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Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas

BI 2014 Design Studio and Dashboards – Looking to the Future

SAP’s Global Center of Excellence provided this presentation today, discussing both Dashboards and Design Studio.

SAP said Xcelsius has drawbacks. It started as an end user tool, click, drag and drop – easy to use; users wanted more.  As user needs to change, tool became sophisticated. Sophistication = complexity.  Tool has a good user experience but not enough for IT – design becomes more complex.

Moving to a different user experience in terms of design and consumption

With “Agile visualization” users are empowered to tell their own story.  With self service they can consume data that they need “on the fly”


Figure 1: Source: SAP

As Figure 1 shows you move from static view on left to applications on the right.

With Design Studio there is “Less limitation on pulling back an entire dataset, custom branding and styles”

The application side is for customization

The upper right of Figure 1 shows three areas in portfolio

SAP said today that “Design Studio is the future of dashboarding for SAP”

They also said “this is not end of life for Xcelsius”

Why so many tools? Through acquisition


Figure 2: Source: SAP

Xcelsius creates instantly compelling visualizations; biggest drawback was amount of speed it brings back data.

It is difficult to get a lot of data in Xcelsius and have it have acceptable performance

SAP BEx Web Application Designer is tied to BW; it could handle massive amounts of data.   It does not have ability to create compelling visualizations

It needed more interactivity, mobilization

SAP needed the technology to mobilize Flash, and performance with BEx WAD

How to move forward and tool that worked with both sides required a “complete re-architecture” to provide good design experience


Figure 3: Source: SAP

With Dashboards SAP began by mobilizing components with new HTML5 rendering engine, starting with BI4 SP5

SAP then introduced Design Studio for BW and HANA.

The first release of Design Studio was entirely HTML5, with every component is mobilized in Design Studio

Not every component is mobilized in XCelsius

Today we are In the Visualize stage, of Figure 3.

The future is one tool for building a dashboard but it is not Lumira, not self-service

There are “No plans to end of life Xcelsius but it will be put into maintenance mode at some point”.  Updates to BI4.1 will protect it

SAP “does not want anyone to abandon investment made”

“New functionality and features will only happen in Design Studio” said SAP

Now focused on tablets and phones because you don’t interact with phone like tablet.  Phone is small and form factor and interactivity

Design Studio uses HTML5 exclusively – desktop and mobile


Figure 4: Source: SAP

Design Studio includes universe support; it is a different approach than XCelsius

SAP said to “think about long-term ramifications of this; XCelsius relies on Excel – do not want to bring in a lot of data and calculations due to speed”


Figure 5: Source: SAP

If you don’t want to create SDK, talk to partners

If you have a need for visualization/widget you can do this with the SDK

Another partner is doing geomapping

Another partner adds commentary

Another partner allows you do use Xcelsius in Design Studio (only works with HTML5 content) – next release they plan to use SWF files


Figure 6: Source: SAP

Figure 6 shows where at with the Roadmap (subject to change) and where planning to be in few months

Middle column is what is planned for 1.3

Third column is for inclusion in later release

Note that this is the current state of planning

With 1.3 it includes planning for BW and write back

SAP is considering a HANA native deployment option – deploy to HANA

Release 1.3 includes charting – 120 chart types available from CVOM –

SAP has added conditional formatting in charts

Support is planned for Lumira visualizations

Version 1.3 will have application bookmarking and visualizations – work with data, analyze it – “come back to where you were” – capture as a URL to send to your team

Design Studio 1.3 has a Fiori-style dashboard

The Future

Future is 1.4 and beyond.

For the BW side includes RRI support, with interactivity features from BEx WAD – closing the gap

SAP plans to offer offline views, migration tools, improve interoperability with Lumira.  This includes building apps from Lumira Data Sets, building a Design Studio app from a Lumira Storyboard.  This does start to blur the line for self-service & dashboarding & apps

Resources provided by SAP:

Dashboarding Strategy and Statement of Direction

Executing on the Statement of Direction

SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio Tutorials

Official Product Tutorials – SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio 1.x

SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio Community

SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio


Figure 7: Source: SAP

Towards the we ran out of time to cover this but it is an important slide.

Design Studio is covered at ASUG Annual Conference – it s also part of the ASUG hands-on pre-conference session:

SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1, SAP BW, and SAP BW on HANA – All in One Day June 2nd

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      Author's profile photo Mustafa Bensan
      Mustafa Bensan

      Hi Tammy,

      This is a very timely post and certainly provides more clarity around the points raised in the recent What is the future for Dashboards discussion.  Thanks for the detailed write-up.

      I do have one question, more out of curiosity.  You mention that "Design Studio 1.3 has a Fiori-style dashboard".  Can you shed some more light on what we can expect?  Does it mean that the standard Design Studio components will all be styled according to the Fiori look and feel, or is there going to be an entirely new dashboard component with the Fiori look?



      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas
      Blog Post Author

      Mustafa - great question, but unfortunately the session didn't get into those details.  To me it looked like the Fiori look and feel

      Hopefully we'll get more details soon.

      Author's profile photo Emanuel Schellner
      Emanuel Schellner

      Hi Tammy,

      Thanks for the info!

      did they mention how the consolidation of the Dashboard tools is supposed to take place? I only read it will be" one tool for building a dashboard but it is not Lumira, not self-service". Did they shed more light into what that they actually plan?



      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas
      Blog Post Author

      Unfortunately the session ran out of time and there was no time to get into those details.  Later in the week at BI2014 they said we would hear / learn more later in the year (likely after Design Studio 1.3 release - my guess only)

      I hope to learn more at ASUG Annual Conference in early June as well.

      Author's profile photo Marius Reck
      Marius Reck

      Hi Tammy,

      thanks for all that information.

      For me it's not clear enough, on how to bring the BI data (design studio) to the enduser.

      Is there a way, to integrate it as a Fiori Tile?

      We have rolled out Fiori and now the users ask how they can access all their BI-reports.



      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Marius - I am not a Fiori expert but you can experience Fiori with BI by trying it out in the SAP CAL Library free trials like I did here ERP on HANA Trial Experiences - includes BI, Fiori, Lumira Server and More

      I know Lumira integrates with Fiori

      See Trial and Developer Offerings with SAP Cloud Appliance Library

      Author's profile photo Marius Reck
      Marius Reck

      thanks, will try that out...

      do I understand it correct, that design studio creates an iview?

      do I have any other options? like plain HTML5?

      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas
      Blog Post Author

      I haven't used BW with the portal in years but Design Studio can deploy to BW and I understand that there is a Design Studio iview

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Great info as always, Tammy!

      The future is definitely unification and I agree with SAP to simplify the tools.

      BTW Is there any info how to migrate from WAD to Design Studio?

      Is a mass conversion of WAD templates possible?



      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Jürgen Noe

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Please see SAP Roadmap (SMP logon required) at - migration is a "future direction" meaning planned some time after next release, with no definite time given.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Tammy,

      Thanks for the great post.

      We are planning to migrate SAP WAD templates to design studio. Is the feature of conversion available from 1.5 version onwards? Can you please let us know?



      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas
      Blog Post Author

      Laxmi - please see the latest roadmap at - conversion is not planned