Modern Analytics for the Digital Age

Steve Lucas

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Normally I wouldn’t start a blog post by shouting off qualifications about myself on a topic, but I think it’s relevant to the point I am trying to make around modern analytics. I spent eleven years at both Crystal Decisions and BusinessObjects (Crystal was acquired by BOBJ in 2002) and during that time ran a multitude of different teams and organizations, launched new products (e.g. crystalreports.com) and authored several technical books on Business Intelligence and Reporting.

I have a copy of each of those books on my bookshelf, and every time my eye catches a glimpse of them, I think about how rapidly analytics has and is evolving…which makes those books feel like a lifetime ago!

My point is that at SAP, we recognize that the analytics world is in some sense 180 degrees from where it was just 10 years ago, yet at the same time, some technologies, like reporting, are still very necessary parts of any enterprise infrastructure. So while some things change radically, some evolve more slowly.

With all that said, we have a plan to revolutionize analytics at SAP for our customers.

The Big Picture

Going forward, the SAP analytics portfolio will now fall under a single brand, SAP BusinessObjects. You may wonder why…and my answer is, it’s because SAP BusinessObjects continues to be the world’s most recognized brand related to analytics. Maybe not MODERN analytics in all cases, but we will change that! The portfolio we announced at Sapphire 2016 will deliver a set of modern analytics capabilities, on-premise and in the cloud, that seamlessly work together – helping users better understand their business, simplify the enterprise and transform in the digital age.

Getting Specific

For simplicity’s sake, instead of myriad analytics suites and tools, all with different brands and names, we’ve consolidated down to three solutions for you.

First, our product SAP BusinessObjects Cloud (this was called SAP Cloud for Analytics, but I didn’t like the name, so we changed it to align to the brand!) combines all the motions someone goes through in a self-service analytics process, from data access and curation to visualization, modeling and planning into one software as a service (SaaS) solution. Not only that, but for customers in the United States our recently acquired Roambi product for mobile analytics is now available (and Roambi will be available in more countries soon!). All this, coupled with the spring edition features of BusinessObjects Cloud, we are delivering something that no one else has in the market today.

Second, for on-premise use cases, we are consolidating the various BusinessObjects product & portfolios into a single product called SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise. We will offer a standard, pro and premium edition of this to make it more consumable for you as well. So my point of view is we’ve taken SAP’s market leading on-premise analytics offerings and made them available as single solution, ergo making it easier for organizations to choose the offering that best suits their needs. (I’ll get into that one more in a bit.) But to be clear, we aren’t forcing upgrades and new solutions on customers. The enhancement pack for BusinessObjects, SP 4.2 is available as part of your maintenance, which delivers an array of modern features and innovations to make your digital journey more achievable and BusinessObjects flat out better.

Lastly, we are offering the SAP Digital Boardroom (powered by SAP BusinessObjects Cloud) as a way for the senior executive management team and board of directors to gain insight into the behavior of their company and make more informed decisions to take action “in the moment.” The Digital Boardroom solution brings new enhancements for live meeting and collaboration, instantly connecting an entire organization with the information that matters. This is goodness.

These new offerings enable companies to better understand their business, simplify the enterprise and transform in the digital age – and we already know that companies must go digital or die. (Note – that’s a blog I wrote a few months ago, worth the read!)

Cloud and Mobile Will Win

For companies who want to make the move to the cloud for their enterprise analytics solution, the only real option is BusinessObjects Cloud. Other products – Domo, GoodData – are thin slices of a solution, just more ways to put charts on top of Excel data. They aren’t enough. BusinessObjects Cloud offers modern analytics and visualization that your users will love, all through the browser, all multi-tenant on the backend for scale and fully extensible to suit your unique needs. Beyond that, we include Planning capabilities, so there’s no need for products like Anaplan. Armed with this, users are able to investigate multiple business scenarios simultaneously, leveraging powerful business and financial models that run in real time all the time. My simple point is don’t waste your money on a bunch of little point solutions that you have to cobble together just because they are cloud. “Cloud” does NOT equal “integrated.”

As mentioned earlier, in February, we announced an exciting acquisition of Roambi to perfect our mobile BI offering, with the goal of bringing mobile analytics to everyone (this ties in with our very recent partnership with Apple to develop native iOS apps, and reflects the enormous value we see in making it easier for users to work on the go). If you’ll allow me a little latitude, I am going to just declare that Roambi is the best mobile analytics solution in the market today. Period. It has a 100% cloud infrastructure, so there’s nothing to deploy, and the client is available on the Apple App Store. This solution can be deployed in minutes and I have to tell you the data presentation and visualization are the best in the world on a mobile device. They are beautiful. SAP BusinessObjects Roambi is now available in the United States as part of the BusinessObjects portfolio, and as I said, will transform data from diverse sources into rich, interactive visualizations for users.

Innovations for On-Premise

Let’s face it, as much as we say cloud, a majority of enterprise data still resides on-premise, and it will stay there for a long time…especially in regulated industries like healthcare and finance. Customers running BusinessObjects Enterprise on-premise will have access to our streamlined packages that are super simple to understand. Those are:

  • BusinessObjects Enterprise Premium, a complete analytics offering of BI, mobile and predictive capabilities plus key enhancements in Big Data analytics (made possible by the addition of a 4-node starter package of SAP HANA Vora) to help analyze distributed big data across enterprise and Hadoop systems
  • BusinessObjects Enterprise Professional, which delivers a modern BI suite with reporting, visualization and discovery capabilities to enable users to easily uncover insights, and make better decisions
  • BusinessObjects Enterprise Standard, which provides a complete set of ad hoc reporting tools to offer immediate answers to all users via the Web, desktop, or mobile devices.

At Sapphire we are being really clear on what the equivalent packages are in the new model to what customers currently own. We will publish a website with more detail on that, but if you have questions you can send an email to SAP_Analytics@sap.com or tweet us at @SAPAnalytics.

I hope you can see the progress we’ve made in analytics to help you and your company be successful. We’ve been working hard to deliver the best, modern analytics in the market. When I look at those books I wrote years ago, more than anything, it reminds me that innovation is fleeting if it’s not constantly curated, and we will continue to innovate! I’m excited to usher in this new era of analytics with all of you, and I look forward to seeing how your organizations reach new heights with these powerful tools at your fingertips!

Steve

The platform for next-generation applications and analytics helps run processes and applications more quickly and efficiently. Learn how you can run simple across your business with SAP HANA here.

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