SAP SAPPHIRE and the ASUG Annual Conference were held last week at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. While most of the keynote action centered on S4/HANA and Hasso Plattner’s Boardroom of the Future (see related Fortune article), there were three key messages in the analytics booths on the show floor.
All Roads (Still) Lead to SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1
First, just in case you weren’t paying attention, all roads (still) lead to SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 (see my previous State of the SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 Upgrade from December 2014). With mainstream support for SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 and SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 ending on December 31, 2015, the race is on to get as many SAP customers as possible to the BI 4.1 platform. With the end of year quickly approaching, the time is now to get started on your BI 4.1 upgrade. SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 Support Pack 5 (SP5) is currently available (along with 5 patches) and Support Pack 6 (SP6) is still on track for mid-year. You couldn’t see SP6 on the show room floor, but it started showing up in “coming soon” slide decks from SAP presenters. I’m curious to see free-hand SQL support in Web Intelligence and UNX support in Live Office, among other minor enhancements. SAP is also starting to talk about SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 (see Tammy Powlas‘ blog entitled SAP BI Suite Roadmap Strategy Update from ASUG SAPPHIRENOW), but it most likely won’t be ready in time for the impending support deadline. Instead, you should think of BI 4.2 as a small upgrade project once your organization is solidly using BI 4.1.
SAP Design Studio 1.5
SAP’s second analytics message was about SAP Design Studio. I attended Eric Schemer’s World Premier of Design Studio 1.5 session (see Tammy Powlas‘ blog entitled World Premiere SAP Design Studio 1.5 ASUG Annual Conference – Part 1). SAP Design Studio is the go-forward tool to replace both SAP Dashboards (formerly Xcelsius) and SAP Web Application Designer (WAD). Version 1.5 adds several new built-in UI capabilities, OpenStreetMap integration, and parallel query, just to name a few innovations. If your organization is not yet ready to start using Design Studio, remember that a new version arrives roughly every 6 months. Depending on your organization’s own time table to begin using Design Studio, it might make sense to wait until the end of the year for Design Studio 1.6.
SAP Lumira on BI 4.1
SAP’s third key message to analytics customers was about SAP Lumira. SAP Lumira v1.25 is a really big deal. The Lumira Desktop (starting with v1.23) includes a brand-new in-memory database engine that replaces the IQ-derived engine. Starting with v1.25, this engine is also available for the SAP BI 4.1 platform as an add-on, bringing SAP Lumira documents to the BI 4.1 platform (see Sharon Om‘s blog entitled What’s New in SAP Lumira 1.25). No matter if you’re currently on XI 3.1, BI 4.0 or BI 4.1, you’ll want to plan for increasing the hardware footprint of your BI 4.1 landscape to accommodate the new in-memory engine, which runs best on a dedicated node (or nodes, depending on sizing) in your BI 4.1 landscape.
With BI 4.1 SP5, Design Studio 1.5, and Lumira 1.25, there are lots of new capabilities available for the BI platform starting today. And many more are planned for BI 4.1 SP6 and BI 4.2 over the next six to nine months. If you weren’t able to attend SAP SAPPHIRE in person, you’ll no doubt be hearing more on SAP webcasts and at the upcoming 2015 ASUG SAP Analytics and BusinessObjects User Conference, August 31 through September 2 in Austin, Texas.