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Live from the SAPinsider Studio: David Dadoun on SAP Lumira and BI Strategy

An interview recorded live at BI 2014 in Orlando

May 13, 2014

BI Evangelist David Dadoun sits with SAPinsider's Ken Murphy at the SAPinsider Studio during BI 2014 to discuss SAP Lumira, BI strategy in general, and change management considerations for business intelligence tools.

View the video, and read the edited transcript of this conversation with David Dadoun here:

Ken Murphy, SAPinsider: Hi, this is Ken Murphy, with SAPinsider. I’m reporting live from SAPinsider’s BI 2014 and HANA 2014 event, and this afternoon I’m pleased to be joined by David Dadoun, who’s a speaker here at the event, David, welcome.

David: Thank you, thank you very much, pleasure to be here.

Ken: So we’ve been hearing a lot of discussion here at this event about mobility, real-time analytics. I’m just curious from your perspective, are organizations doing enough from a solutions perspective to meet this need?

David: Well, the real question is how many organizations need true real-time analytics? And in some cases, you know, near real-time, like yesterday’s data may be sufficient, in some cases, when you’re looking at the utilities industry, for example, you want to have true real-time analytics. And from a solutions perspective, I think SAP has actually gone in the right direction. Bringing in technologies like HANA enables companies to be able to replicate their information in a real-time fashion from their ERP systems like ECC 6, bringing it in directly into a platform where they’re going to be able to build their analytics using tools like Webi, tools like Explorer, Lumira, things that were not necessarily possible in the past. SAP has been bridging that gap that’s been a serious problem, a serious lack in terms of BI analytics over the last few years. There’s still a ways to go, there’s still work to be done for real-time analytics in that respect, but we are definitely on that right track to be able to attain that goal.

Ken: Also then for an organization looking at this from a broader picture, does it change the way they really have to develop an overall BI strategy?

David: I think it goes even further than just changing the way they develop an overall BI strategy. Most companies today claim to have a BI roadmap, or a BI strategy, in reality a lot of companies don’t, and this is something that will paralyze the companies and knowing exactly where they need to go in order to attain those goals and show the value BI can bring to the company. Companies today plan their BI strategy based more on a technical perspective than a business objectives and the gains they can get out of BI. Developing that strategy is going to help them a) build a business case to solidify and confirm the need for those BI advancements and those new technologies, and I think that if companies really decide to go towards the real-time analytics and the mobility portion, yes, a) they’re going to need a solid BI strategy but b) they’re going to need to revisit the ones that they have started to put in place.

Ken: So maybe just getting to a little bit more solution specific, we’ve been hearing a lot at this event about SAP Lumira, and I’m just curious about an organization that may have a fuller suite of BusinessObjects tools at their disposal, say including Explorer, how do you determine what value-add Lumira brings?

David: So if we’re looking at Lumira versus other self-service tools like Explorer, like Webi, it’s in a completely different ballgame. It tries to go and—and it succeeds—it tries to go and get the users that need solid visualization capabilities, and self-service analytics. Now Explorer provides users with an easy way to access and sift through data at record-breaking speeds, but it also limits users in terms of the calculations they can do. You can only do plus, or minus, or divided by, you can’t really build solid calculations to analyze the information that’s built into your data sources. With Lumira, you can do that, you can integrate multiple data sources, you can build rules on how the data is going to be brought back and analyzed within the tool. This is actually key to self-service BI, but it’s not to be given to every single user without actually training them properly a) on the tool and b) on the data. They need to understand their data first and foremost, before they go anywhere, and what’s really important to understand about self-service, whether it’s again Lumira, or Webi, or Explorer, is that it’s only going to be a good as your data is going to be. If your foundation with your data is not cleansed, is not organized, is not standardized across the organization, doesn’t matter what tool you’re using, you’re going to keep on having problems. But Lumira is definitely one of the great tools that I’ve seen at this event that’s really up and coming and that’s going to take a big part of the market in terms of visualization of information.

Ken: Lastly, I’m curious, because you mentioned users and training, what does an organization need to do to prepare their users for these new tools and just as far as what changes are coming down the pike for the organizations as far as processes?

David: One of the big things that I tell organizations today is that change management isn’t a nice to have, you can’t just say that you’re going to have a change management stream in your project. You know there’s a reason why Gartner says that 70 to 80% of BI projects fail. It’s not for fun, it hurts us, it hurts our industry, and it hurts the companies, it hurts their bottom line. It hurts the credibility of business intelligence as a whole. If you don’t try and understand the users that are in front of you, if you don’t understand what they like, what they dislike, what they fear, because “new” and “change” equals fear in the mind of most people, you’re not going to be able to succeed in bringing those tools to fruition and gain the benefits you’re wanting to have out of that. So change management to me is the key factor in any BI project, especially when you’re bringing in those new tools. Hold that user’s hand, help them walk through it, train them, support them.

Ken: Ok, great. So when are you presenting?

David: I will be presenting tomorrow at 10:15, so if anybody’s curious and wants to learn a little bit more about change management in Explorer, best practices, and key success factors to successful BI deployments, join me.

Ken: All right, well good luck.

David: Thank you, it was a pleasure.

Ken: Thanks for joining us. Again, this is Ken Murphy with SAPinsider, live at SAPinsider’s BI and HANA 2014 event.                       

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