Tag Archives: SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards

Emerging trends in the BI industry – SABOUC recap

By Norm Katz at Composite Apps.

SABOUC The ASUG SAP Analytics and BusinessObjects Conference (SABOUC) was held earlier last month, and, like every year, talk about future trends near and far dominated the three-day event.

We, Composite Apps, were at the scene with open eyes and ears, soaking up all the buzz and expectations SABOUC brings. Here is what we picked up from the conference.

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DesignStudio as a replacement for SAP Dashboards/Xcelsius?

xcelsius grim reaperAs you plan your move away from Xcelsius/SAP Dashboards (which, if you are not already doing, you really ought to get started) then I would recommend listening to a recent episode of the Diversified Semantic Layer Podcast* entitled “Is DesignStudio the Dashboard Slayer?”.

The question up for discussion was whether DesignStudio is a suitable replacement for Xcelsius / SAP Dashboards. Key quotes were:

  • “If [in DesignStudio] you want more than a single chart pointing at a single data source that doesn’t need to refresh or have any interaction … you need to write some sort of code”
  • “If you are a traditional Xcelsius developer I don’t know how you would get started with that”
  • “If you are a BX or BEx shop it makes a lot of sense to use DS, if you are not, good ******* luck for the time being”
  • “Turning all your Xcelsius developers into Design Studio developers; that is not going to happen for most customers”

So for non-BW users, that sounds like a resounding “no”! Continue reading

Why Lumira isn’t a replacement for Xcelsius

Coke v PepsiHave you ever been in a situation where someone’s tried to give you something you didn’t really ask for and tried to pass it off as the same thing?

You know, when you order a Coke at a restaurant and the waiter says: “We’ve only got Pepsi – that’s OK, right?” And you’re left having to say that it’s fine, but end up thinking it’s not what you asked for?

The same thing is happening if you’re being offered SAP Lumira as a replacement for SAP Dashboards (aka Xcelsius).

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3 reasons why SAP Lumira is not a replacement for SAP Dashboards (aka Xcelsius)

The natrual successor to SAP Dashboards?Almost a year ago we published a post which explained “Five reasons why SAP Lumira is not the natural successor to SAP Dashboards (aka Xcelsius)”, and further why we believe that our DecisionPoint™ product is a better way forward.

The advice in this post still holds true, and indeed the events of the last year have reinforced our viewpoint.

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Over 80% agree that XWIS DecisionPoint offers a viable alternative path forward from SAP Dashboards

SAP’s roadmap for SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (formerly Xcelsius) customers will see you move to SAP Design Studio, their new development tool for creating interactive dashboards and BI applications. For those who want to deliver end-user BI without coding, Antivia proposed an alternative approach, during a webinar we hosted yesterday.

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Limits on mobile SAP Dashboard data volumes and how to avoid them

Would you like great performance, off-line capability and 50 times more data in your mobile SAP Dashboards ?

Last week Sarah Gou from the SAP Dashboards product team posted an article on mobile best practices for SAP Dashboards. It is a good read with a number of pieces of excellent advice for deploying successful mobile dashboards. Continue reading

Excel – how much is too much ?

John Freeze over at C5Insight wrote a great post recently titled “Excel Overload How Much is Too Much”. I particularly liked his sign off from the blog:

“I use Excel nearly every day and will continue to do so … I also use my toothbrush daily, and while I could, I don’t try to wash my car with it.”

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Four dashboard design lessons from the BBC Weather site

Over the last two weeks I posted a series of articles which explained four key lessons which I believe the BBC Weather site teaches us about dashboard design and delivery. For those who didn’t have time to read all four posts in depth, here is a quick summary of what they covered:

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The final (HTML5) dashboarding lesson from the BBC Weather site

This is the third of three posts about the future of dashboards inspired by the BBC weather site. The previous 2 posts can be found here and here.

The final observation I am going to make about the BBC Weather site is that it is written in HTML and JavaScript. The reason this is important is that there is currently a lot of debate about whether HTML5* or native development tools are best for delivering to mobile devices. The fact that the BBC weather site is (as explained in the previous posts) an “interactive”, “big-data” dashboard, and is written in HTML/JavaScript seems to suggest that this is a technology that is suitable for mobile dashboard delivery.

As you would expect with all new technology debates there are strong opinions on both sides. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg recently said “The biggest mistake we made …  was betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native” which was then rebutted by Brightcove CEO (and one time Macromedia CTO), Jeremy Allaire who said, “Mark Zuckerberg was dead wrong, and it was shameful for him to throw HTML5 under the bus because Facebook had an outdated and poorly written hybrid app”.

This matters all the more for those of us interested in SAP products because SAP has nailed its dashboard flag firmly to the HTML5 mast. The most recent part of this strategy was the release of SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards SP5 which introduced an “export to mobile” capability which is based on HTML5.

For what it is worth, I am very much with SAP. To me, HTML5 seems an almost perfect delivery mechanism for dashboards. I was initially sceptical that it would be up to the job, but there is now pretty much overwhelming evidence that it is.

SAP has done a great job with its HTML5 export in Dashboards SP5 and as you can see from this video of some of the early work** we have done with SAP to embed the capabilities of our DecisionPoint product into this new world, the results speak for themselves; a completely interactive dashboard, with intuitive navigation around a 10,000 row data set, with better performance on an iPad than the equivalent dashboard running in Flash on the desktop. Proving beyond reasonable doubt that HTML5 is up to the job of rendering dashboards.

But the real value of HTML5 (at least compared with native development) is that it is cross-platform. This is particularly true of mobile devices where support for newer features of HTML is strong, but it is also true on the desktop where most browsers (with the exception of IE8 and before) acquit themselves well. With the use of personal mobile devices in organisations growing all the time (BYOD), being able to cater for cross-platform delivery of BI in general and dashboards in particular is vital, and HTML5 fits the bill nicely.

To explore this topic in more detail, join me for a Webinar on the 13th December, where I will discuss the (HTML5) future of SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (and DecisionPoint). Judging by the level of registrations for this Webinar (it’s already our most popular webinar ever, by some margin), it seems there is a huge appetite to learn more about this subject and hopefully hear how HTML5 will breathe a new lease of life into SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards / Xcelsius.

*Whilst it is not really correct to say HTML + JavaScript = HTML5, it does seem to have become commonplace so I have used the two interchangeably for convenience in this post. For those who are worried about the difference, just read “HTML + JavaScript” wherever you see HTML5 in the post.

** Whilst the mobile export in SP5 is generally available, the SDK required to embed third-party components did not make the first release, the capability shown in the video above is work we did with a proof of concept version of the SDK which SAP are refining for release in the next version of SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards.

This post also appeared on the SAP Communist Network (SCN) here.