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WebI, Lumira, Design Studio… What’s Next? Q&A on BI Tools Selection with SAP Mentors Joshua Fletcher and Clint Vosloo

August 07, 2014

In this online Q&A on BI tools selection, SAP Mentors and SAPinsider conference speakers Joshua Fletcher and Clint Vosloo took readers' questions on SAP Lumira, Design Studio, Web Intelligence, Dashboards and other BI tools decisions.

Review the entire Q&A in the chat replay, along with the edited transcript, below. 

Live Blog BI Tools Selection Q&A with Joshua Fletcher & Clint Vosloo: Live August 7 10-11am SGT

SAPinsider:   We’re pleased to be joined by SAP Mentors Joshua Fletcher and Clint Vosloo. 

Josh and Clint are past speakers at SAPinsider’s BI conferences in Europe and Singapore. BI experts in recent interviews with Josh and Clint, as well as Josh’s past Q&As on universe design and WebI. Clint is also presenting sessions on Lumira, WebI, and development for HANA,October 13-15 at this year' s BI 2014 in Singapore.

Josh, Clint, welcome! And thank you both for taking some questions on in today’s chat!

Clint Vosloo: Hi All!

Joshua Fletcher: Hi everyone, great to be with you today.

SAPinsider:  I know there are lots of questions for you, and readers have already submitted a number of them. So we’ll let you get to that now!

[Editor’s note:  For the transcript, we’ve rearranged the questions loosely by topic – see our notes throughout.]

Readers asked a broad range of BI tools selection questions:

Comment From Koh

With all the focus on Design Studio, where does that leave tools like BEx and WebI?

Clint Vosloo: Design Studio is SAP dashboarding tool. Webi will stay the key reporting tool. Bex will still be supported. This article will help to look at the future state.

Comment From Louisa

Hi, Are you aware whether there is a decision tree / any tool available to assist in determining / selecting the right BOBJ tools?

Joshua Fletcher: There is an SAP version, and also customers in the community have given their own perspectives. Have a look here and here

Comment From Koh

How is evaluating and planning for SAP HANA a factor in the reports we create now and planning for future BI tool selections?

Clint Vosloo:  Lumira Server (this runs on HANA),  with your end users accessing it via a web browser,  would be the way to go.

This also depends on whether you are using HANA as an enterprise data warehouse DB or under BW.

The key for me is whether you are looking to invest in SAP HANA; then I would stay close to the SAP BI tools, as this will always have the tightest integration. To see where SAP is going, look to this link. 

Comment From Xavier

Which BusinessObjects tool would you consider self-service and why?

Clint Vosloo: Xavier - you have a few choices here.

WebI has always been the main reporting/self -service tool in the BI platform. In my opinion it is simple for end users to understand, and can be a bit of a Swiss Army knife in what it can do.

Explorer was great for data discovery, but based on SAP's future roadmap I would rather focus on Lumira.

Comment From Mani

How different are Lumira and Design Studio in terms of reporting/analysis on portable devices (mobility)? 

Clint Vosloo: They have different use cases in my opinion.  Lumira is a data discovery tool, and Design Studio will be around fixed predefined metrics as you need to design your dashboard up front. To see where SAP is going, look here.

Comment From Jana Cermakova

There is some interoperability among the tools, further is planned as per roadmaps. Which tools/patterns would you recommend to cover BI use case life cycle, eg. business user's exploration -> pilot shared with broader community -> standard report published on the Portal.

Clint Vosloo: Hi Jana

We need to be guided by what SAP put out in this blog post: Lumira is a great way to do the initial exploration/POC work to get an in-depth understanding of your data, and to ensure your end users are happy. From there you can take the design into the BI4 tool set to be deployed onto the platform.

Comment From Lestor

Clint / Josh, We continue to see significant growth in BO Explorer with business self-service, driving improved business results across the region and especially in mobility. Any comments regarding this tool?

Joshua Fletcher: I love Explorer and am a big fan. One of the things I'm expecting from SAP is how Explorer customers can transition to Lumira simply, easily and with no loss of functionality, such as searching across datasets easily.

Comment From Jana Cermakova

I'd like to ask about recommendations and future directions for a use case of pushing information to recipients’ emails. Broadcasting/scheduling is currently available by some tools on BI platform (WebI, Crystal, AnalysisOffice), BEx QD and WAD on NW. What are the future directions for this use case? When will it be available in Design Studio? When on NW?

Clint Vosloo: Hi Jana

When you are looking at broadcasting/scheduling tools, then you need to be looking at the reporting tools by SAP, which - you are correct in saying - are Webi/Crystal/Office.

You will need to leverage off the BI platform to do the publishing/scheduling.

Design Studio/Lumira, etc., etc., are more app/analytical tools and not designed for bulk publishing.

Comment From Vishwanath

I am an SAP ABAP consultant. What is the prerequisite know-how to begin development on BI tools? I am interested in working on analytics with SAP.

Joshua Fletcher: Hi Vishwanath,

The analytics tools from SAP are quite wide. Having experience with SQL and data, you should be able to pick up the basics.

I'd recommend starting with Lumira (simple and self-service, lots of training available) and Crystal Reports, to give you both ends of the complexity spectrum.

Comment From Sonali Jain

How can we recommend to a client which tool is better for reporting? Do we have any specific checklist? And what if the requirement is to render on mobile devices?

Clint Vosloo: My personal favourite is WebI due to its flexibility and the ability to create "dashboard like" WebI reports if need be. It also can be deployed to the SAP Mobile app as well.

This also depends on whether you are or are not using BW as a data source with hierarchies; then Analysis for Office would be my recommendation.

Comment From Koh

What tools are optimized for mobile reporting?

Joshua Fletcher: Hi Koh,

Today you can get the following on mobile devices: 

  • Crystal Reports
  • Web Intelligence
  • Design Studio
  • Xcelsius (HTML5 only)
  • Explorer

I may have missed some, but hopefully that gives you a good idea.

Comment From Raghu

What are the prime points to be considered while sizing a predictive analysis solution?

Joshua Fletcher: The predictive engine you are using (HANA, R server, SAP PA Desktop); the  algorithms you are running; and dataset size.

Comment From Zeenath

What are some of the best tools that companies are implementing today from the SAP BOBJ Suite? I know it depends on the business needsof the company, but as an architect /developer we need to suggest some tools that are easy and quick turnaround time for report creation for top management.

Joshua Fletcher: In my personal opinion, the best tools for showing to top management are Explorer, Web Intelligence and Design Studio and/or Xcelsius running on mobile devices.

Comment From Koh

What skills do we need to build on in any move to new BI tools?

Joshua Fletcher: Design Studio uses Javascript, so you would want to be familiar with that.

Comment From Srinivas B

Which of the BusinessObjects tools would you recommend for a BFSI customer new to the SAP BW / BusinessObjects ecospace?

Joshua Fletcher: All the new SAP integrated tools, such as Analysis Office/OLAP and Design Studio.

Comment From Pramod

What is the best combination for SAP BW 7.4 and BOBJ (WebI, etc.)?  I faced many limitations with BEx and WebI. 

Joshua Fletcher: Analysis Office, Analysis OLAP and Design Studio would give you best integration, but maybe not the functionality you are after.

Design Studio questions topped the list: 

Comment From Navakanth

What is the Dashboard vs. Design Studio roadmap and direction from SAP?

Joshua Fletcher: Hi Navakanth,

SAP's recent post on convergence is the latest information on this. In a nutshell, Dashboards will be eventually rolled into Design Studio as the go-forward dashboards/application product.

Comment From sreekanth

Does use of Design Studio mean the end of Xcelsius/Dashboard Designer in the future?

Clint Vosloo: Pretty much - it will still be supported but Design Studio is the road ahead.

Comment From Jeanne

How is the what-if analysis capability in Design Studio, as compared to Dashboards (Xcelsius) and vs HANA SAP UI 5 engine?

Joshua Fletcher: Hi Jeanne,

Xcelsius is going to be the easiest to use as it uses the Excel spreadsheet underneath. So that will be most flexible for a business user.

Design Studio provides the scripting capabilities so as long as you can get the data you need (BW, HANA or universe); then you will be able to programatically build the what-if calculations you want.

The HTML5 engine in HANA - XS or SAP UI5 - will give you the most flexibility, as it is a coding language;  however you are building a bespoke application then, not just a dashboard.

So it really depends on your user's experience, capability in programming languages, and the result you want.

Comment From Snez

We have been evaluating Design Studio vs WAD (currently used for BI reporting) and it seems to me we will have to wait for next year for all the functionality to be available - at least based on the SAP roadmap. Is that your understanding, too?

Joshua Fletcher: Yes, though for some customers they may be able to transition already.


Comment From Uma

What is the difference between Xcelsius vs SAP Design Studio? How can we migrate Xcelsius to SAP Design Studio? Can we connect SAP Design Studio to Bex Reports? And cubes?

Joshua Fletcher: Hi Uma, if your landscape is primarily SAP cubes and queries, then Design Studio is going to be best for you right now. Xcelsius does fit some specific use cases today that Design Studio cannot do, but in the majority Design Studio is best for SAP BW connectivity.

Comment From Jeanne

What is Design Studio current and future capability on geospatial analysis?

Joshua Fletcher: Hi Jeanne, geospatial integration is Design Studio is currently delivered by SAP partners add-ons developed with the Design Studio SDK. You could also develop your own. SAP also recently announced a focus on ESRI integration, see this post.

Comment From Coco

Is there any plan to reduce the network load for Design Studio? When using Design studio with a server not in our region, it is obviously slower than other tools, e.g. WebI?

Joshua Fletcher: Hi Coco, sorry I'm not able to answer that. It is probably worth logging a ticket with SAP support on this to make them aware of poor WAN performance compared to other tools. This is also something I can see being an ongoing issue, as with something like Xcelsius you can use BIWS and Webi to pre-aggregrate the data on a scheduled basis, allowing you to minimise the data traffic.

Comment From Narendra

Will Design Studio replace WAD?

Joshua Fletcher: Yes, that is the intention. But if you are an existing customer you should do your own evaluation of gaps.

Comment From Ramesh

Do you have a migration tool to migrate reports from WAD or Dashboard Design to Design Studio, or does this have to be rebuilt?

Joshua Fletcher: My understanding is that today it has to be rebuilt, but SAP has acknowledged that a migration tool is wanted by many customers. We will have to watch and see.

Comment From Jana Cermakova

When is Design Studio expected to fully replace WAD for standard analytical reporting, e.g., support navigation by drag&drop, report-to-report interface, etc.? When shall we plan to migrate existing WAD reports into Design Studio?

Joshua Fletcher: Hi Jana,

As per my other comment to Narenda, the intention is for Design Studio to eventually replace WAD - but it is up to each individual customer, depending on how they use WAD today.

Comment From Zeenath

Is SAP Predictive Analysis the same as SAP Lumira? How are these two different? When should we use these tools? Which tool should we use to satisfy business needs?

Clint Vosloo: Lumira and Predictive are not the same tool, but they use the same application from a GUI perspective.

Predictive has all the same features of Lumira as well as having the ability to run predictive algorithms on your data set.

Lumira would be geared more towards the business user, and a Predictive user would need to have an understanding of the predictive algorithms to predict a reasonable outcome/data set.

All in all, the GUI looks the same.

Comment From Narendra

Can existing SAP customer use Design Studio without buying a BusinessObjects license?

Clint Vosloo: From my understanding yes. If you have an existing Dashboard Design license with SAP then you are entitled to Design Studio as well. I would speak to your AE to make 100% sure.

Comment From Guest

How does one go about planning a predictive analysis solution? What would be the benchmark for choosing tools for the solution?

Joshua Fletcher: I'd start small and pick a high-profile and relatively easy solution. Tools should give you the right level of connectivity, simplicity and functionality.

Comment From Gopal Nargunam

How do you compare Lumira with BusinessObjects Explorer?

Clint Vosloo: The only way you can do this is to compare the two side by side, which I know a few companies have done.

Lumira is catching up quickly in terms of features to Explorer and based on the future direction I would rather invest time/effort on Lumira. Lumira release cycles are every 6 weeks. 

Comment From Harry Chan

How different is the new Dashboard vs Xcelsius? I understand the new Dashboard can connect directly to Universes; does it have drilldown capability? If we acquired licenses for Xcelsius previously, can we convert it to the new Dashboard? Thanks.

Joshua Fletcher: Hi Harry,

Yes, customers licensed for Dashboards can use Design Studio. There is a majority of functional parity, but still some gaps for certain customers depending on how they use Dashboards today.

Comment From Guest

I realise that with Design Studio you need to be connected to a HANA backend system. What I mean to say is that there seems to be no offline dataset to work with.  I am trying to compare this with a WebI rich client, where I could be disconnected from the BI platform and still carry on my development work.

Is there, or will there be, any way to do the same with Design Studio?

Joshua Fletcher:   I expect this is a requirement SAP is aware of, and hopefully is looking to include in its roadmap.

Comment From Ramesh

At the moment I can see a need for coding in Design Studio. Do you have any plans to minimise the coding effort in the near future?

Joshua Fletcher: That's a good question for SAP, which I can't answer for them. I believe they are aware of this development difference between Xcelsius and Design Studio.

Comment From Mitesh

Does Design Studio support all the capabilities of Dashboards (Xcelcius) today, or are their some limitations? Moreover, with regard to mobile compatibility, my assumption is that Design Studio is better than Xcelsius, but can you please confirm?

Joshua Fletcher: Not all the capabilities are available yet, but for mobile compatibility,Design Studio is superior.

Comment From Michael

I would like to ask about current dashboards that have already been developed in Xcelsius. Is there a need in the future to change the dashboard? Will we still be able to make the changes in Xcelsius or must they be made in Design Studio? And is there any converter of the Xcelsius dashboard to a Design Studio dashboard?

Joshua Fletcher: I think conversion options are being discussed, but I'm not aware of this being formally communicated yet. See here for more info.


Comment From Guest

What is the future direction on Dashboards? Would they be replaced by Design Studio or Lumira?

Clint Vosloo: Dashboards will become Design Studio. Lumira is the data discovery tool going forward. For more, read here.

Readers asked about differences between Design Studio and SAP Lumira...

Comment From Zeenath

For me, Dashboard Design and SAP Lumira have almost the same features. Why do we have to go for Dashboard Design, in that case?

Clint Vosloo: For me Lumira is more of a discovery and analysis tool where you can explore your data, whereas Dashboards are based more on predetermined measures. Based on SAP future direction I would start looking at Design Studio for dashboarding.

Comment From Gopal Nargunam

Would you recommend using Lumira or SAP Dashboards for preparing dashboards?

Joshua Fletcher: Dashboards or Design Studio are best for dashboard applications.

Comment From Alex yang

We all know that Design Studio is mostly for normal IT usage reporting tool, and Lumira is a self-service reporting tool. But for end-users, there are still different ways to log on.

In the future, will SAP use the same platform for this, which means, from the end-user side, they will not have to know whether this web site is for Design Studio and this web site is for SAP Lumira?

Clint Vosloo: As of the latest release of Lumira and 4.1 of BOBJ, you can now publish your Lumira visualisations to your BI4 platform. This will ensure the end user will have one entry point for their reporting needs.

There is also Lumira Server, which the end user can access from a browser, but needs HANA.

Comment From Guest

As an SAP partner, what are the best ways to monetize around Lumira? I mean, as a self-service tool, it is a potential threat to replacing other BI tools that require integration, config and other work.

Joshua Fletcher: Yes potentially, but I also don't believe Lumira will take over all the BI work that is done today. I see it as more of a complement for day-to-day analysis and integration of manual to managed data sources.

Potential methods of monetisation are working with the SDK, and also working with customers on the supporting technologies around Lumira, such as universe development, HANA or platform architecture.

as well as questions more specifically about Lumira:  

Comment From Andrew R

Could you provide some thoughts on the roadmap for Lumira? Particularly in terms of integration with SAP BW and Business Objects Platform?

Clint Vosloo: Hi Andrew,

As far as I am aware, Lumira can connect to BW now.  As of BI4.1 SP4 you can publish Lumira data sets back to the BI platform

My opinion is that SAP is investing heavily in Lumira, and now that this ties back into the BI4 platform it is a great story.

Comment From MalarPrathap

What is the advantage of SAP Lumira?

Clint Vosloo: This is a data discovery tool that can now publish data back to the BI4 platform and HANA.

Comment From Wahid

How will customers benefit from Lumira vs. SAP BusinessObjects Explorer functionality?

Clint Vosloo: Lumira is getting all the investment and innovation from SAP so this will mean that you can stay up to date with the latest and greatest.

Comment From Gopal Nargunam

How do you compare BusinessObjects Explorer with Lumira ?

Clint Vosloo: The only way you can do this is to compare the two side by side which I know a few companies have done.

Lumira is catching up quickly to Explorer in terms of features, and based on the future direction I would rather invest time/effort on Lumira. Lumira release cycles are every 6 weeks.

Comment From Xavier

When will Lumira 1.17 be GA, and when will it become an application in BI Launchpad?

Clint Vosloo: Xavier - 1.18 is already out and available in Lumira Server with HANA. You can publish to the BI4 platform in this release.

Comment From Guest

What are the ways to experience new tools like Lumira?

Clint Vosloo: Download a free copy here  and you can play with Excel data sets. Also lots of great tutorials here.

Comment From Vijayendran

Can we connect SAP Lumira with BICS in the future?

Joshua Fletcher: Yes, connectivity to BW is available today.

Comment From Guest

Can we integrate Google Maps and Lumira, probably a runtime report of traffic or weather conditions?  I am just wondering about the possibilities we can explore using HANA  and Lumira.

Joshua Fletcher: This should be available if you leverage the Lumira SDK.


Comment From SONY Team-Singapore

What's the minimum BI backend requirement for implementing Lumira?

Joshua Fletcher: There isn't a backend required, unless you connect it to HANA for Lumira Server, or BusinessObjects for universe access.

Comment From David B.

In Lumira, is the granularity of the geographic locations being decreased, so that smaller towns with smaller populations will be included?

Joshua Fletcher: I wouldn't think this is a priority for the SAP development of Lumira, but worth feeding back to the SAP teams and support.

So, where does that leave Web Intelligence?

Comment From J. Erickson

Hi guys, thanks for the opportunity. I want know if we still need the Webi and dashboard tools now.

Clint Vosloo: Webi will always fill the role of the "classic reporting" tool for SAP and BOBJ.  Dashboards are merging into Design Studio in the future, so I would look at Design Studio as the road ahead for Dashboards.

On a side note, Webi documents can be created to have a very dashboard feel.

Comment From Joel

Hey guys! We are currently running WebI 4.0 via Java Client, and I have been unable to find some answers or figure these items out on my own. I have stacked bar charts over a time period (year, with a stacked bar per month), and I want a total of the stacked bar for each month, instead of individual bar totals of the stack. Thank you!

Joshua Fletcher: Hi Joel,

The chart formatting options in Webi are now quite extensive. I'm not sure I fully understand the question, but if the label options aren't enough, you could overlay other charts or provide a summary table next to the chart?

Comment From James Hsieh

Presently the way Webi connects to HANA Information Models is through a relational connection in the universe. However as HANA information models are inherently OLAP models, will SAP support an OLAP connection from WebI directly to HANA models?

Joshua Fletcher: Hi James,

 SAP has shown a prototype of WebI running on HANA.  I'd imagine as part of this it would include direct connectivity. For more see this post.   

Comment From Vijayendran

Will WebI reports for the iPad, with an option for WYSIWYG, be available in the future?

Joshua Fletcher: I have heard this being discussed but not sure if officially part of the roadmap yet. Lumira does provide this functionality today with Lumira Cloud.

Comment From Sonali Jain

Can we freeze columns in WebI?  If yes, how many columns?

Clint Vosloo: Yes, see

Comment From Vijayendran

Webi in iPad does not have self-service.  Will it be available in future?

Joshua Fletcher: This is not officially in a roadmap, and it will depend on where SAP takes the Lumira mobile self-service vs. WebI on HANA.

Comment From Navakanth

Is it possible to automate BusinessObjects WebI reports testing by using SDK, e.g., each record and values before and after upgrades?

Joshua Fletcher: Yes, this is possible, but there are a lot of variables to consider - and I'd suggest automated testing would be more useful at the ETL, DW and universe level.

And what’s the future for Analysis for Office?

Comment From Richard Gordy

I am interested in where the SAP Analysis for Office tools fit in as it relates to this discussion?

Clint Vosloo: Analysis for Office is very much part of the roadmap from SAP. A good link on statement of direction is this post by Jayne Landry.

Comment From Xavier

SAP replaced BEx with AO [SAP Analysis for Office] which is most unstable. What enhancements are in the pipeline?

Joshua Fletcher: Hi Xavier, I don't use AO on a day-to-day basis, but I'd firstly say it is the roadmap tool for Office integration, so you can expect to see investment from SAP in this tool. Secondly, please continue to provide feedback to SAP via support tickets, so they can see what challenges you have in the version you are using.

There was a quick discussion about broadcasting and email alerts…

Comment From Vijayendran

Hi, Does Dashboard Design (aka Xcelsius) have a broadcasting option?

Joshua Fletcher: Hi Vijayendran,

I believe broadcasting for Xcelsius is possible via a third-party add-on.

Comment From Guest

Can we send the report to users’ MS Outlook based on some conditions that we set on the runtime? For example, in my report, if the total value is negative, then an auto email alert should be sent to a group of users, and this should be automatic? Is this possible?

Joshua Fletcher: This is available with Crystal Reports alerts.

Comment From Lestor

I see a few questions regarding broadcasting, and I think the challenge is getting exception-based alerting broadcasted available the way that BEx can do it today.

Joshua Fletcher: Good point Lestor, and there are ways to achieve this in BusinessObjects, but not easily as BEx.

Comment From Guest

Hi, Could you please let me know if there is any option in SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 to schedule WebI reports based on the data in the report?  For example, say if revenue > 1000, then it triggers a WebI report to run and send it to required recipients? Thank you.

Joshua Fletcher: No I don't think this is possible, but you can use Crystal Reports alerts to trigger a Webi schedule, or even custom events triggered by the SDK.

Comment From Mani

Is there any option in BI 4.0 to schedule a Webi report based on the data in the report?

Joshua Fletcher: Only with a workaround using Crystal Reports alerts, custom event triggers or publications.

… and a smattering of questions on predictive analytics, performance, big data, SAP HANA integration, and future enhancements  before we wrapped up the Q&A:

Comment From Xavier

It is surprising that no one has mentioned Analysis for OLAP, a good alternative to WAD.

Joshua Fletcher: Good point, thanks.  Analysis for OLAP seems to get overlooked regularly.

Comment From SONY Team-Singapore

Will there be any additional load from BO on backend BI systems? Database compression is enabling our BI database on the backend system. Is there any performance impact of this on BO reporting?

Clint Vosloo: When it comes to performance, you are always limited to the weakest link in your chain.

The BI4 platform these days is often under spec'd and this can cause bottlenecks.

If you have a report that runs for too long, then start with the raw SQL on the DB and work step-by-step up the chain to find out where your performance issues are.

Comment From David B.

Can you give a high-level overview of where SAP HANA Live fits into the ECC/BW strategy?

Joshua Fletcher: Hi David,

My opinion on HANA Live and its fit is that if you are a new customer to SAP (and running HANA) you should explore HANA Live before any investment in BW.

My personal opinion is that HANA Live should and will be the source of all operational reporting.

Comment From David B.

I concur in regards to new sites. My personal view is that over time should an existing customer with both BW and BO move to HANA (Enterprise), that they should consider replacing any BW extractions with SAP HANA Live views. Where possible, of course.

Joshua Fletcher: Yes that’s what I think, too, but of course there is a much bigger OCM component and financial impact to migration.

Comment From SONY Team-Singapore

Hi, this is the Sony team.  We have plans to implement BusinessObjects. Currently our approach is to implement BOBJ because of BEx EOL. We would like to know what is the roadmap for BEx support?

Joshua Fletcher: Hi Sony Team,

BW connectivity (cubes, queries) will continued to be supported. The BEx report designer and WAD are still supported, but customers are recommended to transition to the premium alternatives in BusinessObjects.

Comment From MalarPrathap

What are prerequisites to build a predictive analytical engine?

Joshua Fletcher: This beyond the scope of this conversation, but I'd investigate using R with SAP Predictive Analytics and/or HANA PAL.

Comment From Chetan

What are the tools that are available in SAP which can be compared to the Big Data competitors like  Cognos, Hyperion, Tableau & Qlikview?

Joshua Fletcher: That is probably a very extensive blog post and beyond the scope of our conversation, but I believe SAP has the best well-rounded platform and future innovation prospects - just minor things to sort out.


Comment From Navakanth

Is there a plan to address known issues (hierarchy, structures and other metadata) of BusinessObjects reporting tools when reporting with SAP BW/ECC instead of using workarounds?

Joshua Fletcher: Yes, I think over time. But this won't happen overnight and will depend on each tool and its future roadmap.

Comment From Guest

If there any plan from SAP to simplify the licensing model around reporting tools? With the current licensing model, it is complex and hard to understand and often drives customer to look for alternative, simple tools like Qlikview. Customers have to buy BW, BOBJ, HANA, data services and find the resource who has skills with 10 different toolsets to produce a report. That’s a bit hard to sell, don’t you think?

Joshua Fletcher: I certainly hope so, but it's not up to me. Good discussion to raise with your SAP Account Manager.

Comment From Guest

Can we get OBIEE dashboard/report on mobility platform?

Joshua Fletcher: Most likely not through the SAP BI mobile applications, no.

Comment From SONY Team-Singapore

Can multiple BI systems can be connected to one BusinessObjects system? How does licensing work in such scenarios?

Joshua Fletcher: Yes they can, technically. Licensing should be discussed with your SAP account manager as it can differ per region.

Comment From Gopal Nargunam

Is an RDS approach a good start on fresh BI/BO implementations? If yes, why?

Clint Vosloo: It can be, and this really depends on your data set and which RDS you are referring to. RDS is a great start to a project and gives you a good template to start building on. As always the devil is in the data, so integrating the RDS into your environment is key.

Comment From Alex yang

For SAP Lumira, we could like to know what's the future plan on BW offline data. In the current 1.18.0 release, SAP Lumira still only supports online connection with limited chart types. This greatly limits the usage for SAP Lumira.

Clint Vosloo: Hi Alex,

Unfortunately we are not too sure when this will be released.

Comment From Narendra

Can existing SAP customers use Design Studio without buying a BusinessObject license?

Joshua Fletcher: Hi Narenda,

If you are licensed for BusinessObjects Dashboards you are licensed for Design Studio. I am not aware of whether any existing NetWeaver licensing gives you access to Design Studio, so best to check with your account manager at SAP.

Comment From Jana Cermakova

What are the future directions for personalization & centralization of user-relevant BI content? BI Workspace as we know it today? Any other plans regarding, for example , Lumira, SAP NetWeaver platform, etc.?

Joshua Fletcher: Hi Jana, the BI workspace (in BusinessObjects) personalisation is more driven by personalisation at the data, universe or report level.

Explorer also has personalisation options. The NW platform uses a different mechanism, being SAP authentication and personalisation around that.

I'm not aware of any specific roadmap SAP has shared around this - sorry.

Comment From Yousaf - SAP BO Developer

How do you see Tableau in terms of a BI Client tool against WebI or other SAP BusinessObjects tools? Gartner has predicted Tableau will be the leader in BI market around next year? With its ability to connect to almost all kinds of data sources including HANA, where do you see SAP BO suite in the future?

Clint Vosloo: Tableau is a great tool and as per the recent 8.2 launch I went to, it can now connect to SAP HANA.

Where Tableau and the other Dektop BI tools fall short is that they do not have the enterprise authentication and sturdiness to them.

What SAP has with Lumira, which now integrates into your BOBJ platform and HANA, is what puts them ahead, in my opinion.

SAPinsider:  Josh and Clint, thank you again for joining us today!

Clint Vosloo: Thanks all - please feel to reach out to me on or @vosloo777 if you need more insight.

Joshua Fletcher: Thanks everyone, some great questions. We answer lots of these questions via a regular #AskDSLayer podcast, so feel free to ask us to go into more detail for you. I'm also available on Twitter on @josh_fletcher, and check out our podcast at

SAPinsider: For more on BI tools selection, visit our BI Channel, where you’ll fine recent  interviews with Josh and Clint, as well as Josh’s past Q&As on universe design and WebI.

Clint will also be a speaker at our upcoming BI 2014 and HANA 2014 events in Singapore, presenting sessions on Lumira, WebI, and development for HANA, October 13-15.

SAPinsider: Thank you both! And thank you again for the tremendous response, and to everyone who posted a question today.

For more on this topic... can find more in-depth tips from Josh in his BI EXPERT article "Three Advanced Techniques for Web Intelligence" and in his video "How to Use Input Controls."

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