SAPinsider Q&A webinar on Design Studio 1.6

Posted by on Mar 20, 2016

Jeroen and I are doing a Q&A webinar on SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio 1.6 hosted by Thursday next week (March 31). This webinar is free and you can already submit your questions at

The chat will start at 10.30AM EDT/3.30PM GMT. If you can’t join us live, there will be a replay/transcript available later.

Update: Replay is available now here.

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What’s New in SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio 1.6? Q&A on New Features, Deployment Options, Use Cases, and More

Q&A with Jeroen van der A and Xavier Hacking
Date: Thursday, March 31, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM EDT / 3:30 PM GMT
Duration: 60 minutes

A new release of SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio was announced at the end of last year, and with its many new features and enhancements, it’s being hailed as the most mature tool yet. But what exactly are these new features, and what can they do for your business?

Join our live Q&A with SAP BI experts and BI 2016 speakers Jeroen van der A and Xavier Hacking of Interdobs to find out more about the new capabilities of SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio 1.6, to hear what organizations are doing with it, and to get a rundown of the different deployment options. Whether you are evaluating Design Studio for the first time or looking to upgrade to 1.6, this live Q&A is a chance to hear experts answer your most pressing questions, including:

  • What are the key features in of Design Studio 1.6?
  • What is the preferred deployment option for Design Studio?
  • How does Design Studio 1.6 compare to SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (Xcelsius)?
  • Can we migrate BEx WAD or Xcelsius reports/dashboards to Design Studio?
  • What are the mobile dashboard options available with this new release?

Sign in and join this live Q&A and post your questions for our panelists!

Posted in: Knowledge sharing, SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio

SAP Cloud for Analytics – first impressions

Posted by on Mar 10, 2016

A lot is happening in the SAP BI spectrum: new versions of Design Studio, Lumira, BI4.2 just went General Available, the acquisition of Roambi. You would almost forget that SAP is working on a completely new front-end platform called SAP Cloud for Analytics (C4A).

Since the TechEd 2015 in Las Vegas, it was possible to register for demo access to this platform. But, almost nobody got an actual login for this. Fortunately I was able to participate in a 3-day SAP Partner Test on C4A at SAP headquarters in Waldorf earlier this month. This gave me the opportunity to work hands-on with the system and to provide direct feedback to the development team.

The idea behind C4A is that SAP wants to create a platform that will contain at least all existing analytical capabilities, which we know from all the other SAP front-end BI tools. The C4A environment is built from scratch and runs completely – and only – in the cloud (unlike old on-premise cloud solutions as for example). This also means that no migration will be possible from existing tools. By the way, the development capacity  for the on-premise tools remains on the same level, so no need to panic. For C4A mostly new developers are recruited.


Data Connectivity
C4A has two strategies on using data from data sources: Import and Online. The import option is very similar to the Lumira scenarios in which the data has to be imported first, and then can be fully customized and used for visualization and analysis. In the online option the data replication is not needed, so the data can be used instantly.

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Posted in: Data visualization, Knowledge sharing, SAP, SAP Analytics Cloud

The Dunning-Kruger effect

Posted by on Dec 31, 2015

Ever heard about the Dunning-Kruger effect? I’m so happy I found out about this earlier in 2015. It immediately solved a lot of the questions I had for years on really weird human behavior that I was seeing more and more around me.

The basic idea is that people who are incompetent don’t know that they are incompetent and therefor don’t adjust their actions accordingly.

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

– Charles Bukowski

Below is an interesting chart that shows this principle when you are learning something over time. At the start you don’t know anything, which is clear for yourself. Than after a while you gained a lot more skills. This is the danger area because you may think you know a lot now, but you still can’t oversee the whole knowledge spectrum to put that skill level into perspective. Finally in the expert phase you come to a very painful realization that there is so much more to learn, know and experience that your overall skill level is still rather low, even though compared to others you could be regarded as an expert.


Remember when you first started with that single SAP module or BI tool and after a few months or even years you thought you mastered it? Then you suddenly needed to work in other modules, BusinessObjects was bought by SAP, they came up with HANA etc. etc. I hope the realization at that moment was that there is simply too much to stuff to know about it all within the SAP universe. That’s why we specialize in specific areas.

I find this concept very interesting and it clarifies a lot of things for me. Why are people putting themselves in Idols (America Idol) competitions? Everybody sees them suck at singing and it seems that they truly don’t get why the feedback is so terrible. After multiple seasons people keep going on Shark Tank with idiotic ideas and/or crazy investment proposals; no profit in years, low sales and still asking for millions for a small stake. How is this possible?! These guys are all in the second phase!

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Posted in: Knowledge sharing

openSAP findings

Posted by on Jan 18, 2015

SAP offers a lot of free online courses (MOOC’s) through its openSAP platform. The cool thing is that you can work on them your own computer, wherever and whenever you want. They already have a nice range of BI related courses, about SAP HANA, BI4 and BW on HANA. More will be added in the future. All information is open and SAP even gives you access to a demo environment and tools.


I just finished the BI Clients and Applications on SAP HANA course that ran in Q4 of 2014. I really like the idea of openSAP, but there is still a lot of room for improvement:

  • It’s hard to anticipate on what exact content is discussed in the videos. When I start a video I also scan through the presentation PDF to get an idea of the content and the (prerequisite) knowledge level. But, you could miss some good tips that are discussed but are not on the slides.
  • There are transcripts of the spoken text, but they are not indexed or tagged.
  • Basically it is a problem that the course video, slides and transcripts are now three separate files, while it would be handy if they were connected. So if I wanted to skip to a certain slide, or a part of the transcript, I would want to just click on that and the video should continue there.
  • The hands-on demos are good. Most of the times I prefer the demo over the introduction slide ware. For example at the end of the course a demo of the Translation Management Tool was given, which I hadn’t used or even seen before. A few minute demo was enough to fully understand what the purpose and working of this tool was. Let me skip to this.
  • Sometimes there was some very 101 level content was given (Crystal Reports is a pixel-perfect blablabla…). Let me skip this, fast.
  • Some videos are around 30 minutes, which is too long. Why not split them into short 5 or 10 minute categories, for example:
    • Introduction/basic features
    • Advanced features
    • Practical tips & tricks/best practices
    • Hands-on demos

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Posted in: Knowledge sharing

A look at SAP GUI themes

Posted by on Jan 1, 2015

Did you know you can change the way SAP GUI looks? You know, that basic SAP tool most of us use for hours each day? I really don’t like the looks of the standard theme, but you can easily change it into something else. I’m not sure if people know about this. All I see around me are those awful colors and/or 3D buttons (sometimes even with animations) like we are back in 2001 again.

In this post we will look at how to change your SAP GUI theme (which is very easy) and have a look at the different themes that are available.

To change the theme you have to go to the Options menu in SAP GUI. This is the most outer right button. You can also use the shortcut ALT+F12. Select Options here.


Here you can choose the theme from the dropdown box. You need to restart SAP GUI before the changes take effect.


Some themes, unfortunately only the older ones, have the option to use a different color set for each SAP system. This is very handy if you have to work with multiple systems at once. You can use for example a grey set for development, red for test and blue for production. Or you different colors for BW and ECC systems. All themes except for Corbu and Crystal Blue have this option.


So now let’s have a look at the various themes that are available for us with their “description”. I’ll start with the oldest theme first.

Classic: This is the well-known Windows design that was standard for Windows applications up to and including Windows 2000.

Pretty plain and basic, but ooooold.


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Posted in: Knowledge sharing, SAP