Webinar Summary – SAP BI 4.3 Official Release & Roadmap with Patrick Sims
Featuring Patrick Sims, Senior Director,
Platform & Technologies – Analytics, Global Center of Excellence, SAP
With the official release of SAP BI 4.3, SAP BI becomes a new, better integrated, and more hybrid-friendly platform. SAP’s Analytics Strategy is to enable the Intelligent Enterprise through enhanced connectivity and interoperability, as well as increased productivity through an enhanced user experience.
You can view the webinar on demand here.
SAP’s Patrick Sims joined APOS COO Allan Pym on June 25 to talk about what’s new in BI 4.3, and where it fits into SAP’s BI & Analytics strategy
Patrick started by noting that many of the slides in today’s presentation would be familiar, because development has consistently followed the SAP Statement of Direction presented at TechEd 2019. Consistent with that statement, the SAP BI Portfolio comprises two key solutions: SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP BusinessObjects. One of the objectives of BI 4.3 is to close the integration gap between these two platforms, making them a Hybrid force.
Drilling down to BI 4.3, Patrick noted that the new release was intended to expand, extend, and innovate for an improve the user experience, enhance enterprise readiness, and enable Hybrid connectivity. The message is that SAP continues to invest in on-premise BI, with Maintenance extended to 2027.
So, what are the innovations that BI 4.3 brings to market?
First, there is the new “Fiori-like” BI Launchpad, which gives SAP BusinessObjects a UI that emulates the Fiori technology available in SAP HANA, with tiles rather than folder structures. It’s “Fiori-like,” because it is not forcing you into HANA technology, but provides a similar, easily consumable user experience. The new BI Launchpad, which is available for preview in BI 4.2 (post-SP4), also provides direct access to SAP Analytics Cloud.
The greatest number of innovations are in Web Intelligence, which has been rejuvenated to provide improved self-service and agility through simplicity, as well as harmonizing with the SAP Analytics Cloud UI. There is one client for Web and desktop, used by both viewers and designers. It is an HTML5 client (no Java), Fiori-like and touch-ready. Its “trial” experience allows you to do “what-if” experiments with the look and feel of your reports, and with the data you are using. Light dashboards lower the threshold for users to create more compelling content.
The new Web Intelligence data model allows users to use existing Web Intelligence documents to generate new Web Intelligence documents, again lowering the document creation threshold for users, and allowing them to share their insights, but also enabling power users to leverage existing queries to create new queries, merge queries, and add variables for more refined data analysis.
Patrick also shared the Web Intelligence Roadmap, which promises responsive design improvements, templates, and greater Hybrid capabilities.
Patrick then played a video showing BI 4.3 features. The video was originally shown for the SAP Labs Preview at TechEd 2019, demonstrating once again that GA of BI 4.3 is consistent with the vision presented there.
Patrick described innovations in Live Data Connect 3.0, which will be able to use Web Intelligence as a source as of SP1 in Q2/2020.
You can now also consume Crystal Reports Calculations in SAC to build interactive visualizations
There are also improvements in Hybrid user management.
Improvements in Analytics Hub integration all BI content is available via the Hub, remaining synchronized and up to date automatically. Manual updates are not required.
There are numerous improvements in Enterprise readiness, including SAMIL 3.0 support
Connectivity improvements include new native data sources supported, and UNV Universes are still supported, but you are strongly encouraged to convert to UNX. (Note: there’s an APOS solution that allows you to convert UNV to UNX and automate repointing of your Web Intelligence reports.)
The products shipped with BI 4.3 do not include Explorer, Dashboards (Excelsius), or BI Widgets, as Adobe will stop supporting and distributing the Flash player shortly.
Patrick then spoke of BI 4.3’s role in extending SAP’s Analytics vision, which is for SAP BusinessObjects and SAP Analytics Cloud to work together, allowing you to leverage your investment in BI, and using SAP Analytics Cloud for innovative new use cases.
Patrick closed by recommending the SAP BusinessObjects BI Virtual Tour, available here:
The Virtual Tour also provides a means of sending feedback on BI 4.3 to SAP.
Allan closed out the webinar with information about APOS solutions that support your use of SAP BI 4.3, SAP Analytics Cloud, and Hybrid scenarios using both.
APOS Solutions for SAP BusinessObjects are, or will shortly be, BI 4.3-ready. Solutions include the aforementioned APOS Migrator for Web Intelligence, which automates the processes of converting UNV to UNX and repointing your Web Intelligence reports to UNX.
Allan spoke of the APOS Upgrade BI S3 philosophy, which encourages you to upgrade strong, smart and safe, and the APOS Upgrade BI S3 bundle, which brings together a number APOS technologies to help you achieve that strong, smart and safe upgrade.
Allan closed by drawing our attention to APOS Solutions for SAP Analytics Cloud.
The APOS Live Data Gateway and APOS UMMA solutions focus on Hybrid data connectivity and data modelling scenarios, while the APOS Publisher for Cloud and APOS Insight for Cloud solutions apply the lessons learned from the SAP BusinessObjects to provide bursting and system audit/monitoring respectively.
As Patrick noted during the Q&A portion of the webinar, there is no migration path to SAP Analytics Cloud, because the platforms are so radically different, but there is help finding ways to automate your Hybrid and migration processes.