SAP TechEd 2019 Highlights

Posted by on Oct 18, 2019

I went to Las Vegas SAP TechEd 2019 a couple of weeks ago, of course focussing on all the new stuff for SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) and the brand new SAP Data Warehouse Cloud (DWC). Let’s go through some highlights.

Embedded Analytics

Announced a long time ago already, but now shown for the first time: SAC as a completely integrated reporting and analysis solution with SAP cloud applications. With this it is instantly possible to use SAC on top of the data from the particular tool, with a live connectivity! For example: when using SAP Fieldglass, you can start up the built-in SAC instance and create a model on top of the Fieldglass tables to get data into a story. This new features will be part of the existing license for the cloud application, but only gives access to the BI features of SAC. In case you want to combine data from different sources or use predictive and planning features, you’ll need to switch to the “standalone” version of SAC. The goal is to have live connectors towards all the SAP cloud applications in the standalone SAC, although there were no timelines provided. The cloud offerings that will contain an embedded SAC first are SAP Fieldglass , SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud.

SAP Analytics Cloud Mobile

The mobile solution for SAC is still lagging far behind the web version. There still is no Android app available (promised for end of 2019), there is no proper integration with the SAP Analytics Hub (Q2 2020) and the Analytics Designer apps don’t work (Q2 2020). On short, we can expect improvements in the areas of live prompts and SSO (no more double logins). SAP has a lot of work to do to catch up, especially as the mobile team has a lot of interesting ideas for future direction: there will be more emphasis on use cases and workflows where the users use the app to answer very specific questions (eventually via speech), instead of just loading and interacting with predefined reports. The vision is that the app would learn form this behavior and offer a timeline and push messages to provide information and insights in a more pro-active way.

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud

TechEd 2019 had a lot of attention for the new DWC, as it was mentioned in almost all sessions, including the keynote. I get the enthusiasm, especially when you combine the potential of this solution with “embedded SAC”, as this could give power users a complete toolset to setup their own mini data warehouse within a governed SAC ecosystem. With its direct (live) connectors to SAP and non-SAP source, a fully web-based cloud environment which is easily maintainable and scalable, and the reporting and analysis feature set of SAC this could be a serious alternative for all those local MS Excel/Access solutions that we still see a lot. The creation of a model in DWC is pretty simple (drag & drop) and does not require SQL knowledge. So in concept it looks great, but also here a lot of work still needs to be done before they can bring this to market.

In conclusion, this was pretty interesting convention and it is absolutely clear that the position of SAC within the full SAP ecosystem is only getting stronger.

Posted in: Featured

5 tips to kickstart SAC Application Design

Posted by on Dec 9, 2018

SAP Analytics Cloud Application Design is expected to be available somewhere at the beginning of 2019, so let’s already have a look at some tips to get you started with this first release.

In case you haven’t heard about Application Design, this is a brand new solution within the SAP Analytics Cloud, which allows you to build your own applications. It makes use of the components that we already know from the BI, Planning and Predictive areas in SAP Analytics Cloud, but lets you use scripts to extend these capabilities. It is basically SAP Lumira Designer in the cloud.

1. Fast scripting

For those familiar with SAP Lumira Designer this one won’t come as a surprise. Also in SAC Application Design you can (and should) use the content assistent (CTRL + SPACE) to help you write scripts. It is fast and prevents mistakes. Just hit CTRL + SPACE and you’ll get a list of possible options.   

You can find the SAP Analytics Cloud Application Design API Reference with all options here. Note that – just as in SAP Lumira Designer – you can also use “this“, instead of the name of the object that you are adding a script to. This is fast and flexible, as you can easily reuse the same code without having to adjust the name of the widgets. “me” doesn’t work by the way.

2. Debug with console.log();

With console.log(); you can pass values to the console of the web browser. You can use this to debug your application and see what is happening with your code.

3. Info Panel

The built-in Info Panel contains two tabs: Errors and Reference List. The Errors will show you incorrect scripts and scripts with warnings. You can click the error and immediately go to the script and the line.

The Reference List shows you all the scripts where the selected object is used in. 

4. R Visualization widget

Just as in SAC stories you can use the R Visualization widget in Application Design. Very interesting is the fact that you cannot only use this to visualize a custom R chart, but you can also use the variables that you define in the R script editor in your Application Design scripts. You could for example use R to do some advanced calculations, and display the result through another widget.

5. Get the largest monitor you can

Make sure you got a large monitor when you want to properly work with this tool. I was using my 13″ MacBook Pro, but with these massive panels on all sides there isn’t much space left for the actual application canvas and you don’t want to be scrolling and opening/closing panels all the time.

Posted in: Featured, SAP Analytics Cloud

BI2017 Amsterdam recap

Posted by on Jun 17, 2017

Last week was the SAPinsider BI2017 event in Amsterdam, which we visited with a team from Interdobs. I’ve seen some very cool demos on especially SAP Analytics Cloud, some Design Studio 1.x and Lumira 1.x customer use cases, Roambi and BI Platform administration tooling. Unfortunately the state of SAP Analytics Hub was exactly as what I already figured out from the slides a few weeks ago, but at least I was able to see a live demo and talk a bit to the developers.

bi2017

The first two days didn’t bring that much new information for me, luckily Friday was stacked with sessions showing a lot (live) demos so that made up a lot. Less slides = more value.

Overall I think the event was very mediocre, not much new stuff, only a few deep-dive hardcore tech sessions (BI Platform Support Tool FTW!), only one hands-on tool session (Lumira Discovery), too many breaks, terrible food (except for the fruit) and Pepsi Coke.

We made some videos to recap day 1 and 2, and on the third day we recorded De Nederlandse BI Podcast episode 27.

Posted in: Featured

SAP BI product name shake-up: the 2017 edition

Posted by on May 26, 2017

Another year, another set of product names for our beloved SAP BI tools. Seemingly out of nowhere a list of new names were presented last week at the SAPPHIRENOW event in Orlando FL. Even after all the name changes we had in the past 10 years (‘member Xcelsius?), this still came a bit as a surprise for me.

So let’s have a look at what happened here. First it seems like the whole BI portfolio is now recognized as SAP Analytics. Apparently it was named SAP BusinessObjects Analytics before (I always thought it was ‘SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence’, but that could be because I’m mostly focussing on the BI part of the tools), but this makes sense. The old BI terminology is probably seen as too limited, as the current and future analytics will go way beyond only internal data and usage scenarios. Of course the bigger change is that SAP continues to ditch the BusinessObjects brand: SAP BusinessObjects Cloud becomes SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP BusinessObjects Lumira will be SAP Lumira and SAP BusinessObjects Roambi just SAP Roambi.

Meanwhile, some of the more classic BusinessObjects tools keep their BusinessObjects brand: SAP BusinessObjects Web IntelligenceSAP BusinessObjects Enterprise. Analysis for Office loses the ‘for Office’ specification: SAP BusinessObjects Analysis. Following the conversion strategy this makes sense, as Analysis OLAP hasn’t been improved for a while and should be replaced by the Design Studio generic analysis template. Talking about Design Studio, which is not in the above photo, it is now labeled as SAP Analytics Design Studio (!!!) on SAP.com. Which, is a pretty insane name change at this point in time as the upcoming edition of the tool (only weeks away) will merge into Lumira 2.0 anyway. Talking about insane stuff, when I was browsing SAP.com I also saw that SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (Xcelsius) is still actively advertised. Madness.

Anyway, what I don’t understand is why SAP is keeping this BusinessObjects brand alive at all. Does it still have a value if all your major (new) tools are not using it? Maybe it’s for the non-SAPBW/HANA legacy customer base? But come on, it has been 10 years now since the acquisition and this is again (or still) a mess. Some tools have SAP Analytics in the name, some SAP BusinessObjects and some only SAP. I can’t wait for next year’s edition!

Posted in: Featured, SAP, SAP BusinessObjects, SAP Lumira

Design Studio 1.x and hierarchies: Not Assigned node filtering

Posted by on Jan 29, 2017

In BW hierarchies, the values that are not assigned to a hierarchy node are gathered under the Not Assigned node. The query output shows this node in the hierarchy on the same level as the top node of the hierarchy. This works the same for all SAP front-end tools that support hierarchies (Design Studio, Analysis for Office, BEx Analyzer, BEx Web Analyzer).

So far so good. Last week I ran into an issue with filtering on these Not Assigned nodes in Design Studio. The option just isn’t available! The whole hierarchy is visible in the filter menu, expect for the Not Assigned node! This happens both in prompt filters and the normal filters via a component (i.e. Dimension Filter or filtering via context-menu on Crosstab).

Filter in BEx Web Analyzer:

Web Analyzer Not Assigned

Display and filter in Design Studio:

Read More

Posted in: Featured, Knowledge sharing, SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio