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3 tips to survive as a SAP BI consultant in 2016

If you have read my post “3 tips to survive as a SAP BI consultant in 2015” from January 2015, you have to admit I was not far off on my predictions:

  • Analytics indeed are now full integrated at Business Suite. That is true for Business Suite powered by SAP HANA with SAP HANA Live, Smart Business, Smart Business Executive version, etc. and it is even more true when it comes to S/4 HANA. As you probably know, S/4 opens a whole new prisma of possibilities when it comes to combine transactional and analytics. You can see a post about it here.
  • SAP BI was never and will never be about tools. You have probably see the discussions about tools simplification and how the roadmap looks into the future. The idea is to have less tools, consolidate investments and have a better product as consequence.
  • BW did not die and will not die any time soon. I understand we still have apocallipse prophesies in place about a time when no Data Warehouse and no SAP BW will be required but the cold truth is when it comes to harmonize data from different sources, when it comes to large historical data and when it comes to integration to data lakes, we still need good old SAP BW.

It then raises the question: what to expect for 2016? Or more to the point: 3 tips to survive as a SAP BI consultant in 2016. First of all, a little bit of context:

  • 2015 was a very busy year, full of novelty – S/4 HANA, SAP Vora, Cloud for Analytics (C4A) and Digital Boardroom were officially announced
  • SAP confirm its commitment on delivering Cloud sollutions
  • We could see clearly SAP customers and partners adopting and embracing the Digital Transfomation

With that said – and without further delays – here are 3 tips to stay on top of your game in 2016:

  1. Understand Big Data beyond buzz words. Yes, I know, Business Intelligence and Big Data are not the same thing. However, as much as companies move into a higher mature stage, those companies will perceive more and more the value data driven discussions and decisions can bring into the organization. With that in mind, soon we will all be discussing how to integrate internet navigation logs, sensor data, monitors data, images, video, voice and etc. to our Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) and how to show in the same report how navigation patterns impact our sales numbers, for example. In that kind of scenario, as a SAP BI consultant you must be ready to dig into SAP HANA Vora, Hadoop integration and also SAP HANA Data Warehouse Foundations. After that, if you still have some time, it is worth to check out how to get different types of data in real time or near real time into a EDW or Big Data environment.
  2. Learn how new (maybe not that new) tools and concepts fits in your current or future BI architecture. When SAP Lumira came out, with its great self exploratory power I have seen many people holding to it as if it was a binary discussion: either you have Lumira (and use it for everything from self exploration to Dashboards) or you did not have SAP Lumira and then you were outdated. Truth is when it comes to BI we are talking different shades of blue (that is SAP after all). It is up to us to help our customers to adopt the new solutions, tools and trends yet preserving all they have invested so far. It is about how to evolve their current environment, capabilities and value. Besides SAP Lumira, I see there will be a lot of discussions about SAP Digital Boardroom – which by the way – is 100% Cloud solution and can be integrated with every customer on premise implementation.
  3. Stay tuned and stay hungry. As we already know, changes are frequent and necessary. New solutions, new tools, new needs and more fun. Stop learning and keep pushing to your customers (internal or external ones) the same SAP BW or SAP BO projects, over and over again is not a recipe for success but for retirement.

Any other tip you would like to share? Leave a comment or reach out to me.

All the best

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  • Eduardo,

    I think that we need to add one topic: enterprise architecture. a BI consultant will need to see BI Architecture from a wider point of view, and look for simplification and shorten data flows from source to analytics.

    • HI Mauricio

      thanks for commenting. That is indeed a very important point and a valid one as well. As I see it, enterprise architecture and also other related strategy/architecture topics are more linked to a Architect type of role and not necessarilly to a consultant. thanks for the contribution.

      best regards

  • Thanx Eduardo Sir for guiding us. This is indeed a very informative post and i am definitely going to learn about all these things which you mentioned here. I am a certified SAP BI consultant, associate level.



    and please do guide us in future as well that how can we upgrade ourselves?

  • Hi Eduardo,

    Well said, got to know some new tools on the way. Yes I too agree that the Big Data , HANA with Hadoop integration a clearly insights of it.

    To my learning , understanding and little to show case my self . I need to create a prototype kind of model with HANA + Hadoop integration. Can you please suggest me the links/documents/ways to explore myself to desire it.



  • Hi Eduardo,

    It was a very interesting post. I was very much focussed only on SAP BW all these years.

    Gonna start digging into the topics that you had mentioned.



  • Hi Eduardo, thanks for sharing your experience.

    SAP BI is not my module, but in my SAP Hana studies, I´m understanding that Business Inteligence concepts will be desired for consultants from all modules. Is this your view too?


    • Hi Cristiano, thanks for your question.

      As I see, SAP BI is more a concept or a practice than a module and in that sense, you are right. Clearly, we don't need everynody a technical/funcional expert in SAP BI but what we do need it a SAP professional that is able to understand the process involved on his or her expertise area and understand which decisions and analysis could be derived from there. With this, we could have embedded BI, real time analytics or more complex needes to be addressed for specialized consultants.

      BI is never and will never be only about technology, it is mainly about business needes and strategic aligment. I believe my previous article is still valid in that sense and I'd like to invite you to take a look: Five most common mistakes in a Business Intelligence project

      best regards


    • Cristiano,

      I would like to add an important view to what Eduardo has mentioned: S/4HANA.

      One thing S/4HANA will change is that BI will be closer to transactional, that means every non-BI consultant should learn about how analytics will impact their module, how S/4HANA will add analytics and even predictive capabilities to transactional.

  • Eduardo, great post.

    Playing Devil's advocate here, I wonder why after I read "It is up to us to help our customers to adopt the new solutions, tools and trends yet preserving all they have invested so far", there is not mention for old fashionXcelcius (is death already?), neither for the exploration tool Explorer, nor the almost new Design Studio.

    Do you see any changes -for better- in SAP world during 2016 for those tools, considering that perhaps many customer already purchase and not are using those in full swing.

    If you search in job posting for tools like those, there isn't that much to browse. Any comments?


    Reinaldo Nunez

    • Hi Reinaldo

      Many thanks for your question. I was not my intention to discuss tools, I was rather focusing on skills and concepts and that is why I have chosen to mentioned only a few tools.

      Anyway, more to your point: since 2014 we know SAP is working on a convergenting roadmap to its BI tools, there is a brilliant article from Tammy Powlas talking about that. You can find it here: SAP BusinessObjects BI Strategy and Roadmap Call Notes, Question and Answer

      On that article, Tammy shows a picture showing, for example, that SAP BusinessObjects Dashboard (new name for Xcelcius) will - in the future - be replaced by SAP BusinessObjecs Design Studio and it shows the same with SAP BusinessObjects Explorer and SAP Lumira.

      Clearly, Explorer and Dashboards are still supported but roadmap is clear on new developments.

      I personally believe it is a very important discussion to have in each and every customer: who are our customers? which kind of information do they need? how do they need it? and based on that, a matrix of which tool to use, when and to whom.

      Best regards