SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) has been around for a while and it has primarily been a tool for cloud-based Data Discovery, especially for customers looking to seamlessly connect to their existing Cloud-based solutions. As of version 2019.8, SAP Analytics Cloud brings to customers the ability to also create Applications in the cloud in the form Application Design. This new feature comes as a part of existing BI licenses for customers and does not need to be purchased additionally.

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Source: SAP

 

With the addition of application building capabilities, SAP Analytics Cloud now looks to offer the same capabilities as SAP Lumira Designer for those customers looking to use mostly cloud-based data sources. However, SAP Lumira Designer has been around for quite a while now and there are quite a few differences between SAP Analytics Cloud’s Application Design and SAP Lumira Designer. For the most part, these differences are negligible. However, it still is important for customers to understand what the key differences are, which is what we’ve outlined here.

 

1. Wider Variety of Data Sources

SAP Lumira Designer can natively connect to 3 types of Data Sources – SAP BW, SAP HANA, and Universes. For any other type of Data Source, it would require a Custom Data Source component to be built using the SDK.

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Wider range of Data Sources to connect to for SAP Analytics Cloud’s Application Design

 

SAP Analytics Cloud’s Application Design can connect to any Data Source that SAP Analytics Cloud can connect to – it can connect to both Cloud and On-Premise Data sources that are either extracted or live (depending on the Data Source in question) as long as a “Model” is built on top of the existing Data Source. This gives Application Design quite a bit of flexibility.

 

2. Data Source Objects

SAP Lumira Designer allowed users to add objects called “Data Sources” to the application they were building. These objects or components allowed Designers to connect to data from BW Queries, HANA Views or Universes and could bind to different components within the canvas. The best part about Data Sources was that the same Data Source could be re-used by multiple components, and this opened the door to a lot of other performance optimization techniques.

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SAP Analytics Cloud’s Application Design requires Models

 

SAP Analytics Cloud’s Application Design, on the other hand, does not yet have the concept of Data Sources. Instead, Charts and Tables added to the canvas can now only connect to Models created within the tool. Live Data from BW Queries or HANA Views will also have to have a Model created before they can be consumed by the visualizations. This takes away the ability to streamline performance on the application but does add the advantage of being able to create custom calculations on the fly when using imported data sources.

 

3. Data Binding

SAP Lumira Designer can bind the content within List Boxes and Dropdown menus (or quite a few other components for that matter) directly to Data Sources. So, if designers wanted a list of Products from the BW query they were using on their applications, it was simply a matter of binding the right property of their list box to the data source.

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Data Binding options are not yet available on Application Design

 

In SAP Analytics Cloud’s Application Design, components such as Dropdown menus or Radio Button Groups (List Boxes are missing, for some reason), do not have the ability to bind directly to a Data Source. The items inside will need to be populated manually. However, as a workaround, it is possible to get a list of all items within the Data Source and load them into the component using Scripting. Since this is how Designer started out, it could be just a matter of time before the same ability comes to SAC Application Design.

 

4. Components

Having been around for a while, SAP Lumira Designer has a wider variety of components including Table components, Chart component, Filter components, Basic components for interactions and a robust set of Container components for different types of applications and target devices. These are, of course, standard components. With a very robust SDK, SAP Lumira Designer also has plenty of aftermarket components available too.

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Limited list of components owing to the newness of the tool

 

SAP Analytics Cloud’s Application Design is newer to the market and is still building on a limited set of components. Right now, the tool has very basic components such as Charts, Tables and a few basic components for interactions. Mapping capabilities are missing as well. However, it also supports R-based Visualizations, which is quite an addition, and more components can definitely be expected going forward.

 

5. Scripting

SAP Lumira Designer uses its own scripting language known as BIAL scripting. This is a derivation from JavaScript and closely resembles Microsoft’s VBScript. The type of scripting that can be used is limited to merely events and methods defined within the tool, and it is not possible to integrate external scripting languages with Lumira’s. However, it is still possible to build custom components which can compile other scripting languages separately.

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Flexible Scripting options for SAP Analytics Cloud’s Application Design

 

At the outset, SAP Analytics Cloud’s Application Design seems to share the same scripting language as that of SAP Lumira Designer. While the number of methods and events available are far more limited considering the newness of the tool, it is possible to use a freer form of scripting closer to JavaScript, including constructs like For and While loops, Switch-Case statements and more. Moreover, R-based analyses are already supported through components within the tool. In this aspect, Application Design shows a lot more promise.

 

6. Integration with External Applications

SAP Lumira Designer has the capability to integrate with existing SAP BI solutions such as Web Intelligence reports, BEx web queries or even jump to other Analysis Office applications. While the SDK allows for a degree of added functionality, including the ability to embed web pages within Designer, the ability to interact with these web pages could be a bit limited.

SAP Analytics Cloud’s Application Design, on the other hand, has been built to handle integration with external applications such as web pages, business applications and even has the capability for closed-loop scenarios. The tool is built with native capabilities to handle OData calls to transaction systems and bi-directional communications with other business applications as well. And of course, it can seamlessly navigate to existing stories, explorer and smart functions within the SAP Analytics Cloud environment.

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It hasn’t been too long since SAP has come out with Application Design for Analytics Cloud. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to customers that the capabilities are a little limited at the moment – this is, after all, version 1.0 of Application Design for the cloud. However, even version 1.0 here seems a bit more mature than version 1.0 of SAP Lumira Designer (initially known as SAP Design Studio).

The seamless integration with the rest of the Analytics Cloud capabilities and several other key capabilities such as the ability to integrate R-based analyses, perform a closed-loop operation with transaction systems and seamlessly integrate with business applications shows great promise for SAP Analytics Cloud. With agile quarterly release cycles, the Application Design feature is likely to mature very quickly, leaving customers with one important consideration – will customers be able to move to the cloud fast enough?

For a summary of all our blogs related to SAP Analytics Cloud Application Design, please visit: https://visualbi.com/blogs/category/sap/sap-analytics-cloud/

Reach out to us here today if you are interested to evaluate if SAP Analytics Cloud is right for you.

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