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Q&A

 

SAP BI Product Convergence Update: What’s Happening Today, What is Coming Next, and What Does It Mean for You?

Q&A with Jayne Landry, Merlijn Ekkel, Blair Wheadon, Ty Miller, and more SAP experts

April 20, 2017

SAP’s BI suite continues its course of ongoing product advancements, and there are significant new product releases on the very near horizon. With the pending SP4 release of SAP BI 4.2 due to impact the full BI suite, and the major new release of SAP BusinessObjects Lumira 2.0 (where SAP BusinessObjects Lumira and SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio are merged into one product), there is much that companies need to understand in order to uncover the many opportunities available with these updates. Product convergence and simplification of the BI suite has been a stated commitment for SAP product strategy for almost three years now,  and it is a perfect time to get comprehensive answers on the current status of these products and the convergence road ahead.

In this live Q&A, Jayne Landry, Merlijn Ekkel, Blair Wheadon, Ty Miller, and several other key product leaders from BI product groups at SAP, including SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, SAP BusinessObjects Lumira, SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio, and SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Office, answered users' questions about the road ahead for SAP’s BI products. The panel answered over 80 questions, including:

  • How has the BI product convergence process been going, and what are some of the key highlights of that process leading up to today?
  • what are some recent BI platform features that are focused on supporting the BI tools convergence objective?
  • How do new SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 features affect the user experience and support the convergence mission?
  • What is going on with the convergence of SAP BusinessObjects Lumira and SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio with Lumira 2.0?
  • Looking ahead, what would you suggest are the top few functionality additions coming in the next release of Analysis for Office
  • How should these on-premise SAP BusinessObjects customers be thinking SAP BusinessObjects Cloud in their BI strategy planning?

Read the transcript below

SAPinsiderMatt

Hello and welcome to today’s live Q&A on SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2. I’m Matthew Shea, the manager of SAPinsider Online and I am excited to introduce the members of today’s expert panel, made up of key product leaders from BI product groups at SAP!

SAPinsiderMatt

Please welcome Jayne Landry - Global Vice President & General Manager, Business Intelligence; Blair Wheadon - General Manager of Data Discovery; Merlijn Ekkel - Director BI Solutions; Ty Miller - Vice President, SAP BusinessObjects Cloud Product Management; Gregory Botticchio - Product Manager, Web Intelligence; David Stocker - Senior Product Manager; Henry Kam - Product Manager; and Alexander Peter - Product Manager.

I’d also like to introduce Allan Pym, Chief Operating Officer, APOS Systems Inc., who will help facilitate the Q&A today.

Jayne Landry

Thanks Matt, great to be here and looking forward to the Q&A today!

Allan Pym

APOS is very pleased to be sponsoring today’s event – our third year hosting this SAP BI Product Convergence Update session.

Allan Pym

Briefly about APOS – we are an SAP partner with a suite of solutions that help customers globally to simplify the management of their SAP BusinessObjects deployment.

Allan Pym

Our solutions provide automated administration, automated testing, auditing and monitoring, storage and recovery, and content publishing and distribution.

Allan Pym

We have a terrific panel of SAP BI product experts on the session today; we’re thrilled to have them joining us. Let’s turn our focus to them and get rolling with some questions. I’ll kick things off with a couple of questions for each of them. Let’s start off with Jayne Landry.

Allan Pym

Jayne, you initiated the SAP BI product convergence initiative about 3 years ago now. How has the BI product convergence process been going, and what are some of the key highlights of that process leading up to today?

Jayne Landry: 

We have made tremendous progress on the convergence front. When we started this journey 3 years ago, we had 14 different client tools running on the BI platform! We’ve now got that down to 5, with SAP Crystal Reports, SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Microsoft Office, SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio and SAP BusinessObjects Lumira.

Jayne Landry: 

And we’ve adhered to the convergence principles we laid out from the start – all existing content is safe and all existing BI 4.x clients continue to be supported so that customers can move to the “go to” tools at their own pace.

Allan Pym

What are some upcoming product convergence advancements that our audience needs to be aware of?

Jayne Landry: 

The next big advancement is the convergence of SAP BusinessObjects Lumira and SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio into a single code line with the release of Lumira 2.0, currently in beta and planned for GA late Q2/early Q3. This will enable end-to-end workflows from rapid prototyping by business users through to deployment of production dashboards at scale by developers.

Jayne Landry: 

And there are SO many new features – SAP BusinessObjects Lumira discovery gains an improved user experience, new filter and input controls and online access to BW. SAP BusinessObjects Lumira designer dashboards can run offline, and developers are going to love the new composites capability!

Allan Pym

Looking further out, what product convergence themes should our audience understand so that they can prepare appropriately?

Jayne Landry: 

The next area of focus for us is to continue to build the bridges between on-premise and cloud. We’ve started at the data level with the ability to consume Universe data and SAP BusinessObjects Lumira datasets, and we want to extend this as well as we start to look at content.

Jayne Landry: 

I can’t say too much more today, except to say keep an eye out for the analytics announcements at SAPPHIRE NOW as we’ll be unveiling a new solution that will help organizations to manage all their analytics content, whether it sits on-premise or in the cloud.

Allan Pym

Thanks Jayne! That should spark more questions to come in from our audience. Let’s turn now to Merlijn Ekkel.

Allan Pym

Merlijn, what are some recent BI platform features that are focused on supporting the BI tools convergence objective?

Merlijn: 

We included several features that have been in DeskI into Web Intelligence to further drive adoption and closing the gap between the two. Besides this, the conversion and upgrade from previous version into SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 are heavily improved and continuously gaining improvements.

Allan Pym

Merlijn, with SAP BusinessObjects 4.2 Service Pack 4 to be released very soon, what do you expect to be some of the top new functionality items for the BI platform in that release?

Merlijn: 

Within SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 SP04, we release the initial version of our fully revamped BI Launchpad and Web Intelligence Viewer, where end users will gain the ability to leverage the new and fresh UI for BI with great experience. Besides these, many smaller enhancements have been added; I would recommend to check out our What’s New Deck,  SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4.2 SP04 What's New, that was released recently.

Allan Pym

Thanks Merlijn. Let’s turn now to Blair Wheadon.
Blair, Jayne mentioned earlier about the important convergence of SAP BusinessObjects Lumira and SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio with Lumira 2.0. Can you go into more detail about what is happening there and how customers will benefit.

Blair Wheadon: 

There's 3 main categories of improvements: Improved data access removes the need to create ungoverned data extracts of corporate data. Improved user experience makes it easier for business users to adopt. And because SAP BusinessObjects Lumira and SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio now share the same code base, when it’s time to promote business user created visualizations into governed analytic applications, that process is seamless.

Comment From Guest

Why join SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio and SAP BusinessObjects Lumira together? And, how well is SAP BusinessObjects Lumira competing with Tableau so far? Are there any current plans to further consolidate legacy SAP BusinessObjects tools like SAP Crystal Reports and SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence into newer SAP tools such as Lumira?

David Stocker: 

We are joining SAP BusinessObjects Lumira and SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio together, because the use cases of an agile viz tool and a custom app actually overlap in the wild. This facilitates smooth transition from one tool to another, based on the current needs.

Allan Pym

Gregory, what functionality additions has the SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence user community appreciated the most during the last year?

Gregory Botticchio: 

Since the release of the 4.2 SP02 (GA) and SP03, we delivered up to 50 innovations and cumulative enhancements in SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence. It is difficult to say which one was the most appreciated, as it really depends on the customer you are talking to and its business needs. But, I would say that the top 6 innovations the WebI community mention the most are: Parallel refresh of WebI data providers, for all datasources; Commentary : add a comment in a report and in a table cell; Shared Element : share and reuse blocks (table, carts) between users; New SAP HANA access mode (direct access and OnLine); dHTML catchup vs the Java applet; Dynamic, or Cascading, Input Controls.

Allan Pym

Gregory, looking ahead, what would you suggest are the top few functionality additions coming in the next release of SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence?

Gregory Botticchio: 

For the near term, we are continuing to innovate and delight our customers with the enhancements they are asking for. For example, in the next SP04 (May 2017) we will continue to improve the WebI dHTML client, add new chart types and cumulative enhancements. But, in this release, we will mainly deliver a new, modern and elegant, SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence experience. It will be an interface build in HTML5, using some SAP Fiori UI5 elements. And it will be mostly an interactive viewer that you will have the choice to use in parallel of the existing one. In the mid/long-term: We are planning a new simplified and modernized WebI Designer, to complete the story. Also we are thinking of changing the way to create reports by proposing Suggestions and Recommendations. Interactive Analysis for the end-users will also be key in this future release.

Allan Pym

Thanks Gregory. A couple questions now for Alexander Peter, who is joining us from the SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Microsoft Office team. Alexander, what functionality additions has the Analysis for Office user community appreciated the most during the last year?

Alex Peter: 

Analysis Office 2.4 offers some real nice innovation features. We got very good feedback, particularly on axis sharing and grouping. Axis sharing allows you to combine two different crosstabs having at least one dimension in common into a single crosstab – you can do some simplified modeling/joining directly in the client. Grouping allows you to create a custom hierarchy and assign e.g. your A, B and C customers to separate groups.

Comment From Vamsi

Hi, What is the SAP road map for Dashboarding Solutions with flexibility offered by Qlikview and Tableau?

Blair Wheadon: 

Hi Vamsi... Lumira 2.0 has major improvements in usability, data access, and is converged with SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio to enable the creation of sophisticated analytic applications. These enhancements will combined make for unique differentiators when compared to Qlik and Tableau. Data access: Key new features include online access to BW from Lumira Discovery 2.0 (the successor to Lumira Desktop) and improved access to Universe data in Lumira Designer 2.0 (the successor to Design Studio desktop 1.x) which removes the row limit for Universe access. This will ensure direct access to governed data and remove the need to create data extracts and ungoverned data silos. In addition to data access, the usability of Lumira Discovery is much improved with a single canvas UX, improved filtering and input controls, new chart features like smoothed lines and improved formatting control. Finally the ability to open a Lumira Discovery visualization with Lumira Designer and turn it into a full blown analytic application is very powerful. This means that any dashboard from the simplest visualization up to full-blown planning applications can be handled by the same tool. As requirements change, you don't need to switch tools.

Comment From Chris

Will SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio morph to Lumira Designer?

Jayne Landry: 

Yes, with the Lumira 2.0 release Design Studio becomes Lumira Designer! With all the great DS features you know and love plus hundreds of new features like the ability to take Designer dashboards offline, a new composites feature that allows you to create reusable components.

Allan Pym

Looking ahead, what would you suggest are the top few functionality additions coming in the next release of Analysis for Office?

Alex Peter: 

Analysis Office 2.5 will bring integration into SAP BusinessObjects Cloud. This will offer a true hybrid scenario where you can upload data into the cloud and bring it back into Excel for further analysis using sophisticated Excel capabilities such as VLOOKUP etc. In addition to this, release 2.5 extends features like table design, axis sharing, grouping and will facilitate customized user interfaces (context menu, ribbon tab, backstage).

Allan Pym

Let’s turn to Henry Kam from the SAP BusinessObjects Cloud team. Henry, the influence of SAP BusinessObjects Cloud has certainly grown in the last year. What are some of the key factors that have been drawing organizations to SAP BusinessObjects Cloud?

Henry Kam: 

Organizations recognize that SAP BusinessObjects Cloud offers a unique value proposition in the market today by combining analytics, planning, and predictive capabilities. These 3 capabilities are not just available under a shared application user interface, but the key is that these functionalities are actually integrated seamlessly together in user workflows. Also resonating with customers is the SAP Digital Boardroom, which is a capability of SAP BusinessObjects Cloud. It provides users with a 360-degree view of their company’s performance in real time, using BOC which is a Cloud SaaS product, with the ability to securely access on-premise data, and displaying analytics on multiple large TV screens that are touch enabled.

Allan Pym

Henry, most of today’s session attendees are involved with an existing SAP BusinessObjects on-premise deployment. How should these on-premise SAP BusinessObjects customers be thinking SAP BusinessObjects Cloud in their BI strategy planning?

Henry Kam: 

We believe in taking a hybrid BI approach. Hybrid BI provides a seamless experience across both on-premise and cloud. When you access content or blend data from on-premise or cloud systems, you are doing hybrid BI. A seamless experience means that business users do not have to think about where data or content is residing; on-premise and cloud clients and assets work together. Sharing resources between on-premise and cloud deployments such as tools, data connectivity, visualizations, security, distribution, budget, organization, program management, training, licensing, and internal evangelization, does not require understanding whether the resources are on-premise or cloud. The journey many times starts with on-premise deployments, which must be extended and expanded into complementary cloud strategies with minimal disruption. One way we are realizing this vision is our planned innovation of providing a new experience which will consolidate access to analytics content from multiple hybrid (on-premise or cloud) systems into a unified experience. Keep an eye out for the analytics announcements at SAPPHIRE as we’ll be unveiling this new solution.

Comment From Guest

Every time when we have an upgrade, lots of change on WebI and we have to remediate lots of WebI reports (just from 4.1 to 4.2 upgrade for an example). It makes it hard to keep updating the patch and SP as we have to re-do testing for over 1000 WebI reports. So for this SP4 upgrade or future upgrade, can we minimize the effort (or at least what to test (subset of reports))? Otherwise, we cannot keep upgrading every year and also some bug fixes cannot be applied due to that effort, as well. 

Merlijn: 

Hi Guest,

We are aware of these challenges and working with our internal teams and partners to better support you. Today we have no out-of-the-box solutions that can help you with the content validation, however our partner APOS has some solutions (such as APOS Validation Manager) that can help you reduce the costs and impact of adopting a new version of the BI platform.

Comment From Victor

How we can move our on-premise SAP BusinessObjects BI users to use SAP BusinessObjects BI Cloud solutions? How to access data from cloud to company's database?

Merlijn: 

Hi Victor, 
If you are looking to move your on-premise BI platform deployment into a cloud solution, we can offer you the services to move your environment into SAP HEC. 

For moving your existing BI platform content into SAP BusinessObjects Cloud, we can currently provide the connection from SAP BusinessObjects Cloud into the BI platform universes and leverage the existing investment while moving over to the cloud.

Comment From Victor

When will you combine the Tools Live Office, A4O and EPM plugin together into 1 product?

Merlijn: 

Hi Victor,
Today the AO and EPM Plugin are already combined into a single solution. We are planning to add the support for Universes in AO later this year enabling some of the Live Office functions. Be noted that there are currently no plans to cover the full LiveOffice capabilities in Analysis for Office.

Comment From Manjula

Can we automate SAP Business Objects suite to achieve software craftsmanship in terms of automated testing of reports and unx, automated deployment to different env?

Merlijn: 

Hi Manjula,
We have some SCN Articles on running automated tests using JMeter for the BI platform. For the time there are not yet solutions provided by SAP, however our partner APOS have several solutions (such as APOS Validation Manager) that can help in this area.  http://www.apos.com/content/apos-validation-manager-sap-bi-content-validation

Comment From Srinivas Perumandla

SAP has been updating that SAP BusinessObjects 4.2 SP4 will be available for customers during May 2017. Can you please let us know the status?

Merlijn: 

The current release plan is still May 2017.

Comment From John Reid

Could you please provide some information on the road map for SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards AKA Xcelsius Is this product fully supported for BIP 42 SP4? Are there any future development plans for this product or are we to migrate to Lumira 2.0?

Merlijn: 

Hi John
Yes we continue to support Dashboards (Xcelsius) within the BI4.2 codeline, however we will not invest in ongoing development for Dashboards anymore. Our recommendation is to create all new requirements using Lumira 2.0 and slowly phase out the Dashboards based on Flash.

Comment From Brock

Alex, Are variants now available with Analysis Office BIP 2.4 and SAP BusinessObjects 4.2 SP4?

Alex Peter: 

Yes, as of AO 2.4 with BI 4.2 SP4, variants are supported.

 

Comment From Guest

Will there be more emphasis on adding new features in the BI reporting/analysis toolset to support non-SAP databases? We see lots of new features and capabilities to better report off of SAP HANA and BW data, but not much related to Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, etc.

Merlijn: 

Hi,
We ongoingly add support for non-SAP datasources, many features are however technology independent. Only a few are dedicated to SAP HANA or BW.

Comment From Steve

What is the release date of SP4? Can't find precise information anywhere ... Important information to know when we are in a middle of a migration project.

Gregory Botticchio: 

Hello, The "planned" date for the SP04 GA is May 5th, 2017.
More details on the content here: 
SAP BI 4.2 SP4: Preview of What’s New in Web Intelligence and Semantic Layer 
and 
 SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4.2 SP04 What's New

Comment From Guest

Can you comment on the timing on replacement of BEx Analyzer by Analysis Office? When will support end?

Alex Peter: 

BEx is supported as long as BW is supported. Feature-wise, Analysis Office can cover the majority of the BEx scenarios plus many more.

Comment From Guest

Believe it or not, we still have BEx queries on the 3.5 platform, running in a BW 7.3 system. What path forward should we take?

David Stocker: 

If you migrate to SAP BW/4HANA, then you can move over to Lumira and Analysis Office for your BI client’s needs.

Comment From Ashutosh

What is the best approach by which anybody can master the BI?

Blair Wheadon: 

Start with sap.com/learnbi
We also have more in-depth courses at Open SAP: https://open.sap.com

Comment From Steve

Looking forward to Lumira 2.0. Will Design Studio still have the data limits it does today after converging with Lumira in 2.0?

David Stocker: 

Hi Steve, can you clarify the question. What data limits do you mean?

Comment From Victor

When will the Live Office be combined with A4O and EPM Plugin?

Alex Peter: 

There's no plan to converge the Live Office tool into Analysis Office. However, we plan to cover the UNX consumption scenario with Analysis Office.

Comment From Brandon

What happens to Live Office? The integration between SAP BusinessObjects and other applications such as Microsoft PowerPoint can be very powerful. Are there plans to continue this integration, or is there a shift to start using tools like Lumira in place of a PowerPoint?

Jayne Landry: 

Hi Brandon, 
We agree that the ability to bring SAP BusinessObjects content into MS office is really powerful and we will continue to support integration through Live Office. We are also looking at how Live Office and Analysis Office capabilities could come together moving forward.

Comment From JS

There are various components of SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence that are not supported in mobile. Will this functionality of Web Intelligence eventually be supported in mobile like SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio is?

Gregory Botticchio: 

Yes, it is effectively the plan for the BI Mobile app, to be able to support all the chart types of WebI inside the app. In the meantime, starting 4.2 SP04, we will propose you a new HTML5 WebI viewer that can work everywhere ...

Comment From Bill S.

What are the sun setting support timelines and convergence plans for OLAP Analysis and Analysis for Office?

Alex Peter: 

No plan to sunset Analysis Office. There are significant investments (also in the direction of hybrid scenarios with BOC). Analysis for OLAP (the web tool) is in maintenance mode, though.

Comment From Victor

What are the major features for SP4 of SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2?

Gregory Botticchio: 

Hello, have a look at the below links : 
SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4.2 SP04 What's New
and 
SAP BI 4.2 SP4: Preview of What’s New in Web Intelligence and Semantic Layer

 

Comment From Marcin

In my company we use A-Office, Lumira, and Design Studio. We don't use WebI. I wonder what we miss, if there is a certain feature or set of features that constitute a unique selling point of WebI. For me it was a tool that can do all (dashboards, reports, slice and dice) but since we have already specialized toolset to cover these, where is a place for WebI? Is it kept alive because of existing user base only?

Merlijn: 

Hi Marcin,
It is hard to say if you miss something or not. Within Web Intelligence there are several features and functions that are non-existing or even not planned for AO, Design Studio, or Lumira. Some of these features are Publications, Formatted Layouts with dynamic adjustments to content, etc. 

It is really up to your requirements. However, WebI is a great tool that can help in delivering a lot of various content requirements also covered by the tools you already use.

Comment From Srinivas Perumandla

Hi Team, SAP has been updating that 4.2 SP4 will be available during May 2017 . Is this confirmed?

Gregory Botticchio: 

Hello, yes! Still planned for beginning of May 2017.

Comment From Brock

Alex, are there other Scheduling Enhancements with Analysis Office 2.4 on 4.2 SP4? I heard that the use of Analysis Office documents in Publications could be available in SAP BusinessObjects 4.2 SP5, is this correct?

Alex Peter: 

The main enhancement is the Support of variants – also for scheduling. Publication is currently planned for BI 4.2 SP5 – you are correct!

Comment From Praveen

While scheduling WebI report using SAP HANA view as back end, the date prompts is not dynamically changing for every week. I have tried various work-around on it. Are there any work-arounds or updates on this?

Merlijn: 

Hi Praveen

If you use an SAP HANA online or SAP HANA Direct Access connection, you should have the variable in the SAP HANA view being defined that it retrieves the correct week. 

If you use a Universe, you can insert the logic using SQL Formula's to automatically define the week you want (i.e., CurrentWeek() ).

Comment From griselda

Will there be a migration path from an on-premise deployment to cloud?

Blair Wheadon: 

Hi Griselda, We are focusing on building data integration bridges between on-premise and cloud. For example, SAP BusinessObjects Cloud can access Universe data on-premise, and data in SAP HANA or BW systems, as well. There's also a way to access on-premise data online in BW and SAP HANA so data doesn't have to be replicated to SAP BusinessObjects Cloud. Finally BPC models on-premise can be imported into SAP BusinessObjects Cloud. We are working to deepen these data level integrations. In fact APOS offers solutions that will allow data in third-party OLAP-like Analysis Services, and Universe data to be accessed online (without replication). We have no plans for content-level migration at the moment, but as Jayne said we are working on a solution that will help organizations manage and find all their analytics content, wherever it is hosted.

Comment From Steve

Design Studio has a row and cell limitation. We were hoping this limitation was removed with the convergence of DS and Lumira.

David Stocker: 

In BEx and SAP HANA datasources, you can define what the limits are in the backend. For universes, we still have the same hard limit as in 1.6. We've not changed anything in that corner for 2.0. We do plan to revisit this in the future, now that we have the new velocity infrastructure.

Comment From Kevin Tew

When will SAP sunset or reach end-of-lifecycle for Universe Design Tool?

Gregory Botticchio: 

Hello. The Semantic Layer is strategic for SAP and constitutes a unique value proposition on the market. We DO NOT plan to announce any EOL for the UDT!

Comment From John H.

With the de-emphasis of Bex Analyzer and BW Web, will SAP include any BI tool with new licenses for SAP BW? If so, which one(s)?

Blair Wheadon: 

Hi John, We have no plans to bundle SAP BusinessObjects BI tools with SAP BW.

Comment From Guest

When will the nice search capabilities found in SAP BusinessObjects Explorer be integrated in Lumira 2.x? The Explorer search was very powerful and useful to be able to search metadata and dimension values and find the right universe and combination of measures and dimensions for further exploration. This functionality should not be lost in the convergence! When will LiveOffice be merged with Analysis for Office? It's been in the road map for a long time now... 

Jayne Landry: 

Getting Explorer-like search into Lumira 2.x is high on our list! We couldn't make it for Lumira 2.0 but it's a top priority on our backlog!

On the Live Office and Analysis Office convergence front, the next step is making Universe access available in AO. For report part integration you'll continue to use Live Office.

Comment From Marcin

With Lumira 2.0, should we expect that all existing Lumira and Design Studio documents continue to work, as well as data connectors?

David Stocker: 

Most can be migrated. Design Studio apps that can't be migrated (because UI5m does not yet support the required components) can also be run in 1.6 compatibility mode.

Comment From PC

Is Analysis Office OLAP still supported? Will all of the functionality be included in Lumira 2.x?

Alex Peter: 

I assume you are referring to Analysis for OLAP (web tool), not Analysis for MS Office, right? If so, the key Features are available in Lumira for BW and SAP HANA - but not the full connectivity (EPM, SSAS, ..). Analysis OLAP is in maintenance.

Comment From Sarah

I am also curious about "joining" Lumira and Design Studio as they are still separate tools joined on the backend. Are there any plans to make them one on the front end in the future? Seems more work to start in one tool then have to move to another tool to finish things out. Also heard once in Designer a file can't be worked on in Discovery (Lumira). That's the benefit of some other tools – a one-place stop for all work.

David Stocker: 

The UI experiences are very different. One is end-user oriented. The other is designer oriented. The idea is to keep content level compatibility and tune the UX to the mission.

Comment From E.Abrar

Hi Team, In SAP BusinessObjects Lumira, for free hand sql, only simple single select statement is supported, unlike in SAP Crystal Reports or other tools where we are able to have declarations, temp tables, stored procedures, etc., in the free hand sql. When would those complex sql be supported?

Blair Wheadon: 

This is in our backlog but not committed to a release. Mid-next year at the earliest.

Comment From Brock

Will SSO in Lumira 2.0 Discovery be fully supported? In Lumira 1.3 there is no SSO option when connecting to a BW BICS Connection.

David Stocker: 

Yes.

Comment From Brandon

Are there plans for Analysis to host its own variables, rather than query designer variables? This would allow the flexibility for the end user to build custom views for "current month" when the query was built for a rolling 12 months and they would not need to manual update selected filters.

Alex Peter: 

There are strong plans to support query-less reporting, i.e. defining many things directly in the client. Rolling forecast can be achieved by several means, e.g., with dynamic restricted measures (planned), with axis sharing, etc.

Comment From Praveen

Hi, We were able to make use of direct SAP HANA view as datasource to create WebI report; however, we were not able to the change the datasource after building a report if the datasource is SAP HANA, but we can change if we use BEx or Universe as datasource. Is any update available in this version?

Merlijn: 

Hi Praveen,
So if I understand it correctly you try to do a change datasource while using SAP HANA as datasource. In all ways I can consider, this should work. If you use an SAP HANA Online connection (BI4.2 ) you need to change from Online into Direct Access before you can run a change datasource request.

Gregory Botticchio: 

Hello; We did improve the CHANGE SOURCE feature in WebI 4.2 SP03, by enabling the additional path: 
SAP BW Direct Access <> SAP BW Authored Universe
SAP BW Direct Access <> SAP HANA Direct Access 
SAP HANA Authored Universe <> SAP HANA Direct Access

Comment From Paige

So will Design Studio still be used or it will be Lumira?

Blair Wheadon: 

Hi Paige – we continue to have 2 desktop clients. Lumira Discovery is the successor to Lumira Desktop 1.x and focused on a great business user experience. Lumira Designer is the successor to Design Studio 1.x and is focused on providing a powerful analytic application development experience for IT and power users. Both desktop clients use the same file format, same runtime engine, and same data access stack. You can choose the tool that best fits your requirements depending on the user persona of who will be using the tool.

Comment From Guest

Now with the convergence of Design Studio and Lumira, where do you see the line between using Web Intelligence vs. Lumira 2.0 It appears as Lumira will have a more advanced approach to analytic dashboards.

Jayne Landry: 

WebI is the Swiss Army knife of BI tools! And I have seen it used to build "dashboards", however you'll find a number of advantages when using Lumira Designer for those use cases, from greater control over the look and feel, to native support to BW (including BW online).

Comment From Alejandro Manno

Hello, when is it planned for the convergence of EPM add-in and AFO? Thanks.

Alex Peter: 

They are already in the same product/installer. There's no plan to converge the engines (i.e. something like "everything in one tab"). However, there are plans to add more flexible reporting Features in Analysis plug-in (formula handling, tuple filters, etc.)

Comment From E.Abrar

Hi Team, When would SSAS OLAP based universes or direct non-SAP OLAP connections be supported?

Merlijn: 

Hi E Abrar,
We already support various non-SAP OLAP datasources. Please check our Product Availability Matrix https://apps.support.sap.com/sap/support/pam?hash=pvnr%3D73555000100900000046%26pt%3Dg%257Cd (Login needed)

Comment From Jean-Philippe Golay

Hi Team, is there any API planned to modify Lumira documents and to publish them to CMS.

David Stocker: 

What kind of modifications of Lumira documents do you mean?

Comment From Saravanan

What is the road map for Lumira 2.0 Mac compatibility and mobile visibility on ios?

Blair Wheadon: 

Hi Saravanan, Our strategy is not to create a dedicated Mac desktop client, but to instead provide a data preparation experience on the browser. This is tentatively scheduled for mid-next year. The mobile BI tool today supports consumption of Lumira 1.x files, and even supports offline consumption. This will be enhanced mid-year to support Lumira 2.0 files.

Comment From Manjula

Do you suggest any of APOS tools for SAP BusinessObjects automation?

Allan Pym: 

There are a few different APOS solutions, so it will depend on your requirements which product would be appropriate. They all bring strong automation to managing SAP BusinessObjects deployments.  http://www.apos.com

Comment From John Reid

Sorry for repeating questions … Regarding UNX connectivity limits with Lumira Discovery and Lumira Designer — What will be the limits be with SAP BusinessObjects Lumira 2.0 BIP plugin for BIP 4.2 SP4?

David Stocker: 

If it is acquired, then no limits.

Comment From Srinivas Perumandla

What will be best resources to start with SAP BusinessObjects Cloud?

Ty Miller: 

I recommend that you visit our https://www.sapbusinessobje... site and check out the resources there. Also, help documentation is located here: https://help.sap.com/viewer...

 

 

Comment From Jean-Philippe Golay

Is there a new API that will help us to scan Lumira dashboards and deploy them to SAP CMS? Thanks.

David Stocker: 

Currently no. What sort of API capabilities were you thinking of?

Comment From Victor

Our company is planning to move more to cloud rather than using on-premise, so my detail question is, how is SAP BusinessObjects BI Cloud able to access data on our company (within firewall)? Example, I have Crystal Report access Oracle database in my company, if I want to move that Crystal Report to SAP BusinessObjects BI Cloud, is it possible?

Henry Kam: 

SAP BusinessObjects Cloud is able to access data within the firewall by utilizing the BOC Cloud Agent to import data into BOC. Here is a list of supported datasources: System Requirements and Technical Prerequisites

Here is info on the Cloud Agent:
Import Data Connection

We can also access data within the firewall using a live data connection for datasources such as SAP HANA and SAP BW.

It is not currently possible to move Crystal Reports to SAP BusinessObjects Cloud.

Comment From Nedhi Panse

Sorry for the above post which is not complete. We have a lot of dashboards which have WebI as the backend which in turn has BEx as the source. There are so many things which we are doing in WebI (like creation of variables, taking data from the universe built on the SQL server itself, etc.) What would be an ideal way to convert these dashboards to Design Studio applications?

Merlijn: 

Hi Nedhi,

These dashboards do sounds like pretty complex to build and to maintain. Using WebI as the engine in between to define additional logic is unfortunately an often-used process; however, not really recommended as it adds unneeded load on your systems.

Two options here from my point of view.
1. Leverage Web Intelligence to define the dashboards. WebI has received many interesting updates over the past periods and can do a lot of great things. We recently introduced the ability to enhance the WebI charting engine with custom vix as well to further drive your requirements.

2. Push the logic more in the BW BEx query (if possible) and replace the dashboards with Design Studio (or Lumira 2.0). With Design Studio or Lumira 2.0 you can create your local variables as well to further enhance the logic from BEx.

Comment From E.Abrar

For Lumira, When would SSAS OLAP-based universes or direct non-SAP OLAP connections be supported like other competitive BI tools?

Blair Wheadon: 

This is in the backlog but not committed to a release at this time. Mid-next year at the earliest.

Comment From Alejandro Manno

Hello, what is SAP’s position in regards to SAP BusinessObjects Roambi and SAP BI mobile? Are they merging any time in the future? What should a costumer consider if it comes to the decision point of using one or another?

Jayne Landry: 

Hi Alejandro,
Mobi allows you to mobilize existing SAP BusinessObjects BI content whereas SAP BusinessObjects Roambi allows you to deliver a mobile-first experience for any data (starting from a spreadsheet, WebI report, or even a third-party report). SAP BusinessObjects Roambi has a set of templates that covers specific use cases, like sales reporting and plays well in industries like retail and CPG.

Comment From Victor

I like the CMS Driver database added in SP3 of SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2, but just lately found out they don't support si_processinfo sub-properties. Do you know when SP will support it in the future?

Merlijn: 

Hi Victor,
I would suggest to leave a comment on the SCN page Unlock the CMS database with new data access driver for BI 4.2 SP3 for this.

Comment From Paul

Are there any updates for Crystal Reports in this version? Any closer to having only one version (Enterprise)?

Blair Wheadon: 

We are working on this for the 4.3 release next year.

Comment From Jean-Philippe Golay

Will the Lumira add-in be part of CMS installer or separated?

Blair Wheadon: 

No – Lumira 2.0 will continue to be a separate install; however, instead of installing separate server side add-ons for both Lumira 1.x and Design Studio 1.x, there's a single, combined server side add-on in 2.0.

Comment From Srinivas Perumandla

Apart from third-party solutions like APOS's WebI conversions from .unv to .unx , is SAP thinking of providing any such kind of solutions in the future?

Gregory Botticchio: 

Hello. We did provide the right SDK methods ( the REST API) to achieve this. But it remains a custom solution that customers have to build.

Comment From Manjula

How will APOS administrator help for Automatic deployment? How is it different from BO Admin console?

Allan Pym: 

APOS Administrator is an administration console that gives the ability to manage and administer system security, objects, schedules, and instances – with a key focus on accomplishing all this in high volume, granular control, and rapid response.  http://www.apos.com/content/apos-administrator

Comment From Chris

Is there any plan to add Calculation in Conditions (old DeskI function) to WebI?

Gregory Botticchio: 

Hello. Yes, this is planned!

Comment From John Reid

Just following up on one of the responses (Hi Saravanan, Our strategy is not to create a dedicated Mac desktop client, but to instead provide a data preparation experience on the browser. This is tentatively scheduled for mid-next year. The mobile BI tool today supports consumption of Lumira 1.x files, and even supports offline consumption. This will be enhanced mid-year to support Lumira 2.0 files). Will Lumira 2.0 Lumira Discovery and Lumira Designer documents be supported in BIP 4.2 SP4 Mobile BI?

Blair Wheadon: 

Mobile BI app version 6.6 will support Lumira 2.0 LUMX files.

Comment From Marcin

Should we treat Design Studio also as BEx Web replacement? We're using Analysis for OLAP currently (previously BEx web), but with it being in maintenance mode we need to migrate again. I wonder what is the best and future-proof tool for it. There are still missing features in Design Studio template for slice and dice reporting. Even prompt screen is far cry from BEx web functionality.

David Stocker: 

If you are moving from BEx, Lumira Designer (the artist formerly known as Design Studio) is the place to go. The prompts are greatly improved in 2.0 and the new 2.0 generic analysis template is much, much more refined.

Comment From Boris

Will you add dynamic column hiding/unhiding based on formulas?

Gregory Botticchio: 

Hello. For WebI, yes this is considered!

Comment From Guest

When will Lumira support SSAS?

Merlijn: 

Today we have no direct road map plans to support SSAS (or other OLAP datasources). Today the best option would be the APOS Data Gateway that solves the gap.  http://www.apos.com/content/apos-data-gateway

Comment From Rafa

Will it be possible to use parameters in free hand sql queries?

Merlijn: 

Hi Rafa,

With adding the @Prompt logic to a FHSQL statement you will be able to add the parameters as well.

Comment From Victor

For BI cloud, When you said access Universe data on premise, is it UNX or UNV or both? Also, how is the performance and speed? Is it much slower to run the WebI/CR reports?

Henry Kam: 

It is UNX, here are the supported versions for SAP BusinessObjects Cloud:
System Requirements and Technical Prerequisites  The data is acquired first into SAP BusinessObjects Cloud so the performance will be good.

Allan Pym: 

The APOS Data Gateway for BOC will allow for live data access to on premise UNV and UNX universes, as well as SAP BW (v 7.3 and higher), MSAS, Essbase (Q3) and relational datasources (mid Q2). APOS also has a connector that will enable acquiring data from UNV universes.  http://www.apos.com/content/sap-businessobjects-cloud-apos-data-gateway-enterprise-data

Comment From Guest

Will Lumira files .LUM be supported by Lumira 2.0, or is conversion required?

David Stocker: 

Conversion will be automatic in the 2.0 GA version.

Comment From Jean-Philippe Golay

Sorry not finished my last post: We need api endpoints to scan documents and see differences, change datasources, and deploy to cms servers.. Thanks.

David Stocker: 

That's currently not supported. We can look into it.

Comment From Victor

I saw Support Tools very useful, when will be the next version coming up? Currently I am using Support Tools 2.07.

Merlijn: 

Hi Victor,
This tool is managed by our support team, we have no direct insight in the release plans. I would suggest to send a Tweet to their Twitter account for this information.

Comment From Manjula

Do you have any other solution from any vendor outside for automation (testing, and deployment ) for BI suite apart from APOS and SAP?

Henry Kam: 

You can try to check out our Analytics Extension Directory for vendors: https://analytics-extensions.enter.sap/

Comment From Guest

Will there be any enhancements to the Open Document function? We need the feature of when an optional prompt isn't used to not be included in the Open Document URL syntax and not include the value "no_values" for each prompt not used.

Merlijn: 

We have improved the openDoc statement for BI4.2 SP04, not 100% sure if it covers your request. I would suggest to check the documentation as soon as this becomes available.

Comment From KStone

Are there any plans to have scheduling on the BI Launch Pad have the same look, feel, and options the same for all tools (Including Publications)?

Merlijn: 

Hi KStone,
We are working on a revamp of the BI Launchpad, including a revamp of the scheduling and publications process. The initial release of the new BI Launchpad will be in BI4.2 SP04.

Comment From Abraham Bujedo

You can create drill paths when using universes, but using BICS connections this functionality is not available. This has been requested for years. When is going to be implemented for BICS connections?

Gregory Botticchio: 

Hello. When using the BICS connector, the default drill path is the path defined by the BEx hierarchy. This is available today. In the future, we will propose you the ability to create a custom hierarchy, and so a custom drill path, directly in WebI for any datasource type.

Comment From Raja Reddy

Will Lumira 1.3 support for SSO to use link in intranet account?

Merlijn: 

We will continue the development of Lumira in Lumira 2.0. Lumira 1.xx will not receive any mayor updates in the future. SSO requirements are in the roadmap for Lumira 2.0 at the moment.

Comment From Marcin

What types of enhancements do you plan for Bi Launchpad?

Merlijn: 

A full overhaul is in progress. The initial version will be provided by BI4.2 SP04.

Comment From Srinivas Perumandla

Hi Gregory, Any resource to develop solution using RESTful Web services to convert WebI reports based on .unv to .unx as per your above comment?

Merlijn: 

A solution will be shipped with BI4.2 SP04 to help the mass change of WebI docs from UNV to UNX. This will be a sample solution. 

Gregory Botticchio: 

The solution mentioned by Merlijn should be posted on SCN and so will give you the basics to start with the SDK methods.

Comment From Marcin

@Merlijn, you have said that AOLAP got new features in 4.2 SP04. Is AOLAP analysis for OLAP i.e. tool that is in maintenance mode? Or is this different AOLAP?

Merlijn: 

AOLAP = Analysis for OLAP, so we are talking the same tool here. I cannot recall that we have stated anywhere that tools are in maintenance mode beyond DeskI and Dashboards.

Comment From Guest

Will there be any performance improvements in Lumira 2.x, specifically when opening a storyboard  the web? We found that due to the metadata that is included the file on the server is 5-10x the size of the original .lums desktop file which makes for poor performance.

Blair Wheadon: 

In some cases there will be performance improvements, especially against SAP HANA datasources. We are still working on the final round of performance testing and optimizations.

Comment From Nedhi Panse

We build all of our WebI apps based on Bex. Is there a better way to build WebI apps? Is BEx going away?

Gregory Botticchio: 

Hello. You can use another tool for BEx queries such as SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio Otherwise, you can use the feature Shared Elements, stating WebI 4.2 SP02 to imagine another way to build WebI documents.

Comment From How about the ability to interactive between Lumira and WebI. I think a evnetual combined tool would be the best of all worlds.

You mentioned about Lumira not supporting other OLAP datasources. What about Microsoft Analysis Services (Cube). Lumira is supposed to be the replacement for Analysis edition of OLAP.

Merlijn: 

In the longer term Lumira is target to replace the AOLAP engine. However, we are not yet at that point. AOLAP is still developed, in fact got some nice new stuff in BI4.2 SP04. Until we have support for OLAP datasources in Lumira, we will continue development in AOLAP.

Allan Pym

This has been another great session. A big thank you from APOS to all attendees for joining us today, and to our expert panel for all their great insights!

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