SAP Analytics Cloud anno 2018: the good, the bad & the ugly

Posted by on Dec 28, 2018

Just a few more days and the year is almost over again, which makes this a perfect time to have a look at what happened in the past 12 months in the world of SAP Analytics Cloud. With all the updates the tool got in 2018 (22 waves!), you’d almost forget that it is just 10 months ago that SAC was pushed forward as the future of BI for SAP. But the question is of course: can it already deliver on this promise? And is it really enterprise ready? So let’s have a look at the state of SAP Analytics Cloud anno 2018. I grouped my observations in a good, bad and ugly manner.

The Good

Let’s start with some important signs in addition to the famous strategy blog of February 2018. SAP Analytics Cloud will be turned into the single BI solution for all tooling within SAP. So not only as the front-end solution on top of a SAP BW or HANA system, but it will replace the built-in BI solutions that come with the several cloud solutions SAP has acquired/developed over the years. Think of SuccessFactors, Concur, Fieldglass, Cloud for Customer. This will bring in millions of potential new users. For project Blueberry, which is a future SAP BW4/HANA cloud based offering, SAC will be the BI front-end. For the on-premise tools the future looks pretty sad. They probably will be supported for another decade, but all new innovations will be done in SAC.

I also see that SAC is slowly transitioning from a BI/planning tool into a broad platform that goes further than what the SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform ever delivered. Initially it only hosted the models and stories for reporting and planning, then the boardrooms and predictive scenarios were added as separate objects, and next year we will see applications, Roambi templates and Analysis Office workbooks appearing.

The Analysis Office workbooks are an interesting topic in itself and I regard this as a must have for 2019 to completely get SAC to a full “enterprise ready platform” level. Currently, Analysis Office workbooks can only consume acquired data models in SAC. To make this really work we need support for live BW/HANA models, and the option to store these workbooks on the SAC platform from within the Analysis Office software. This is all on the roadmap for 2019.

In 2018 a lot of generic SAC features were released, for example story bookmarks, offline/live data blending and proper platform usage statistics. Also many more specific features were delivered, for example on BW live connectivity where SAC is now very close to supporting the full spectrum of BEx features. This year brought the universal display hierarchy, support for two BEx structures and support for BEx conditions.

To finish the Good section, SAP is doing a lot to support organizations to manage this new normal of cloud. It will offer so-called test tenants that run a preview of the upcoming wave. This allows customers to check out new features so they are prepared for the actual release.

The Bad

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Posted in: SAP Analytics Cloud

De Nederlandse BI Podcast – Episode 27

Posted by on Jun 17, 2017

A new episode of De Nederlandse BI Podcast, live from the BI2017 SAPinsider conference in Amsterdam. Topics are:

  • BI2017 Keynote
  • SAP Analytics Hub
  • BPC 11
  • SAP Analytics Cloud
  • SAP Lumira 2.0
  • Predictive Analytics with R
  • The food at BI2017.

As always, you can find the show in iTunes, on our website or just use the Podcast player below to listen instantly. Warning: Dutch content only!

Posted in: De Nederlandse BI Podcast

SAP Analytics Hub – A first look

Posted by on May 30, 2017

In my previous post on the new names for the SAP BI products, the list (in the tweet) also included a new product: SAP Analytics Hub. Unfortunately I don’t have access yet, and there is also not that much material available on this product, but enough to at least get an idea of the purpose and direction. So let’s have a look.

It is common for an organization to have multiple places or platforms to host reports. Even within SAP-only environments we see this: BI Launchpad, Fiori Launchpad, Analytics Cloud, BEx Web. For the end-user this is of course an awful experience, as he has to switch between different platforms to get to all his reports, and needs to ‘learn’ where to find what.

sapanalyticshub4

The SAP Analytics Hub is advertised as the single platform and entry point for users, where they can find all their reports. At my current project we positioned and setup the BI Launchpad for this, but we had to use a bunch of workarounds and have to live with all the limitations of the tool.

Looking at the roadmap and FAQ files, I see that the initial version is basically a web-based portal that contains a bunch of links to reports. These links point either to cloud or on-premise solutions, and this can be both SAP as well as non-SAP software. Each link may contain some additional information and a preview of the report.

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Posted in: SAP