Last week, I attended the three-day SAP BusinessObjects Cloud Pre-Sales Workshop at SAP’s Vancouver, British Columbia office. Terri Snell‘s team at SAP’s Mainland Street office were gracious hosts to a room full of eager North American partners, taking us through the current edition of SAP BusinessObjects Cloud (which receives updates every two weeks!), its roadmap, and it’s closely related cousin, the SAP Digital Boardroom (see my related article, Thoughts on the SAP Digital Boardroom).
Jayne Landry, Global Vice President & General Manager, Business Intelligence, kicked off our workshop with a welcome. Then we moved right into the serious stuff. We spent the morning on product capabilities and road map and the afternoon working through realistic hands-on exercises, building models for some of the key supported data sources (including Google Drive, SAP ECC, SAP BW, and SAP BusinessObjects UNX universes). On day two, we spent the morning building stories and the afternoon covering SAP BusinessObjects Cloud administration and security. We also got a close-up demonstration of the SAP Digital Boardroom and its virtual reality demo (see my related article, Thoughts on the SAP Digital Boardroom). On day three, we focused on the planning and predictive features that round out SAP BusinessObjects Cloud into a unique entry for the cloud-based analytics market.
As a consultant who has spent the last few years helping customers architect, install and upgrade the on-premise SAP BusinessObjects suite, the cloud makes me nervous. But today, SAP’s cloud offering and SAP on-premise offerings are largely complementary. Traditional on-premise data sources like BW and universes can be accessed, but there’s no Crystal Reports or Web Intelligence in the cloud. However, there are scenarios where a customer currently invested in the on-premise suite should take a look at using SAP BusinessObjects Cloud to support new initiatives or new users (potentially outside the organization) not currently served by on-premise BI. Organizations that need to mash up cloud-based data from SAP Ariba, SAP Fieldglass, SAP Hybris, SAP SuccessFactors, or Concur (with or without on-premise BW or HANA data) should definitely give SAP BusinessObjects Cloud a spin. The capabilities of SAP BusinessObjects Cloud are extremely fluid, with new features being introduced every two weeks. Keep in mind that a feature not presently in the product might be in place by the time you roll out an initiative.
During our workshop, we experienced chilly weather, even for Vancouver in June. I managed to pack an umbrella but forgot a lightweight jacket. If you’re coming to Vancouver, you’ll need both. Thankfully, Radim Bacinschi loaned me a jacket (and took me on a walking tour of downtown Vancouver). I found lodging near a SkyTrain station on the Canada Line because all of the recommended hotels near SAP’s office were booked. The SkyTrain Canada Line runs from the Vancouver airport (YVR) to the Yaletown-Roundhouse station (and beyond), making it easy to visit SAP without need for a rental car. I only came for the training, but next time I’ll plan an extra day to visit Stanley Park, Grouse Mountain, the Vancouver Aquarium, or take a charter on a sea plane.
If you work for a SAP partner in a pre-sales role, I definitely recommend attending a future offering of this workshop. The PartnerEdge portal and SAP’s YouTube channel have a lot of great content, but nothing beats having an live expert hold your hand through hands-on activities. If you are a customer, know that SAP is working diligently with its partner network to insure we are prepared to help you understand their full array of offerings, both on-premise and in the cloud.