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What's Coming in 2017 for SAP BusinessObjects BI? Q&A with SAP Mentor Tammy Powlas

December 07, 2016

The SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) 4.2 platform offers a number of innovations to users. What should you expect from SAP BI in 2017 for products including SAP BusinessObjects Lumira and SAP BusinessObjects Cloud?

SAPinsider BI 2017 speaker Tammy Powlas answered user questions on what the future holds for SAP BI solutions and how you can best leverage new BI tools. Tammy took questions on upgrades, when to integrate BW with BI, and more, including:

  • What road map updates/changes are coming in 2017 for SAP BusinessObjects BI tools?
  • Can we connect multiple database sources in the universe designer itself?
  • Are there any plans for converging Design Studio & Lumira?
  • What is the future of Live Office?
  • What is the future of WebI?

Tammy will be presenting 4 sessions at BI 2017, including a case study session "Top 10 ways Fairfax Water squeezes value from its SAP BusinessObjects BI and analytics investments."

You can view the chat replay or read the edited transcript below. 

Meet the panelist: 

Tammy PowlasTammy Powlas, Fairfax Water
Tammy Powlas has been an ASUG Volunteer since 2007 and an SAP Mentor since 2010. Tammy has spoken at the SAP TechEd, SAP Inside Track events, ASUG Webcasts, ASUG Annual Conference and at other ASUG events. Tammy served on the SAP TechEd Design team for the past 8 years. She is a Certified Public Accountant, Project Management Professional, and an SAP Certified professional. She was featured in the book 'Five Steps to a Successful SAP Career'. Tammy was a 2011-2016 Top Contributor to the SAP Community Network.

Live Blog What's Coming in 2017 for SAP BusinessObjects BI?
 

Transcript:

SAPinsiderMatt: Welcome to today’s live Q&A. I am excited to be joined by SAP Mentor Tammy Powlas. Tammy will be answering questions for the next hour on what expect from SAP BI in 2017 for products including SAP BusinessObjects Lumira and SAP BusinessObjects Cloud.

Tammy will be speaking at SAPinsider's BI 2017 event, the definitive conference for professionals who use and support SAP's business intelligence, analytics, and data warehousing solutions.

There are already a number of questions posted. Please enter your questions into the module below to ensure Tammy has a chance to answer it during the hour. Enjoy the chat!

Tammy Powlas: Welcome everyone - thank you for attending today.

Comment From SGORDON: What road map updates/changes are coming in 2017 for SAP BusinessObjects BI tools?

Tammy Powlas: SGORDON, thank you for your question! Please see this https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/09/sap-bi-strategy-and-roadmap-webcast-summary/— figure 19 gives a high level overview, and of course there's also the SAP BusinessObjects Lumira/Design Studio convergence. Also take a look at what is coming with BusinessObjects Cloud — https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/14/business-objects-cloud-roadmap-webcast-updates/

Comment From Jayme: We have heard that starting with service pack 4 for BI 4.2 Launchpad, the browser will not need the Java applet as the editor in BI Launchpad will become all HTML. Is that true? If not, do you have any idea as when this will happen.

Tammy Powlas: Jayme, this started with BI4.2 SP3 - see https://archive.sap.com/documents/docs/DOC-74364 — and more is planned for BI4.2 SP4 - see Figure 22 here: https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/09/sap-bi-strategy-and-roadmap-webcast-summary/

Comment From Jayme: We are migrating to 4.2 in early 2017. We use Crystal Reports 2013, and will continue to use Crystal Reports 2016 and the Business View Manager. We are reluctant to use Crystal Reports Enterprise. What is the future of "classic" Crystal Reports and Business View Manager? At one point we heard that Crystal Reports 2013 was the last of its kind, but obviously Crystal Reports 2016 is supported.

Tammy Powlas: Hi Jayme, Crystal Reports 2016 will be around — see here. I use it myself against SAP ERP/ECC. There is a roadmap for it at this link. I am not familiar with the Business View Manager but according to this SAP KBA it works with Crystal Reports 2016 https://apps.support.sap.com/sap/support/knowledge/public/en/1940177

Comment From Azhar: Can we connect multiple database sources in the universe designer itself?

Tammy Powlas: Hi Azhar, thank you for your question. I'm not familiar with the Universe Designer; have you tried using the Information Design Tool? See https://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/display/BOBJ/BI+4.0+New+Features+and+Changes On SCN it says, "the main advantage of IDT is that you can create a universe based on the multiple sources."

Comment From Paul Wilson: I've heard Lumira & Design Studio will converge into a single software product. Is this true, or is it just a re-branding exercise?

Tammy Powlas: Hi Paul, thank you for your question. There will be 2 clients (Lumira Disovery for Lumira Desktop and Lumira Designer for Design Studio) with one BIP backend. Please see https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/21/preview-of-sap-lumira-asug-webcast-qa/

Comment From Ankit: I would like to know the timeline for the upcoming patches. It would be great if you can update the planned release schedule for BO 4.2 SP4.

Tammy Powlas: Ankit, thank you for your question! Please see the SAP BusinessObjects maintenance schedule here: https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/21/preview-of-sap-lumira-asug-webcast-qa/

For BI4.2 SP4, please see (subject to change) Figure 21 here: https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/09/sap-bi-strategy-and-roadmap-webcast-summary/

Comment From CrisE: Could you please talk about the convergence of Lumira and Design Studio? How will this facilitate self-service BI for Lumira users? Does the combined application require more IT support for Lumira Data Discovery than is currently necessary given the historic complexity of Design Studio development?

Tammy Powlas: Hi Cris, thank you for your question! Lumira Disovery is for a business/power user; they should be able to use it without training (my take here). See https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/14/sap-lumira-2.0-road-ahead-webcast-notes/

Design Studio (future Lumira Designer) is for professional dashboards.

I think business users will be able to take advantage of some of the features in Lumira, including the add-ons such as natural language processing - see https://blogs.sap.com/2016/12/04/sap-lumira-writes-reports-with-narrative-science/

Comment From Saket: Is there any plan for converging Design Studio & Lumira?

Tammy Powlas: Yes, see https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/14/sap-lumira-2.0-road-ahead-webcast-notes/

The plan is for two clients, one in the back end on the BI Platform. Lumira Discovery (today Lumira Desktop) will be for self-service data, and Design Studio (to become Lumira Designer) is for professional dashboards.

Comment From T.: Hi. In BI 4.2, we are now able to link universes. Does this enhancement function the same as the linked universe in XI 3.1, or can it now federate different data sources when the universes are linked? For example, can we link a SQL server data source to an Oracle data source?

Tammy Powlas: I am not familiar with how it worked in 3.1; for 4.2 please see this documentation from SAP's Christian Ah-Soon https://archive.sap.com/documents/docs/DOC-67438

Comment From Lauren: What should I tell my team to look for from SAP BI in 2017?

Tammy Powlas: Hi Lauren. They can expect more convergence and simplification of the tools. Please see this https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/09/sap-bi-strategy-and-roadmap-webcast-summary/. There will also be BusinessObjects Cloud releases every 2 weeks — https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/14/business-objects-cloud-roadmap-webcast-updates/

Comment From Rena: We are on 4.1. What's different in 4.2?

Tammy Powlas: For 4.2 please see this “What's New in the Semantic Layer” document https://archive.sap.com/documents/docs/DOC-67438 There are also lots of new items for Web Intelligence in BI4.2 SP3 — see https://archive.sap.com/documents/docs/DOC-74364 

Comment From Deb: There's lots of overlap and confusion with Lumira, Dashboards, and Explorer. What's the plan for consolidation? Will they be combined into one product? If we are starting new dashboard type content, which should we use to ensure future support?

Tammy Powlas: Hi Deb. It depends on your use case. SAP's strategy has been to focus on simplification and convergence. Please see Figure 12 in https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/09/sap-bi-strategy-and-roadmap-webcast-summary/ for SAP’s future plans (subject to change, of course).

Comment From Ray Marsal: Hi Tammy. I've heard rumors over time that the future platform will move to NetWeaver. Do you have any idea if there is any validity to that, and any idea about when the next gen version of the BI platform is coming?

Tammy Powlas: Hi Ray. I haven't heard that; for on-premise deployments, the tools work on the BI Platform. Please see https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/09/sap-bi-strategy-and-roadmap-webcast-summary/. I also think we'll hear more at SAPPHIRENOW next May.

Comment From Kevin: Our company would like to begin building universes over Z-tables using the IDT. Do you know of a good training resource?

Tammy Powlas: By Z-tables, do you mean in SAP ECC, Kevin? I also recommend using the free tutorials that SAP publishes — they is excellent resources. See http://bit.ly/LearnBI

Comment From Ferenc Halasz: Hi Tammy. Can you please give a few words about the future of BEx? What is the plan for it, and is this tool going to be finished? How long will it live? Is it still being developed? Thanks.

Tammy Powlas: With BW/4HANA you can still use the BEx Query Designer, but BEx Analyzer and BEx Web will no longer be used.

Comment From Juliette: How are the BI tools converging in 2017?

Tammy Powlas: Hi Juliette, Please see Figure 12 here of this blog: https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/09/sap-bi-strategy-and-roadmap-webcast-summary/ 

Comment From Jason: Do you see SAP creating a new tool similar to BEx Analyzer Query Designer with the best features incorporated in it? I am having a tough time moving to Analysis for OLAP, since structures are not allowed to be used in the tool, and we use the queries as source data for the BOBJ tools. Do you have any advice on the conversion?

Tammy Powlas: Hi Jason. Have you tried using Analysis Office? That is the premium alternative to BEx Analyzer. Additionally, SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio (to become Lumira Designer) offers templates similar to Analysis OLAP functionality

Comment From Roger: What are the typical models for rolling out Lumira to the enterprise?

Tammy Powlas: Hi Roger. I would start small, using Lumira Desktop first, and see how it goes. Then move to the Lumira for BI platform.

Comment From Design Studio stil...: How does Digital Boardroom work?

Tammy Powlas: Digital Boardroom is part of BusinessObjects Cloud — you can check it out yourself as part of the free OpenSAP course at https://open.sap.com/courses/db1 

Comment From Alex Guerrero: Hi Tammy. Will Design Studio will morph to Lumira Designer? Is that what you meant by "SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio (to become Lumira Designer)"?

Tammy Powlas: Hi Alex.– Those are the names today as I understand it as part of the convergence. Please see https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/09/sap-bi-strategy-and-roadmap-webcast-summary/.

Comment From Jason: Can you use the Analysis for Office tool as a data source for BOBJ tools?

Tammy Powlas: Hi Jason. You can save Analysis Office in an Excel file and then use that as a data source, but I don't recommend it. Instead, if your data source is a BEx query, use that.

Comment From Danny: Design Studio still lacks many components that Dashboards (Xcelsius) had. Is there a roadmap for adding the missing capabilities?

Tammy Powlas: Hi Danny. Lumira 2.x will have more features added along with reusable components — see https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/14/sap-lumira-2.0-road-ahead-webcast-notes/. I can't comment on XCelsius gaps since I am not that familiar with the tool.

Comment From Ferenc Halasz: What is the future of WebI?

Tammy Powlas: Web Intelligence has new features planned for BI4.2 SP4 — please see Figure 22 here: https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/09/sap-bi-strategy-and-roadmap-webcast-summary/.

Comment From Hi - Weve Design S...: When will Design Studio support Excel as data source like Web Intelligence?

Tammy Powlas: Hi — today you can use CSV as a data source, and there are third party extensions that allow you to use Excel as a data source. You can also go from Analysis Office to Design Studio. I am not aware of future plans beyond this: https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/14/sap-lumira-2.0-road-ahead-webcast-notes/

Comment From Design Studio stil...: What is the future of Live Office?

Tammy Powlas: Please see the convergence plans shown in Figure 12: https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/09/sap-bi-strategy-and-roadmap-webcast-summary/

Comment From Hi - Weve Design S...: Hi — We've been using a Design Studio add-on and Lumira Server for BI Platform, installed in same BI platform. In Lumira studio, do we need to uninstall those components and install the new components?

Tammy Powlas: Hi. Since the product isn't even in beta, the answer is, I don't know. We'll have to wait for H1 2017.

Comment From Ferenc Halasz: How long will Dashboards be supported/developed?

Tammy Powlas: Since it is being shipped with BI4.2, it will be supported with that release cycle.

Comment From Hi - Weve Design S...: There are various components of Web Intelligence, not supported in mobile. When can we expect that  functionality of Web Intelligence to be supported in mobile like Design Studio is?

Tammy Powlas: Hi —I don't know the answer for that, but I would encourage you to post that as an idea on Idea Place so the SAP product managers can see it — https://ideas.sap.com/SAPBusinessObjectsWebIntelligence. I know there are a lot of enhancements planned for Web Intelligence in BI4.2 SP4. Also, BusinessObjects Mobile 6.5 was just released this week — have you tried that?

Comment From Hi - Weve Design S...: What's the plan to support direct connectivity with non-SAP data bases from Web Intelligence and Design Studio?

Tammy Powlas: Today you can use non-SAP data sources using universes against Web Intelligence / Design Studio; or is your question related to some other data source?

Comment From Jayme: There is a Crystal Reports 2016, but are they envisioning Crystal Reports 2017, 2018, etc.? Or is Crystal Reports 2016 the last of its kind, and the expectation is that Crystal Reports for Enterprise should be used in the future?

Tammy Powlas: There are planned innovations for Crystal Reports 2016 in its roadmap here.

Comment From Hi - Weve Design S...: My question was, is there any way to avoid using a universe layer to connect to non-SAP database tables like Teradata? This is now possible for HANA.

Tammy Powlas: In Lumira today, you have some other connection options; that will be there for Lumira 2.0 and there are plans for interoperability between Lumira and Design Studio — see https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/14/sap-lumira-2.0-road-ahead-webcast-notes/

Comment From Vivek: Any plans for Lumira supporting interoperability (Lumira to any other BI client like WebI, Design Studio, Analysis Office, etc.)?

Tammy Powlas: Yes, that’s mentioned in the "Future Directions" section of the Lumira Roadmap https://accounts.sap.com/saml2/idp/sso/accounts.sap.com (Service Marketplace logon required).

Comment From Hi - Weve Design S...: When will SAML be supported by the default Tomcat to establish single sign-on with other applications? Right now it’s only supported for HANA from BI.

Tammy Powlas: This is mentioned in the “Planned Innovations” section of the BI platform roadmap. (Innovations can take 12-18 months and are subject to change.)

Comment From Alex Guerrero: In a self-service environment where users do data preparation, how will tools like SAP Agile Data Preparation (or others from SAP) integrate with BusinessObjects reporting tools?

Tammy Powlas: Alex — I know Agile Data Prep is an EIM tool, but I haven't heard that discussed. It sounds like a great suggestion for Idea Place — go to ideas.sap.com.

Comment From Hi - Weve Design S...: Web service-based applications like Design Studio are not currently supported with single sign-on with SiteMinder. What's the expected timeline for adding that in 2017? Our company's standard user interface is through SiteMinder.

Tammy Powlas: Hi — I recommend suggesting this to SAP using Idea Place; I don't have any information on this. Thank you for your question https://ideas.sap.com/SAPBOBIPlatform

Comment From Hi - Weve Design S...: Trusted authentication is not currently supported for web service-based applications. When can we expect that to get added? We heard that will be taken care of sometime in H1 2017. Is there any particular release we can expect?

Tammy Powlas: I don't have knowledge of the technical details; I recommend reviewing SAP Idea Place https://ideas.sap.com/SAPBOBIPlatform

Comment From Kate: We're looking to integrate WebI with SAP BW and SAP HANA. What are the connectivity options?

Tammy Powlas: Kate — I always recommend looking at the BEx Query as the data source with the BI tools; to me it is the "single source of truth" and the best option. Thank you for your question.

Comment From Alex: What's new in Analysis Office 2.4?

Tammy Powlas: Hi Alex, thank you for your question. There are many new features, like linking dimensions, etc. — please see https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/28/reviewing-what-is-new-in-businessobjectanalysis-office-2.4/

Comment From Kevin: Is the current version of Query Designer 64 bit compliant?

Tammy Powlas: Kevin, I’m not sure what you mean by 64 bit compliant; I am using it successfully on a 64 bit machine. Thank you for your question and for attending.

SAPinsiderMatt: Thank you Tammy for your time and your insightful answers. Before we wrap up today's chat, could you share what you are most looking forward to seeing at this year's SAPinsider BI event?

Tammy Powlas: Hi Matt - I am looking forward to hearing the customer stories, panel discussions, the jump start sessions and more — plus all the “Meet the Expert” opportunities … sunny Orlando Florida sounds really good now!!

SAPinsiderMatt: Thank you again Tammy for your time and expertise! And thank you everyone who participated in today's chat. You can review the Q&A chat replay at any time, and I will alert you by email when the transcript of today’s discussion is posted. 

Tammy Powlas: Thank you all for attending today and for your great questions!

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