While most customers are gearing up for the upgrade to SAP Lumira 2.0, which became GA in August 2017, SAP has made quick strides and come out with SAP Lumira 2.1 (on December 15th, 2017). SAP Lumira Designer 2.1 brings several key changes to the tool – some welcome additions, and some necessary enhancements & modifications.

A big focus for this release is migration enablement – the latest release of SAP Lumira 2.1 looks at providing more options for customers to migrate from Legacy SAP BI tools. Customers currently on BEx Web, Web Application Designer, Analysis for OLAP and Xcelsius can now look at migrating to SAP Lumira Designer.

We’ll now be looking at the 11 key features we have identified in SAP Lumira Designer 2.1, compared to prior versions of the tool, ie. SAP Design Studio 1.6 and SAP Lumira Designer 2.0.
 
1. Workflow Change: Creating New Documents
 
This is a welcome change from developers’ perspectives. Creating a new document can now be done using the top-level application menu (as opposed to being able to create documents only within the Documents View).
 
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Creating an application within the document is also simplified – applications are now created automatically when creating a new document. Developers can choose a template for the application when creating the document itself.
 
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Applications created automatically are named ‘APPLICATION’. More applications can still be created under the same document as always. Developers will also notice that all MIME files can also be viewed within the Documents View now.
 
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2. Workflow Change: Saving applications under different LUMX documents
 
Developers can now save an application within one SAP Lumira Document (LUMX) into another SAP Lumira Document. A right-click and ‘Save As…’ on an application name in the Documents View will allow developers to do so.
 
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Specifying the Target Document allows users to save the application under it. In addition, users can also copy an application from one SAP Lumira document into another using the context menu.
 
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3. New Feature: Scheduling in SAP Lumira Designer 2.1
 
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A long-awaited feature for Design Studio, scheduling is now available in SAP Lumira 2.1. Users have the option of scheduling an SAP Lumira Document from the BOBJ launchpad. Standard scheduling options applicable to Web Intelligence (WebI) is available for SAP Lumira Documents as well. Users will be able to schedule documents to be delivered in their BI Inbox or even their E-Mail using the scheduling feature.

Additionally, SAP Lumira Designer also offers an event which can be executed when the application is scheduled.
 
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The event can be found under ‘Scheduling’ within an application’s properties.

The introduction of scheduling allows customers looking for options similar to BEx broadcasts to consider SAP Lumira 2.1 as a viable tool. Even more customers can leverage automated scheduling options to roll out offline dashboards using data imported using SAP Lumira Discovery.
 
4. New Feature: Create your own components at run-time
 
Developers can now allow users to create their own components at runtime. This involves a fair bit of scripting on the development side, but can be achieved using the ‘Components’ Technical component.
 
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The Technical Component can be leveraged to create:

  • New Components
  • New Data Sources
  • New Property Bindings

The ‘Components’ Technical Component can also be used to copy all the property settings from one component to another at run-time.

A typical use case for a such a feature would be a self-service enabled dashboard, where users can add new components such as crosstabs, charts or even selectors along with dynamic data sources based on their requirement.
 
5. New Feature: Commentary
 
A much-awaited feature, Commentary, now makes its way to SAP Lumira Designer. It can be implemented using a “Comments” technical component.
 
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It is important to note that the Commentary feature is based on the same framework as the one you see in SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence (WebI), and is actually a platform level feature. This in turn means that interoperability and re-use with comments can be expected with future releases.

The commentary feature comes with a list of APIs that allows users to implement commentary features at runtime. Comments can be made global or private, and can be made at the level of a dashboard, or even a single data cell. These comments can be retrieved and displayed within the new “Feed List” component.
 
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Implementing the Commentary feature requires a little bit of scripting, but the logic behind it should be fairly simple. Comments made by users can also be appended to PDF exports in SAP Lumira Designer. Managing these comments can be done using the CMC as well.
 
6. New Feature: Unloading data sources and releasing resources
 
SAP Lumira Designer 2.1 comes with features to ‘Unload’ a Data Source and release the resources it occupies – such as a dialog session with the BW system. This is particularly useful when parallelizing queries on an application, and you have limited resources on your Data Source system. By unloading a Data Source which is not currently in use, the resources being used by the Data Source can also be released.
 
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There are other APIs to unload multiple data sources (in case of parallel processing), or to even completely release all resources being used by a current application.
 
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With the new APIs in place, an application can be optimized for performance even in terms of the resources it is currently using.
 
7. New Feature: Application List
 
SAP Lumira Designer 2.1 now has an “Application List” technical component that allows users to access a list of bookmarks that have been saved in other applications.
 
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Users can select from the list of bookmarks retrieved by the Application List component and launch the application that the selected bookmark is saved under.

When retrieving the list of bookmarks saved under all the applications, filters can be applied to shorten the list. These filters can be Access Type of the Bookmarks, Folder or Owner of the Bookmark.
 
8. Enhancement: Improved run-time features for Charts
 
Users now have a few more options when using Charts at runtime. First of these options is to “Enable Ad-Hoc Comparison” for a chart. This way, selecting multiple data points on the chart will show a comparison as a pop-up.
 
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Users have also been given the option of adding trend lines at run-time.
 
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The trend line can also be forwarded for a specified number of periods using a pop-up option.
 
9. Enhancement: Export to PDF
 
The Export to PDF brings with it minor, but much needed enhancements. It now allows users to “Fit to Page”. For instance, when you have a crosstab with a number of columns, you could have it fit to a page using the “Components Fit to Page Width” property. This, of course, would require the “Paper Size” and “Orientation” properties to be set accordingly.
 
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Notice how a page with a horizontally scrollable crosstab (image above) will be compressed to fit into a single page (image below).
 
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Comments made on the dashboard can also be appended on the PDF document. Additional enhancements include the ability to choose the analytic components to be exported as part of the PDF report, and the ability to choose the order they appear in on the report itself.
 
10. Enhancement: Conditional Formatting
 
A couple of changes have been made to the Conditional Formatting Technical Component. The first of this is a property that allows for BEx Exceptions (defined in the query) itself. This can be enabled using the properties of the Conditional Formatting Technical Component (image below).
 
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Users can now define rules as Measure rules (where conditional formatting is applied based on a threshold value for a chosen measure), or Dimension rules (where conditional formatting is applied based on a particular dimension value).
 
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A single rule can also have multiple formats, say a different format for crosstabs and a different one for charts. Or different formats for different values, even.
 
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All of these conditional formatting rules can be defined at runtime (so long as a Technical Component has already been created at Design Time), and thus offer users more flexibility with their dashboards.
 
11. Modification: Context menu, Filter by measure
 
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The “Filter by Measure” option now gets a small modification. In earlier versions, users were limited to filtering based only on Top N or Bottom N values. In SAP Lumira Designer 2.1, this feature has been modified to allow users to define values based on a threshold.
 
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The threshold can be based on all characteristics individually, or just a defined measure or dimension from the list. The option to use a Top N or a Bottom N, however has now been moved to a separate menu option that is displayed when right-clicking on a dimension, and is labelled “Rank”.
 
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This feature, again, should make it easier for users to do ad-hoc analysis using SAP Lumira Designer at run-time.

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SAP Lumira Designer 2.1 has a host of features, a key few of which we’ve covered in this blog. The path of maturity that the tool is currently on is suggestive of its immense capability to deliver robust enterprise BI applications and complex dashboards that are capable of context-sensitive workflows and drilldowns.

As a tool, SAP Lumira Designer is employed for a number of use cases more complex than Agile Visualization alone (different from what tools such as Tableau, Spotfire, Qlik or Power BI are used for), and the host of new enterprise-ready features such as Commentary and Scheduling will help take it beyond just basic dashboarding or storyboarding. With the self-service capabilities of SAP Lumira Discovery and Interoperability, SAP Lumira Designer is capable of delivering solutions that are a collaborative sum of Business and IT Use Cases and will bring in much needed adoption.

Interested to learn what SAP Lumira Designer 2.1 can do for you? Contact us here.

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