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Author's profile photo Anita Gibbings

The What and Why of Project LAVA

I published a thought leadership blog back in August about Project LAVA and our agile visualization strategy. There were a number of questions brought forth by the blog so I’d like to address in a bit more detail the “what and why” and share an example built with SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards and one with SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio.

Why is SAP doing Project LAVA?

Project LAVA was inspired by visualization experts such as Stephen Few, David McCandless and Prof. Hichert but goes beyond the academic through adaptations to SAP needs and the frontiers of interactivity, multi-device distribution, and high system performance.  We hope that by providing demos and examples from the Project LAVA design language that we will inspire our customers to think about how to best convey their information clearly and enable better decisions and to gradually build it into the product as defaults and templates to encourage best practices. It’s intended to bring best practices for visual analytics consistently across the product suite; and in a form where more effective analytic components can be readily embedded within other applications.

Project LAVA is part of SAP’s agile visualization strategy. Agile visualizations that intuitively allow users to explore and present data, both big and small, drive real-time understanding of the business and by applying advanced predictive analytics to more information and processes across the enterprise we can confidently anticipate what comes next and guide better, more profitable, forward looking decision making.

What is Project LAVA?

Project LAVA is a design language or design vocabulary, it is not a new product or solution. Project LAVA goes beyond a simple set of UX guidelines to include precisely-designed components that are combined to achieve the broader Project LAVA effect.  This set of components, interactions, and spaces are designed so customers can choose to follow to help them convey information clearly.

Components will reside in these libraries and will be reusable, but Project LAVA is more than just a set of components. It also prescribes ways for these components to be combined and synchronized. Elements of Project LAVA will be built into some of the existing business intelligence portfolio to enable customers to design using the Project LAVA look and feel.

An example of Project LAVA – SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards

I’d like to illustrate a current example of Project LAVA that was built using SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 SP5. We can built most of a Project LAVA dashboard as the below demo shows but only the Lean Appearance is currently in default settings and there are some workarounds. To get you started here is a “how to” detailing how some of that was accomplished so you can use though techniques if you want. One thing to be aware of is that the use of the overlay charts slows performance so you need to take that in to account and not build dashboards that are already heavy.  It works on mobile device – you can watch a live demo (starts about 47 seconds in).

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An example of Project LAVA – SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio

With SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio v1.1, you are not able to implement all of the Project LAVA design principles but you can see from these two different demos some of the look and feel that you can already build.

Design Studio LAVA 1.jpg

Design Studio LAVA 2.png

I know that many of you have asked about the roadmap for Project LAVA. At this point it is too early to communicate what pieces might be coming when. But we would like to get a feeling for how many of you would be interested in using the Project LAVA design language.

You have 2 options to express your initial interest:

  1. Leave a comment on this blog post or
  2. If you want to be anomyous you can submit through this link

Please let us know:

  1. Your company name
  2. Which solution(s) you would be most interested in using project LAVA in (i.e. SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio, SAP Lumira, SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards etc)

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      Author's profile photo Jeroen van der A
      Jeroen van der A

      Hi Anita,

      great to read!

      My company is Interdobs the Netherlands

      I would be very interested in using the Project LAVA design language, main tool would be Design Studio, other tools come into play too as my perception of lava is that it is tool independent.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Anita,

      LAVA in every SAP BI-tool! Vote for this. )

      Please do not forget about Webi.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      LAVA looks nice. You've got my vote.

      What is Webi?

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Webi (Web Intelligence) provides flexable and intuitive adhoc reporting tools and analytical analysis of data. 

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Anita,

      This is good stuff. I would be interested in using the Project Lava design language.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Anita,

      Good Stuff. But looks similar to Tableau



      Author's profile photo Eric Blondin
      Eric Blondin

      Hi Anita,

      Would certainly use Project Lava mostly through Design Studio.


      Beyond Technologies (Canada)

      Author's profile photo Patrick Perrier
      Patrick Perrier

      Hi Anita,

      I'm definitely interested in learning more about Project LAVA.

      I work for a UK based SAP Partner (itelligence) and I/we are quite keen on seeing more for Design Studio!

      Thank you for this great post and the How To.

      Author's profile photo William MARCY
      William MARCY

      Hi Anita,

      I'm really interested in using LAVA language.

      I work for a company called Cosmos Consulting (French SAP GOLD Partner) focused on SAP Analytics and we're pure-player SAP BusinessObjects so...this project means a lot for me !

      Especially for SAP Design Studio, the new direction for Dashboard tools and of course Web Intelligence "the most-use".

      Thanks a lot.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Anita, I am very much intresred in using LAVA language.

      I work for a company Accenture Services PVT Ltd.

      I would like to know about all the solutions.

      Author's profile photo Christian Willig
      Christian Willig

      Hi Anita,

      Good to know about this initiative.

      I'm interested in using it through Design Studio.

      NTT Data Business Solutions, Australia.



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Anita,

      Inspiring initiative, Plans to use it in SAP Design studio and SAP Dashboards



      SAP Technical Architect

      National Grid. UK