to remove Adobe Flash from my two Macs, just to see what would happen. I’ll limit Adobe Flash to my Microsoft Windows VM that I use at work.
SAP customers have endured similar scenarios with the Java Runtime Engine and Web Intelligence. But unlike Java, which still manages to have multiple dependencies in today’s enterprise, there are fewer reasons to rely on Adobe Flash and IT security may act more quickly to eliminate it completely from corporate desktops. Mainstream web sites like YouTube no longer require Adobe Flash (and let’s be honest, many organizations prevent you from watching grumpy cat videos at the office anyway).
SAP’s strategy for Dashboards and Explorer has been to leave them as-is as new plug-in free tools like Design Studio and Lumira increase in both maturity and adoption. That strategy assumes that Adobe will continue to support Flash indefinitely, allowing SAP customers to continue to use Dashboards and Explorer content even though the tools no longer receive investment. However, the future of Flash may no longer be in the hands of Adobe but instead in the hands of IT security, keen to remove Flash from the enterprise. This change of direction will to put more pressure on business intelligence competency centers to retire SAP Dashboards and Explorer more quickly than anticipated, and earlier than the current SAP BI roadmap will comfortably allow.
How are Adobe Flash vulnerabilities affecting your BI strategy? Is your organization under pressure to retire Adobe Flash? Please share a comment below.
- How to uninstall Adobe Flash Player from Microsoft Windows
- How to uninstall Adobe Flash Player from Apple Mac OS X
- A Bleak Future for Flash and Xcelsius/SAP Dashboards by Donald MacCormick, via SAP Community Network
- Occupy Flash official web site