On February 7 2018, SAP announced a major change to SAP’s Analytics and SAP Lumira Strategy. When you observe initial reactions to this announcement, you can spot more than one interpretation for multiple reasons. In this blog, we offer Visual BI’s take by looking at:
- A summary of the BI convergence 2018 strategy
- The timing of this announcement – why now?
- What does it mean to SAP Lumira Discovery?
- What does it mean to SAP Lumira Designer?
- What does it mean to other legacy SAP BI applications (WAD, Analysis for OLAP, BOBJ Explorer, Roambi and Xcelsius)?
1. A Summary of SAP’s BI Convergence 2018 Strategy
- All of use cases supporting SAP Lumira Discovery, SAP Analysis for OLAP, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer and SAP Roambi are being consolidated in SAP Analytics Cloud
- All of the dashboard and application design use cases from Xcelsius, Web Application Designer and SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio are being consolidated in SAP Lumira Designer
- There are no changes to both classic reporting (WEBI, Crystal Reports) and SAP Analysis for Office (AO) use cases.
2. The timing of the announcement – Why now?
We at Visual BI saw this coming all along and for us it was a matter of when and not why. Let me explain why this strategy makes perfect sense for SAP and its desire to win the analytics war in the cloud while giving up the desktop battles for now.
Most of the new breed of SAP customers are aggressively embracing “Cloud First” and digital transformation strategies. A lot of these customers already use cloud-based SaaS applications such as Salesforce and Workday. SAP, in addition to driving innovations on the cloud through S4HANA, has also acquired numerous cloud-based applications such as ARIBA, SuccessFactors, Hybris, Concur, Fieldglass and more recently CallidusCloud.
When it comes to business intelligence & analytics, most of the new breed of business users demand strong data acquisition, preparation, wrangling, and visualization capabilities for all data sources whether they are on-premise, cloud, structured or unstructured. They also demand that these features be available in the browser with no need to install anything on their desktop.
Given the above, it makes absolute sense for SAP to go all-in with SAP Analytics Cloud – rather than spread itself too thin to win the war on both fronts – Desktop and Cloud. The concept of one analytical platform catering to all the BI use cases (Reporting, Analysis, Planning, Predictive, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning) with the hybrid connectivity concept is the right vision for SAP. Though SAP is not making any strategic changes to the classic reporting tools today, we believe that this use case itself may fade away by 2024.
SAP Analytics Cloud has rapidly matured over the last couple of years and one of our early adopter customers- KMG Chemicals, will be presenting their success story at Sapphire this year.
SAP is also offering a commercial program called the Cloud Extension Policy to transition maintenance on unused software licenses into cloud subscription licenses. Only time will tell how much of a difference it will make to fast track this transition.
With this announcement, we strongly encourage you to start exploring SAP Analytics Cloud if you already haven’t. Request a free consultation and proof of concept, and we can help you kickstart your journey.
3. What does it mean to SAP Lumira Discovery?
From its 2013 sapphire launch, Visual Intelligence aka SAP Lumira Discovery has been a work in progress. Although, SAP Lumira Discovery fared better compared to Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, QlikSense or the rest of the self-service BI tools while connecting to data in SAP BW or SAP HANA or SAP BusinessObjects Universes – it didn’t compete well when:
- connecting to cloud applications, big data and other Non-SAP data warehousing platforms or
- supporting niche use cases such as Predictive, NLP and AI.
Nevertheless, the 2016 announcement on SAP Lumira 2.0 strategy with SAP Design Studio convergence portraying features like interoperability and revamped UI/UX renewed interests with lot of customers and partners alike.
Given the above, the timing of this announcement has taken a lot of customers and partners by surprise especially around SAP Lumira Discovery, just after everyone had waited for the SAP Lumira 2.0 roadmap and the more recent SAP Lumira 2.1 had given hope to some of us that SAP Lumira Discovery might have turned the corner on customer adoption.
In this announcement, SAP has reassured customers that SAP Lumira Discovery’s maintenance time frame is the same as that of SAP BusinessObjects 4.2 Platform – until 2024 as highlighted below.
So, we at Visual BI think SAP Lumira 2.1 and the upcoming SAP Lumira 2.2 (expected GA around June/July 2018) offer a lot for on-premise BusinessObjects customers who are primarily connecting to SAP BW, SAP HANA or SAP Universes data sources – especially if they have already invested in the licenses and the BI platform servers.
We keep reiterating to customers that where their data is should be the key determining factor in your BI tool strategy and that would be applicable even while evaluating SAP Lumira Discovery Vs SAP Analytics Cloud. One might still be a better choice over the other in the short-to-mid time frame and watch out for our upcoming blog on this topic.
The proposed unified licensing model will enable customers to continue using SAP Lumira Discovery where it still makes sense, until they decide to switch to SAP Analytics Cloud.
4. What does it mean to SAP Lumira Designer?
The following highlighted statement is intended to reassure customers on continued innovation and investment with SAP Lumira Designer – but the teaser on the new application design functionality with SAP Analytics Cloud ended up misleading rather than reassuring.
You can see from this twitter exchange and the ASUG blog which rightfully got corrected within 24 hours on the Discovery Vs Designer Vs both argument.
I’ve to totally agree with Iver here that customers will be pleasantly surprised that the updated SAP Lumira Designer roadmap is a lot clearer with continuous investments till the end of official roadmap timeframe – till 2020.
We have highlighted few cue items on the roadmap below for those who can look forward & think ahead on where this is headed!!
Even if we look at the upcoming release of SAP Lumira Designer 2.2, there are several end-user friendly features that will drive further adoption.
All this reminds us of blogs questioning BW’s future during “SAP HANA” and SAP S/4HANA launches but with the recent SAP BW4HANA innovation we know that SAP BW, which has already crossed 20 years, will now probably outlast our careers. Just like SAP BW, we do firmly believe that SAP Lumira Designer aka SAP Design Studio will co-exist with SAP Analytics Cloud for the foreseeable future as long as on-premise BW, HANA and Business Objects BI Platforms exist.
5. What happens to other legacy SAP BI tools?
SAP Web Application Designer (WAD)
As of SAP Lumira 2.1, Customers that currently use Web Application Designer (WAD) applications should be actively looking to migrate to SAP Lumira Designer and you can read more on this in our recent blog.
SAP Analysis for OLAP
SAP is recommending that you use SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) to migrate your SAP Analysis for OLAP applications as it is a discovery and ad-hoc analysis use case.
SAP Lumira Designer ad-hoc analysis templates might also provide a migration path for Analysis for OLAP applications for on-premise customers.
SAP acquired ROAMBI to provide mobile first user experience and several thought it might end up being the mobile client for SAP Analytics Cloud. But once SAP Analytics cloud added its own mobile client and added responsive pages & offline capabilities to its own roadmap, it was pretty obvious that SAP would consolidate Roambi functionalities into SAC.
SAP BusinessObjects Explorer
With the demise of Adobe Flash, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer customers should actively pursue strategies to migrate the content to SAP Analytics Cloud before Dec 2020.
Visual BI Explorer using SAP Lumira Designer and VBX Suite is also an option for this migration if moving your data to cloud is not an option with your enterprise strategy.
Back in 2012, SAP provided Strategy and Direction to Xcelsius customers on the future of dashboards and applications and migration to the new Zen / SAP Business Objects Design Studio and now called SAP Lumira Designer. Since then, customers have been steadily migrating them over to SAP Design Studio (now SAP Lumira Designer) and we have covered this migration, in detail, during this webinar.