On February 7, 2018, SAP announced a major change to their Analytics and SAP Lumira Strategy under the banner of 2018 convergence strategy. The change spurred a variety of reactions such as competitors feasting on the melee, customers’ feedback and partners’ pleas. Check out our detailed blog on the impact that it had on the on-premise SAP BusinessObjects customers back then.
Partly due to listening to these suggestions, SAP decided to extend the future of Business Objects with its 4.3 release announcement and clarify some ambiguous aspects of the original February 7th announcements at Sapphire 18’ (June 6, 2018)
For the benefit of customers that currently own and run SAP BusinessObjects – we are here to clarify few things further that will help them to smart-predict the longevity of SAP BusinessObjects platform as the doubts that got seeded with the initial announcement on February 7th, still lingers in the minds of a few customers and partners.
Let’s now take a closer look at the strategy & it’s implications:
- BI Convergence 2018 strategy (Feb Vs June 2018)
- Future of SAP BusinessObjects
- Life support for SAP Lumira Discovery
- Ambiguous messaging for SAP Lumira Designer / Design Studio
- What it means for other legacy SAP BI applications (WAD, Analysis for OLAP, BO Explorer, Roambi & SAP Dashboards aka Xcelsius)
- Visual BI’s Recommendations and Advisory for Customers
SAP’s BI CONVERGENCE 2018 STRATEGY (Feb Vs Jun 2018)
What you see above is the official SAP analytics strategy as of today. Most of the tweaks were centered around announcing that (a) SAP Analytics Cloud would be the go-to solution for cloud-based data discovery, (b) SAP Lumira Designer a.k.a. Design Studio is at the core and center of SAP Analytics Strategy for interactive dashboard analytics use case AND for data discovery on premise. You would also notice that there is more emphasis on Hybrid BI where customers would utilize their on-premise BusinessObjects platform and SAP Analytics Cloud in conjunction with SAP Analytics Hub as a consumption portal.
However, when we closely compare the initial announcements from February 2018 to June 2018 – you can easily spot the differences on how you can continue leveraging SAP Lumira 2.X for your on-premise data discovery use cases as well as to migrate and retire a number of legacy BI tools.
Future of SAP BusinessObjects- Longevity is guaranteed for another 10 years (till 2028)
By announcing that SAP will officially release – SAP BusinessObjects 4.3 at Sapphire 18’ – SAP has reassured their customers that BusinessObjects platform will be officially supported for another 10 years at minimum, much to the joy of every BusinessObjects customer and partner. What this means is that all of the underlying products like Web Intelligence (WEBI), Crystal Reports (CR), Analysis for Office, and SAP Lumira Designer that run on SAP BusinessObjects platform, will inherit this support till 2028.
We think it is important to understand how SAP maintenance and support will work with various BusinessObjects releases. For example, if you are still running SAP BusinessObjects 4.1 then you need to hurry up and upgrade to 4.2 before the end of 2018 unless you have priority one support contract.
One good part about the February 7th announcement was that SAP extended the life of 4.2 release by 2 years from the original support end dates.
So, as long you upgrade to BusinessObjects 4.3 release before 2022 – you can extend BusinessObjects longevity to 2026 or 2028 depending on your contract:
|Business Objects Release Version||Main Stream Support End Date||Priority 1 – Support End Date|
|4.1||Dec 31, 2018||Dec 31, 2020|
|4.2||Dec 31, 2022||Dec 31, 2024|
|4.3||Dec 31, 2026||Dec 31, 2028|
More recently at SAP Teched 2018 – SAP shared this with customers
Life Support for SAP LUMIRA DISCOVERY?
It is very unfortunate that SAP Lumira Discovery will not get innovated any further and the current official Lumira roadmap clearly reflects that. It will, however, be supported and maintained by SAP till 2028, as long as you move to a supported SAP BusinessObjects releases (4.2 or 4.3). Basically, you can use SAP Lumira Discovery with the existing set of features and functionalities with the assurance that it would be supported for another decade. It is not unreasonable to hope for some minimal innovations as part of the maintenance and support releases either.
You can read more on this official SAP announcement on Discovery
Especially for customers who are already using SAP Lumira Discovery and those who are heavily invested with Business Objects Platform need not panic. Discovery can still be good for most use cases when used in conjunction with SAP Lumira Designer and the SAP Lumira 2.x interoperability offers excellent value for customers.
The concept of interoperability in Lumira 2.X between Business (Discovery) and IT (Designer) is unique across all BI tools. Customers can use SAP Lumira Discovery desktop for use cases where data preparation would be required and then use the LUMX file as input for SAP Lumira Designer Applications. Recent functional improvements in scheduling Lumx files have opened up the possibility of rolling out offline dashboards with Lumira 2.2 as well.
However, if you are principally an SAP ERP shop with no existing BusinessObjects investments then we strongly recommend SAP Analytics Cloud as part of your greenfield project as it provides a lot of good connectivity to SAP cloud apps like Success Factors, ARIBA, Concur, S/4HANA, BW/4HANA as well on-premise BW. You can listen to our customer KMG Chemicals sharing their success story about working with SAP Analytics Cloud.
Ambiguous Messaging for SAP LUMIRA DESIGNER / Design Studio?
The product that suffered the most with SAP’s announcement is and will continue to be SAP Design Studio a.k.a Lumira Designer and SAP had to put a red sticker (see above) announcement that SAP Lumira Designer is still being innovated and there is no change whatsoever and is not to be confused with SAP Lumira Discovery’s fate.
Wordplay still continues to prevail in the market like the twitter exchange below:
A parallel to the predictions on BW’s demise:
As we saw with SAP BW back in 2011 – there were several obituaries written for SAP BW to create displacement need or urgency for driving SAP HANA sales. Seven years later – we now know that no SAP product witnessed more innovation than SAP BW with BW 7.3, BW 7.4, BW 7.5, BW on HANA and now BW/4 HANA. Despite all this, we still have customers falling for this induced fear of S/4 embedded analytics killing off BW and very few seem to be asking the basic question of why SAP is still innovating with BW/4HANA.
SAP Lumira Designer / Design Studio now finds itself in a similar spot – as market predictions are misleading even as SAP has reiterated its commitment to the product.
Let’s look closely at the future for SAP Lumira Designer a.k.a Design Studio.
Lumira Designer Roadmap:
SAP Lumira Designer is at the core of SAP Analytics Strategy and here is the latest official Lumira roadmap:
1) Application Design Use Case:
Customers still call storyboards a report or a dashboard. More often, even complex IT-developed applications are called as dashboards. Typical SAP customers continue to have complex applications with dashboard use cases (especially those who come from Web Application Design use cases). Simple self-service dashboards that business users can build themselves have not been enough to meet their needs.
See below, for more clarity on what we call the applications use case and you will realize that there isn’t any competition to SAP Lumira for fulfilling this use case in the market:
2) Legacy Tools Migration Recommendation:
In our opinion, SAP Lumira serves the application use case with no real competitor in the market and that is why SAP will continue to innovate SAP Lumira Designer. SAP is also recommending that the legacy BI Products such as SAP Dashboards a.k.a Xcelsius, Web Application Designer Applications (WAD), and Analysis for OLAP be migrated to SAP Lumira Designer.
Ask yourself this – Will SAP risk recommending Lumira 2.x for legacy BI tools migration if it is on the chopping block like Discovery?
You can read more on Lumira Designer’s wide range of use cases here in our blog – https://visualbi.com/blogs/sap-lumira-designer/7-use-cases-sap-lumira-designer/
3) App Design Announcement with SAP Analytics Cloud
Just because SAP is bringing the Application Design use case in SAP Analytics Cloud, it doesn’t mean that Lumira Designer will not witness innovations like Discovery or that it will suffer a similar fate as Discovery. There will always be customers who would like to shift to the cloud or those who would continue to remain with their on-premise systems without shifting to the cloud.
Bringing a successful application design use case to the cloud can only be positive in the long run for Lumira Designer as it might make interoperability- a viable option to consume cloud data models inside Lumira Designer for on-premise customers.
See below, the excerpt from SAP Lumira 2.2 webinar
Any customer who still has doubts should listen to this ASUG Webinar – https://www.asug.com/events/bi-whats-new-in-sap-lumira-2-2
4) Why not Fiori UI5 for App Design Use Case:
There are customers who use Fiori/UI5 applications for reasons like wanting a true custom solution or perceived better performance with UI5 or because their SI is endorsing it over Lumira Designer. When one reviews our comparison blog closely on UI5 Vs Lumira Designer applications, they would start wondering why any customer would try Fiori/UI5 application over Lumira designer for analytical applications.
5) Visual BI Extensions for Lumira Designer:
Visual BI continues to innovate with our Visual BI Extensions (VBX) and Value Driver Tree (VDT) and will try to fill gaps and keep meeting customer needs with SAP Lumira Designer. A Robust market for third-party extensions with Lumira Designer SDK will also ensure that it would remain a very innovative application development tool for SAP customers.
VBX Suite continues to acquire large SAP enterprise customers even today and has been a good reassurance for Visual BI. When we see so many of these customers who tried other Non-SAP BI tools first for their application use cases and still chose to come back to Designer, it reminds us all that the tool- is here to stay.
WHAT HAPPENS TO OTHER LEGACY SAP BI TOOLS?
It is a no-brainer for customers using flash-based solutions like SAP Dashboards a.k.a Xcelsius or BO Explorer should be actively migrating them to either Lumira Designer or SAP Analytics Cloud as this has mostly to do with the death of flash as a technology than anything else.
We have covered this topic in detail in our webinar – https://visualbi.com/resources/webinars/migrating-legacy-bi-applications-to-sap-lumira-designer-replay/
If going to the cloud is not an option, then it is technically possible for those customers to migrate their Business Objects Explorer views using SAP Lumira Designer and Visual BI Extensions (VBX). We have covered that scenario in our webinar as well.
In Summary, this is SAP’s official recommendation:
|Legacy BI Tool (Migrate From)||New BI (Migrate to)|
|RoamBI||SAP Analytics Cloud|
|Business Objects Explorer||SAP Analytics Cloud|
|Xcelsius / SAP Dashboards||SAP Lumira Designer (2.X)|
|Web Application Designer (WAD)||SAP Lumira Designer (2.X)|
|SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for OLAP||SAP Lumira Designer (2.X)|
|SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio||SAP Lumira Designer (2.X)|
Visual BI’s Recommendations and Advisory for Customers
It has definitely not been an easy last 6 months for SAP BusinessObjects and SAP Lumira customers and partners following the initial February 7th announcement by SAP on the new convergence strategy. However, SAP has:
- Eased up and clarified several things with the announcement of SAP BusinessObjects 4.3 release
- Red-stickered reassurance on Lumira Designer
- Provided more emphasis on Hybrid BI strategy.
SAP Analytics Cloud absolutely makes sense for green-field implementations and/or as a hybrid BI play in conjunction with SAP BusinessObjects.
In recent updates- At SAP TechEd 2018, SAP did announce additional details on how the hybrid licenses could work with no conversion needed from existing Business Objects licenses.
So, Customers are advised to explore how the new Hybrid BI licenses from SAP will work in conjunction with their existing SAP BusinessObjects platform licenses and gradually tiptoe into SAP Analytics cloud.
Obviously, there are people who will continue to seed doubts about SAP BusinessObjects or SAP Lumira. When this happens, ask yourselves first – are they incentivized to sell something else to you? Visual BI is recommending customers to trust only official SAP roadmap and not fall for any wordplay and exaggerated claims from anyone.
If you already own hardware, software, or people for your on-premise BusinessObjects platform – the ROI/TCO to freeze and move to any new BI solution might not be a smart move, but rather a rushed decision. Just jumping aboard any new BI tool by abandoning SAP BusinessObjects does not make your analytics better overnight.
As a closing thought, customers who have existing SAP BusinessObjects investments can simply relax knowing that there are no competitors bringing in solutions for SAP Analysis for Office or Web Intelligence or Crystal Reports or Lumira Designer use cases to market. Customers are advised to take the time to plan and execute their Analytics & Cloud strategy as one decade is a long time in technology.
Disclaimer: Lot of the references made in this blog and the official SAP roadmap is subject to changes by SAP. This blog is strictly an opinion put forward by Visual BI.