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Author's profile photo Vikash C Agrawal

SAP Analytics Strategy: Finally getting it right?

It was all started with SAP taking over BusinessObjects and its integration with SAP portfolio especially SAP BW. First couple of years were spent of figuring out integration and communication to stakeholders on adoption and adaption of BusinessObjects set of tools. Once the dust settled question was What Next?

While SAP was still trying to answer this, competition was making in-roads into SAP landscapes. New age analytics companies / solutions including Tableau, Qlikview, and MicroStratgey were making waves with new age UI and data discovery capabilities. SAP did manage to come out with two key solutions one in dashboarding space i.e. Design Studio and one in Discovery space i.e. Lumira.

When launched, both Design Studio and Lumira were in pretty nascent stage of maturity and had their own set of problems. Design Studio had features capabilities but could not deliver on performance while Lumira did not stand a chance vis-à-vis competition in terms of features. While SAP kept trying for customer adoption of these new babies, competition kept adding to their lead. On top of that competition smartly moved to cloud with newer delivery models. Adding insult to injury was competitive pricing, who does not know Power BI’s predatory per user price (my own opinion).

While competition was keeping it simple, SAP customers needed to have BusinessObjects license and separate Lumira / Design Studio license (disclaimer: it may vary from customer to customer). This allowed lot of SAP customers to weigh Lumira / Design Studio vis-à-vis completion and customers using BusinessObjects went ahead with non-SAP solutions especially in Data Dashboarding and Discovery space. SAP’s Strategy should have been bundling everything together or let BusinessObjects / SAP remaining licenses be used for Design Studio & Discovery.

To overcome not so good reputation of Design Studio (performance) and to monetize marketing spend on Lumira, SAP brought in both Design Studio and Lumira under “Lumira Umbrella” with Designer & Discovery streams respectively. Meanwhile competition has already managed to invade On-Premise analytics market and built cloud capability & refreshing delivery models.


Realizing this SAP has just come out with its own analytics strategy (key points):

  1. Simplification of SAP’s Analytics portfolio: fewer solutions covering whole spectrum of analytics.
  2. SAP BusinessObjects shall be On-Premise & on Cloud solution.
  3. Lumira Discovery On-Premise ceases to have any major roadmap and Discovery piece of analytics shall be led by SAP Analytics Cloud, a cloud based analytics solution. Going forward Lumira shall be primarily Designer only as Lumira Designer continues to have defined roadmap.
  4. Mobility shall be part of SAP Analytics Cloud and one of the major focus area.
  5. Hybrid licensing covering both On-Premise and Cloud analytics solutions.
  6. Introduction of SAP Analytics Hub to provide unified analytics view across SAP & Non-SAP solutions, Cloud & On-Premise solutions. (you shall need a separate license for this)

SAP has tried to achieve following by new strategic direction:

  1. Customer looking for On-Cloud solutions need not look outside SAP and current licensing can be leveraged for Cloud as well. This shall ensure that captive SAP customers are not tempt to evaluate Non-SAP solution analytics solutions.
  2. With Extension of maintenance till 2022 (check with SAP for details) customers have sufficient time to leverage current investments and re-align their analytics roadmaps.
  3. SAP Analytics Cloud shall not be storing any data and shall use native solution’s security e.g. customers accessing BW4HANA / BW on HANA data using Analytics Cloud shall be able to access live data leveraging native BW4HANA security (i.e. no need to build security layer separately at Cloud).
  4. SAP Analytics Cloud is only available solution in market with capability ranging from Business Intelligent, Planning, and Predictive to App building and embedded analytics.
  5. With SAP Analytics Cloud and BusinessObjects on Cloud, SAP is able to deliver end-to-end analytics capabilities on Cloud.

Finally I could see SAP being proactive in an area where they have been playing catch up game so far. These are early days for SAP Analytics Cloud and it happens to have got right strategy and roadmap behind it!!!

(Please do read more details on

(Views expressed are completely mine and not of my organization. This article was first published on my linkedin profile 

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      Author's profile photo Carlos Weffer
      Carlos Weffer

      So much truth  said with just a few paragraphs. Spot on Vikash. Excellent blog.

      Author's profile photo Vikash C Agrawal
      Vikash C Agrawal
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks so much for your comment and taking time out to read my blog.

      Author's profile photo AMIT KUMAR

      Nice blog Vikas..very well written.The biggest problem is shifting of roadmap from one to other..if i am not wrong then first sap introduced Visual intelligence then sap business objects cloud and then focused on Lumira and again coming back to Analytics’s puzzling customers and very difficult for them to go with Analytics cloud or Lumira.


      Author's profile photo Vikash C Agrawal
      Vikash C Agrawal
      Blog Post Author

      You are absolutely right Amit. Change in road map is a challenge as well as an opportunity. Thanks for taking time out to read my blog.

      Author's profile photo Henry Banks
      Henry Banks

      Not really Amit, i think you’re conflagrating name-changes with release announcements..

      Let’s be honest: From about 2014, it was clear that Lumira (the artist formerly known as Visual Intelligence back in 2012/13) was in trouble from the beginning .. a lack of team server, a lack of biplatform addon etc. so

      since end of 2015 we’ve had a 2-horse race: a new software-as-a-service cloud? or legacy, on-premise, managed applications? a simple choice for customers to make.  

      Ok – the naming of Analytics Cloud as ‘business objects cloud’ during 2016 was a shortsighted marketing effort (thankfully reversed before too long..)  I agree, now that WAS confusing!

      Alas the subsequent DStudio ‘convergence project’ (2016/17) was still scheduled to deliver during this disruption, and so it came to be that Lumira Discovery had it’s last hurrah in 2018 just 6 months after announcement.

      I think the decision was pretty easy to take based on numbers. it’s also showing just how seriously SAP is transforming in order to stay relevant .

      Here’s my take on it: if the product hasn’t a Cloud-native architecture, if it isn’t based on a HANA codeline,  or if it isn’t using  SaaS delivery model – then it probably hasn’t got a future at SAP. we’ve essentially brought our 2020 strategy forward, because whatever we release “today” customers generally take 12-18 months to implement it. so, as disruptive as it is, “the future is now”.