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Hybrid Analytics Way Forward from SAP

Worldwide lot of Customers across industries invested in SAP BusinessObjects. These customers are having investment in Semantic Layer,Dashboards,Complex,Regulatory & Compliance reports and they are heavily using on premise infrastructure. They also put humongous efforts and $$ in deploying BusinessObjects. However, for new applications and new projects, the clear trend is that spending is moving towards the Cloud as Cloud offers lot of flexibility and cost savings. In order to protect on premise investment ,SAP made commitment and recently release SAP BI 4.3 which will be supporting till end of 2027 . As statement of direction from SAP ,SAP Analytics Cloud(SAC) is going to be de facto tool for choice for customers however SAP has invested in BusinessObjects as well to have smooth transition from on premise to Cloud. For customers it will be enormous task to move away from on premise to cloud.

With Recent release of SAP BI 4.3 ,few key areas are

  • User Experience – a new WebI report designer and consumer merged interface, complete functionality of new BI Launchpad (Fiorified) and enhancements to key BI suite components.
  • Platform Innovation  – enhancing scheduling & publishing frameworks, simplifying installation and deployment and security enhancement as well as support for new age big data sources.
  • Hybrid –Customer will be to leverage existing on premise assets such as universes and WebI documents. There are also simplifying SSO configuration and providing user management across cloud and on-prem platforms and improved integration with Analytics Hub.

SAP’s Analytics roadmap centers around SAC and SAP is  providing a journey for SAP Business Objects customer to embrace SAC. SAP is not recommending BusinessObjects customers to  move from on premises investment entirely to the cloud  but  rather extend the right use cases to the Cloud as they make sense.

In Last decade Analytics landscape changed significantly. Analytics was mainly focusing on Enterprise reporting. Reporting was on historical data ,mission critical reports with time bound SLA, scheduling report on month end either via email or SharePoint or shared drive. All these reports were developed by IT serving to Business .Afterwards there was need of Self Service reports where Business users created reports and IT was supporting it .However the missing part was hidden insights into data  and recently the focus was shifted on Augmented Analytics. With the vast amount of data we now have access to, the intelligence we can gather is unlimited. With rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), industry analysts see the next wave of analytics, enabling businesses to make accurate  decisions and get deeper insights into data. SAC is having built in Augmented Analytics capability and with SAP BusinessObjects ,customers can leverage SAC Augmented Analytics to get deep insights into their data. As more and more customer wants to find out deeper insights of their business  data , we need to recognize that the analytics landscape is changing. SAP is addressing all of these changes with hybrid strategy to deliver the insights that matter in this changing world.

Now we know what has changed in the world of Analytics, let’s explore SAP Analytics Cloud itself and learn more about what is in this product. SAC isn’t just a BI tool, it brings together BI, Planning, Predictive, Analytic Applications and Augmented Analytics together so users  can see actuals, predict the future and manage resulting plans all in one Cloud Environment.

Some of the Key features of SAC

  • Business Intelligence –enables self-service data exploration. SAC provides self-service analytics capabilities to a much wider audience than ever before.
  • Enterprise planning capabilities with process and workflow.
  • Predictive  – Smart Predict guides users  to create a predictive model based on historical data. The resulting model can be used to make trusted future predictions, providing users with advanced insights to guide decision making.
  • Augmented Analytics – Users can provide automated data exploration, Natural language interaction with data, Simple predictive modeling and Automatic detection of data correlations
  • Analytics Applications Users can also build out Analytic Applications that can be embedded into a specific business process.
  • Additionally, SAC is being embedded in SAP’s Cloud Suite.

Overall Hybrid Analytics strategy allows Customers to gradually move to Cloud with minimal disruption while safeguarding their investments in on premise sources. Existing SAP BusinessObjects customers can explore  SAC  in their own way  pace. Every customer is unique and they will have different priorities while exploring SAC . Some of  examples for BusinessObjects customer looking at a Hybrid strategy.

  • Impact of Adobe Flash going out of support in 2020. Customers who are having investment in  BO Explorer or Dashboards (Xcelsius)  should move these into SAC. They can use SAC Explorer and SAC Stories as replacement
  • Existing BusinessObjects customer leveraging the Cloud to take advantage of the augmented capabilities that are not available in their on- premise tools.  With SAP BI 4.3 ,customer can leverage existing Universe (live or import connectivity)as well as Webi Model data to expose the on premise data into SAC. These customers who are  investing in SAC for the new capabilities should explore Augmented BI, Predictive, Digital Boardroom and more. They are not replacing any existing on premise tools in premises tools, but use them together with minimal impact to existing systems.  Customer can also leverage Analytics Hub provides a integrated view of BI content  whether it’s on premise or in the cloud.  It’s an easy way for business users to find BI content from central web portal.
  • Customer is having large investment in BusinessObjects but wasn’t using all of the licenses it was paying for. They have purchased Tableau/Power BI  to explore visualization and analytics capability. These customer can explore SAC for visualization and they can work with SAP and convert unused BusinessObjects licenses into SAC
  • Customers are having SAP Lumira in their landscape. They can replace Lumira with SAC for better user experience and visualization capabilities
  • Existing SAP BusinessObjects customers with  SAP BW,SAP BW/HANA ,S/4 HANA ,SAP HANA in their landscape. They have started using Qlik in their landscape. These customers are paying the license cost to connect from Qlik to SAP HANA. These customer can start exploring SAC to get native connectivity benefit as well as reduced TCO
  • Extend to Cloud with deployment flexibility. There are many ways available today to take advantage of the cloud to lower costs: either infrastructure or  operations or  application costs. Customers can have their data on premise. However they can use Private Cloud (IaaS), where customers can host BusinessObjects Enterprise on
    • SAP Cloud Platform
    • AWS/Amazon Web Services
    • Google Cloud Platform,
    • Microsoft Azure as well as 3rd party hosting providers.

In this case, customer can use your existing BusinessObjects licenses, it’s called as  BYOL – bring your own license. SAP can provide BusinessObjects licenses in a subscription model. The benefit of this model will be for customers who don’t want to manage their infrastructure internally and offload those costs to a hosting provider. Customers would still need to  administer and upgrade their BusinessObjects Enterprise in this model, however, SAP does provide a managed service offering to help customers with the administration and upgrades of  BusinessObjects.

To summarise,SAP isn’t alone in focusing on the Hybrid Analytics strategy. Most of the BI/Analytics customers will include a mix of on premise and cloud resources and these customers think Hybrid Model is a critical next step in their evolution.

SAC will help existing BusinessObjects customers evolve by delivering Automated Insights through the use of Augmented Analytics. Revisit  your current on premise landscape  for Hybrid and start your journey into the cloud.

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  • Thanks for coming up with this blog Niranjan, this is excellent summary and very useful for the customers having investments in SAP BusinessObjects and also to the customers looking for right direction on Analytics strategy.

     

    Regards, Venkat.