SAP Analytics Cloud Add-in for MS Office (beta) – First Look

Posted by on Jan 24, 2020

At the end of 2019 SAP suddenly introduced a completely new addition to the SAP Analytics Cloud suite: SAP Analytics Cloud for Office. I’ve had a quick look at the beta version of this Excel add-in and it – obviously – looks a lot like our good old SAP Analysis Office. Apparently the decision was made to create a new Excel add-in from scratch specifically for SAC.

From what I’ve seen, there are at least two major differences in the foundations of this tool: First, the installation of this SAC for Office is done via the built-in MS Office store. That means that you can easily push this add-in to all Excel installations within your organization. Also think about what this means for the distribution of updates: this is not necessary anymore as the users will always run the latest version of the software from the MS Office store! Second: this add-in not only works within your ‘on-premise’ Excel installation on your Windows laptop, but also in online Office 365 plus – and I’ve waited over 10 years for this – on the Mac! Awesome!!

So check out the video where I show a very minimal demo. As this is just the very first beta, don’t expect much. For live HANA/BW connectivity you still need to use SAP Analysis Office 2.8 for example. Also, there is still no integrated SAC repository option to easily store and open your workbooks on the SAC platform. Looking at the roadmap, the focus for the first half of 2020 is on Planning.

Posted in: Analysis for Office, SAP Analytics Cloud

SAP Analytics Cloud 2019 Roundup: the good, the bad and the ugly

Posted by on Dec 29, 2019

2019 is almost over, so just like last year this is a good moment to look back at what happened in the SAP Analytics Cloud universe over the past 12 months. This year we got an astonishing 24 wave releases for the SAC tenants that are on the fast track schedule, so that should be enough to cover! Traditionally, I’ll do the grouping of the roundup in a good, bad and ugly manner.

The Good

This year’s SAP TechEd confirmed the statement from 2018 that SAP Analytics Cloud would eventually turn in to the single BI solution for all the SAP solutions. In Q4 the betas for the first batch of ‘embedded analytics’ started, featuring the new SAP Datawarehouse Cloud, SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Fieldglass. 

The standalone SAC solution is turning more and more into this broad enterprise BI platform which will very soon overhaul the feature set of the on-premise SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform. Let’s go through some of the changes:

Platform administration has made some improvements, for example the simple fact that we can now finally authorize on models by storing them in folders. Sharing settings on these folders also have improved with better inheritance of sharing settings. Also, we can now take the full user administration outside of SAC by mapping accounts, teams and roles to MS Azure AD groups. With this you could setup your SAC tenant in such a way that users only need to go to the SAC URL and automatically an account is created for them and assigned to the correct teams and roles: no more manual admin activities needed in SAC! Finally, there are improvements in the Transport/LCM area, where we now can directly deploy between tenants, without export and importing files. 

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Posted in: SAP Analytics Cloud

Video: SAP Analytics Cloud Roambi – Pulse template [2019.4 preview]

Posted by on Mar 17, 2019

In this video I give a walkthrough of Roambi on SAP Analytics Cloud. Roambi is SAP’s mobile first solution for BI and is a separate app in addition to the already existing SAP Analytics Cloud Mobile app. The latter one supports SAC stories and digital boardrooms, while Roambi has its own document format based on predefined templates.

In this video I demonstrate the Roambi Pulse template. Full availability of Roambi and all its templates is expected later in 2019.

Posted in: SAP Analytics Cloud, Video

SAC Application Design and Lumira Designer – Roadmap questions

Posted by on Mar 7, 2019

I recently got quite some questions about the new Application Design feature in SAP Analytics Cloud, especially its position in relation to SAP Lumira Designer (Design Studio). I understand that all this may raise some questions with SAP BI customers that haven’t hopped on the SAC train yet or are just starting with their orientation on cloud solutions. So let’s bring some clarity here by starting from the beginning. 

Application Design is part of the SAP Analytics Cloud platform and gives you the possibility to offer centrally governed analytical applications, created by professional application designers. These applications range from simple dashboards with just a few charts or tables to complex applications with custom layouts and interactivity options created with scripts. 

With the option to use custom scripts the applications go a big step further than the SAP Analytics Cloud stories. That’s also why the stories are positioned to be (also) created by business users, while the applications are solely built by application designers. Eventually, the idea is to be able to integrate and combine features coming from the whole SAC platform in applications. For example, an application could visualize a live data source (BI), run a predictive scenario and offer planning capabilities to update data based on this. 

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Posted in: SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio, SAP Lumira

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms 2019

Posted by on Feb 15, 2019

Gartner just published its legendary Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms for 2019. It is always interesting to see how the SAP BI offering compares to its competitors. In previous years I’ve been critical on this report, as most of the SAP tools were completely ignored (SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform, Lumira, etc.) and SAP Analytics Cloud was really just getting started. In the 2019 edition the BOBJ stuff is still out, but that is something I can live with as SAP clearly changed its strategy to cloud.

So let’s have a look at the chart. SAP is seen as a visionaire, but with a low ability to execute. The big competitors Microsoft (PowerBI) and Tableau seem to be far ahead, both in vision and execution. The details on SAP are basically a repeat of my good, bad and the ugly write up on SAP Analytics Cloud in 2018. Some quotes from the report:

SAP is a Visionary, its position in the Magic Quadrant being influenced by product limitations and relative weakness in terms of sales and marketing strategy. SAP still does not have the broad market momentum of the Leaders in this market. Its decision to focus on one product is beginning to improve its competitiveness, however. Reference customers for SAP Analytics Cloud report a much improved view of SAP’s viability as a vendor of modern analytics and BI.

SAP Analytics Cloud’s integrated functionality for planning, analytical and predictive capabilities in a unified, single platform is a differentiator. SAP is one of only two vendors in the Magic Quadrant with such an offering.

I can only agree with this. The focus should not be on purely closing the functionality gap with the quadrant leaders, but on offering a more integrated, broader solution. 

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Posted in: SAP Analytics Cloud