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SAP BusinessObjects BI and SAP Analytics Cloud Best of Both Worlds Webinar Q&A

 

On September 22nd, we presented the webinar: SAP BusinessObjects BI and SAP Analytics Cloud: Best of Both Worlds.  A big thank you to all who were able to attend.  Here is a blog summarizing the webinar.

This blog contains answers to all the questions asked during the webinar.  We’ve grouped the questions and answers under topic headers and have consolidated some questions to make them easier to read.  We ended up with 59 questions in this blog.

Here we go.

 

SAP Analytics Cloud

Can SAP analytic clouds be as well as Sales used for another business functions such as Procurement, finance, HR? I mean, whether it can have such a great analytic value for these other functions too?

SAP Analytics Cloud can be used for any BI use case across the different Lines of Business and Departments of your business. You can see some more information here: https://www.sapanalytics.cloud/solutions/operations/

Are there any plans for Analytics Cloud in Private Cloud?

Today we have the SAP Analytics Cloud Public Edition and Private Edition.  Private Edition comes with a dedicated system per tenant and allows upgrades to system memory.

Is it possible to have a La Carte from Analytics Cloud, or does it have to be a complete package in subscription?

The licensing for Analytics Cloud only distinguishes between BI and Planning.  The main capabilities of SAC, such as analytics designer, predictive, and all business intelligence capabilities, are part of the BI license already.

Is the free trial also open to consultants?

The free trial is open to anyone with a professional e-mail address

Can we save or migrate the work from an SAP Analytics Cloud free trial to a paid tenant?

The content created in the trial cannot be kept past the trial period.

Does SAC come with multiple plugins? like Chatbot, Narrative Science etc.,

All SAP Analytics Cloud Apps and Extensions can be found here.

What’s the main difference between SAC and other Cloud BI tool?

SAP Analytics Cloud ​scales to meet the needs of diverse users and types of decisions (strategic, operational, and tactical) from shop floor to the top floor.

Augmented analytics use natural language and make machine learning and predictive capabilities usable for business users (no data scientist required​).

And lastly, no other vendor has business intelligence (BI), augmented analytics, and enterprise planning in one platform built for software as a service (SaaS)​.

What differentiate SAC vs Power BI?

Best connection to, and support of specific functions of, S/4HANA, BW and HANA.  Also, different approach on the smart features, and integration of planning, BI, predictive and custom analytic applications.

 

SAP Analytics Hub

Will SAP Analytics Hub also include Fiori Launchpad of S/4 ?

SAP Analytics Hub and Fiori Launchpad are two different products with slightly differing use cases.  Analytics Hub is focused only on Analytics assets whereas Fiori is focused on everything needed for a user by role – shortcuts to Apps, Analytics, etc.  Both products are separate and will remain separate though you may find similar features in both.

How does SAP position ‘Analytics Hub’, in view that ‘Catalog’ feature/functionality is available in SAC?  Why Analytics Hub if Analytics Catalog is delivered for free with SAC?

Some on-premise customers use Analytics Hub without Analytics Cloud. If you are using SAC, then Catalog is the way forward as it is included in the SAC subscription.

 

Augmented Analytics in SAP Analytics Cloud

Currently, the models behind natural language processing and other augmented features are all done by sap. Can these be modified or customized by our own data scientists?

Today, our goal is first to make predictive capabilities available for all types of users to leverage without the user having any prior knowledge of predictive.  So today, the models are built directly into SAP Analytics Cloud without the ability to modify.  In the future, we will consider opening this up and allowing customers data scientists to modify.

Will Smart Discovery support live Universe models in the future?

Yes, the plan is to support Smart Discovery for live BI Universe models in the future.  Please check our roadmap to stay up to date on what’s being planned.

Is this Smart Discovery supported for Direct connection/Live connection?

Today, Smart Discovery is supported only with Imported Data models.  The plan is to support Smart Discovery for live connections in the future.  Please check our roadmap to stay up to date on what’s being planned.

Are there plans to have Predictive and Prescriptive analytics?

Today, we have Smart Predict that allows users to model forecast, regression and classification. The vision we have for SAC is to allow users to do predictive without having to be a data scientist.  For data scientist personas, we have SAP Data Intelligence (DI) and you will see more integration between SAC and DI in the future.

There are no plans for Prescriptive Analytics in SAP Analytics Cloud at the moment, but it is under consideration for the future.

Is the Search functionality in Search to Insight based on the BI Universe? Or is it AI based?

Search to Insight is based on the conversational artificial intelligence capabilities of SAP Analytics Cloud.  Natural Language Processing interprets the question and SAP Analytics Cloud searches through the indexed metadata of data models to get the answer.

Search to Insight can be used against Live HANA, BW and S/4HANA models as well as all import data models.  It is not based on the BI Universe.  Learn more here.

Are all smart features available for both Live connections and imported data? SAP’s current focus on SAC feature development (e.g. smart insights/predict/discovery, augmented analytics, etc) is mainly on acquired data.  Will it be more balanced towards compatibility for ‘Live Connection’ data?

The augmented analytics features of SAP Analytics Cloud are called smart features.  Today, all smart features are supported for all imported data models but not all Live models.  We are constantly improving this, and as an example, smart insights will be soon supported for Live HANA followed by Live BW early next year.

Search to Insight is already supported for Live HANA, BW, S/4HANA and BI Universe.  Smart Discovery support for Live connections is also in the future direction.  Please check our roadmap to stay up to date on what’s being planned.

Once the user gets his insights with Smart Discovery, can he then copy some of those charts and add or delete dimensions within them?

Yes, the resulting charts and story are fully editable.

When you were using Smart Discovery, do you need to use SAP Analytics Hub?

The Smart Discovery functionality is 100% SAP Analytics Cloud with no other tools or products involved (except for the data source).  SAP Analytics Hub was not shown during the demonstration. My apologies if that was confusing.

 

Business Intelligence in SAP Analytics Cloud

Will Analytic Applications be available for Digital Boardroom?

It is in the future direction for SAP Analytics Cloud. Please check our roadmap to stay up to date on what’s being planned.

What about MS Office integration in SAP Analytics Cloud?  Is it the same functionality as Analysis for Office on BI Platform? A customer can move to SAC without any failure?

Today, we have two editions of SAP Analysis for Office (AO):  Standard Edition with BusinessObjects BI and SAP Analytics Cloud Edition that comes with the SAC subscription.

The main difference between the two editions is how you connect to your data and where you save your AO workbooks.  With Standard Edition, you can connect directly from your desktop or through BOE, but with SAC Edition, you connect through the Live Connections or models on the SAC platform.  Also, with Standard Edition you can save AO workbooks to the BI platform but today, you cannot save workbooks to SAC.  We do have plans to address this and allow saving AO workbooks to SAC in the future.  Most other capabilities remain the same. More information on the differences can be read here.

What kind of license is required for the recipient of a push report? Do they need a SAC license?

SAP Analytics Cloud scheduled publications can also be sent to recipients outside of SAP Analytics Cloud via email address.  These recipients would only receive a static version of the story in PDF or PPTX.  These recipients do not require any licenses.

Is row level security available in SAC?

Yes, row level security is available in SAC.  For Live connections, most customers use SSO to leverage the data security in place at the data source.

Does SAP really think SAC is able to cover 100% of the ad hoc reporting use cases today?

SAC is starting to add reporting features (built by the Web Intelligence team), but it will take a few years to cover the main use cases of ad hoc reporting. This is why most customers usually use both solutions – SAC for self-service analytics and dashboards, and Web Intelligence for high volume reporting scenarios.

In what sense SAC isn’t a use case for operational reporting as it’s already supporting S/4 connectivity?

SAC can be a great tool for operational reporting, but for customers looking at complex layouts, multiple pages, high volume of publications,  this does not address all the use cases previously covered by WebI. It depends on the details requirements when it comes to reporting.

Will SAP Analytics Cloud be as flexible in terms of look and feel than Web Intelligence is? (all options on colors, size etc… on tables, graphs,..)

This will take time, but there is now a plan in place to develop the key features and workflows of reporting – starting with scrollable tables, pagination, exact positions, etc… the font sizes, colours, are already pretty flexible in SAC.

We have Dashboards which is developed using Dashboard Designer after DEC 2020 does these dashboards run in BI Launchpad or do we need to develop that dashboards in Lumira?

It is unlikely your (Xcelsius) dashboards will continue to work after Dec 2020 due to Adobe Flash end of life. We recommend transitioning dashboard use cases to SAP Analytics Cloud if possible or rebuilding these dashboards in Lumira Designer or Web Intelligence.

Have all SAP BI Explorer features finally made it to SAC.  Flash support will be soon gone.

Most Explorer features have now made it over to SAC (including the ability to reorder facets, and sort them as you want).

Still missing ability to sort the Dimension in the Facets.  In SAC all Dimension are still sorted Alpha (A-Z), unable to change order. Will this be available soon?

Ability to reorder dimension facets in Explorer mode is coming soon.

 

Modeling and Data Connections in SAP Analytics Cloud

How does a data model compare to a BI Universe?

A data model in SAC is very light-weight semantic layer compared to a mature BI Universe that allows you to design star schema semantic layers.  At this time, data models based off of Live Universe data are more like reusable queries.  Watch this video to see what a data model created from a Live Universe connection looks like.

Live Data Connect helps you leverage your universes from SAP Analytics Cloud stories, and going forward, Data Warehouse Cloud will provide advanced modeling features for those who want to completely move to the cloud.

Can you blend datasets together when data resides inside BW on HANA and through a live connection?

There are two ways to do this – browser based blending for smaller datasets and SDI (Smart Data Integration) based data blending for larger datasets. Here is a blog on blending data with live connections by Ingo Hilgefort: https://www.sapanalytics.cloud/blending-information-part-1/

Any restriction on number of rows in data model ?

There are some restrictions on number of rows and columns imported at one time into SAP Analytics Cloud.  Visit this page for details.

What is the difference between the BI Semantic Layer (aka Universe) vs HANA semantic layer?

The biggest difference, is that the BI Universe is only a semantic layer that sits between the data and the BI tool (so no data is stored) whereas the HANA In-Memory Data Platform is a data storage and data management platform with its own semantic layer.

Is it possible to easily leverage the existing data models (HANA) and semantic layers (universes) in SAC?

Yes, you can connect to HANA Views and Universe semantic layer from SAP Analytics Cloud for data.

When can we expect Qualtrics real time integration to SAP SAC?

Today, we supported Imported Data connection for Qualtrics.  Live Data Connection may appear on the roadmap in the future. For more information on importing data from Qualtrics, visit this blog: https://blogs.sap.com/2019/08/14/analyzing-qualtrics-surveys-in-sap-analytics-cloud/

What integration does SAP Analytics cloud have with BW?

You can connect to your BW data from SAP Analytics Cloud via Live or Import data connections.

To learn more on this topic, please see this excellent blog series on SAP Analytics Cloud for SAP BW on HANA and SAP BW/4HANA by Adem Baykal.

See also this blog on using SAC Data Analyzer for Ad Hoc Analysis on BW Queries from Ingo Hilgefort.

How many different types of datasources can connect using SAC? Can you go over the data integration of NON SAP data sources for SAC. Is this out of the box or extra?

You can see a list of data sources supported natively by SAP Analytics Cloud on this help page.

Does SAP analytics cloud support live connection to SAP ECC EHP8?

SAP Analytics Cloud supports only Import Data Connection to 6.0 EHP 07 SPS 04 and above for classic SAP InfoSet queries and SAP Queries.

SAP advises to use Live connections for almost all of your usecases. Why are demo’s always based on imported data? It implies that performance is never a challenge, but in 90% of our Live use cases performance IS a challenge…

We advise Live connections for use cases requiring near real-time monitoring of business KPIs and metrics.  For use cases involving analysis leveraging augmented analytics, we advise the use of Import Data connections (although we are constantly improving our support for augmented analytics capabilities with Live Connections).  In the demo, I used an Import data model because of Smart Discovery.

Our support teams have found that, oftentimes, many performance challenges with Live Connectivity have more to do with the way the story is designed than with the Connection itself.  Here is a blog on Performance Best Practices for SAP Analytics Cloud.  Complex HANA Calculation Views has also been reported to cause performance latency.  Please contact our support team for further investigation.

How’s the overall performance connecting to On-Premise Universe ? Can you elaborate how it handles the latency and by-pass it using CORS?

The performance of a Live Connection to an on-premise BI Universe should show no latency (excluding general Internet latency issues).  Details on the mechanics of CORS (cross-origin resource sharing) can be found on our Connections Guide.

Is there any documentation provided explaining the way on how we can connect SAP Analytics to SAP ECC using ODATA ?

SAP Analytics Cloud supports data import from SAP ECC through the SAP ERP import data connection.  Documentation for SAP ERP import data connection is here.  Currently, we do not have SAP Analytics Cloud OData connection to SAP ECC documented.

Is there a configuration video for Live Data Connect 3.1?

There is currently no video but here is the installation and upgrade documentation for Live Data Connect 3.1.  Note that Live Data Connect 3.1 supports BI 4.2 SP6 and above. This means, from SAP Analytics Cloud, you can connect to a Web Intelligence document on a BI 4.2 SP6+ system and treat it as a data source.

Is there a way to have the whole view about the features differences between live or acquired data connections ?

Here is a wiki of SAP Analytic Cloud Features supported by Connection Type: https://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/display/BOC/SAP+Analytics+Cloud+Support+Matrix

 

Hybrid Analytics and Migration

How do you sync users and groups from BI 4.3 CMC to SAP Analytics Cloud?

Hybrid User Management leverages SCIM (System for Cross-Domain Identity Management) APIs to synchronize users and groups.  See help documentation here.

Is Hybrid User Management only available for BI 4.3 or backward compatible with BI 4.2?

Hybrid User Management is a new innovation and is available only with the BI 4.3 release.

For system compatibility reasons, if we adopt a hybrid solution of on-prem BOBJ and SAC, does that mean that our on-prem BOBJ system upgrades are constrained to the same timeline as SAC’s maintenance schedule?

No, there is no need to update the BOE system the same time SAC is updated. There are only minimum version requirements for the BI Platform such as being on BI 4.3 for hybrid user management or BI 4.2 SP6 for Live Universe connectivity.

There may be a need to update the Live Data Connect on-premise component used by SAC Live Universe connection to leverage new Live Universe enhancements. For example, Live Data Connect 3.1 (name of component that facilitates Live Universe connection) was just released so this would need to be updated on customer landscapes to support the latest capabilities of Live Universe.

Hybrid user management (BI 4.3) works with SAP BW user synchronization to BI 4.3?

Yes, hybrid user management can be used by BOE systems leveraging BW for their authentication. You would need to use the enterprise alias for the sync.

Can we migrate our on-prem universes into analytics cloud to deprecate the on-prem solution?

No, there’s no migration of universes to SAP Analytics Cloud available or planned. However, Live Data Connect helps you leverage your universes from SAP Analytics Cloud stories, and going forward, Data Warehouse Cloud will provide advanced modeling features for those who want to completely move to the cloud.

Any tools or utility to move Crystal or WEBi reports to SAC?

Not yet. Priority is to build the features in SAC before developing migration utilities

 

BusinessObjects BI

Upgrading from BI  4.2  SP6 to BI  4.3 -> Would that be considered a  Technical upgrade ?

Yes, mostly. This can be done in the same way as a support pack upgrade. The only consideration is regarding Explorer and (Xcelsius) Dashboards components that are no longer part of the package (any documents will remain accessible in the repository though)

We are on SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4.2 Support Pack 5 Patch 4. Are we good until 2024? How long this version is supported?

SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise 4.2 end of Priority 1 support is Dec 31, 2024.  However, keep in mind that we support only the last 2 support packs.  The latest BI 4.2 service pack today is SP8 so you will need to upgrade Service Packs in order to stay on a supported version.

See PAM for BI 4.2 here.

Is BusinessObjects sunsetting by 2027 or SAP is going to upgrade BO as on-premise reporting tool ?

Before the release of BI 4.3, the BI 4.2 was supported until the end of 2022, then got extended to end of 2024. The current version BI 4.3 has a maintenance timeline that ends in 2027. However, this is only the visibility we have at this time, and the maintenance timeline will be extended if we release a 4.4 version…  SAP will continue to enhance Web Intelligence and BI Platform in the next support packs of BI 4.3.

In BOE I am able to publish WebI-Reports via mail as pdf for example. Is it also possible to do something like this in SAC?

Publishing reports to pdf is coming to SAC (the schedule and export is already available but not as multiple pages). Paginated export to pdf is currently planned in Q1 2021

How is the underlying architecture in BI 4.3?

The underlying architecture of BI 4.3 has not changed much from BI 4.2. More details here.

 

Lumira

According the actual PAM, Lumira 2.4 will be supported only until Dec 2022. So is your statement until 2024 really valid?

For Lumira 2.4, 2022 is the end of mainstream maintenance and 2024 is the end of priority 1 maintenance.  See SAP Note: https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/2902872

Why isn’t Lumira Discovery listed under Data Discovery for BusinessObjects BI use cases?

While we still provide support for Lumira Discovery as part of SAP Lumira 2.4, we announced that the Lumira Discovery use case will be completely transitioned to SAP Analytics Cloud in 2018.  Therefore, we do not include Lumira Discovery for the Data Discovery use case in our presentations.

Will there be a Lumira 2.5?

There are no plans at this point for a Lumira 2.5 version. There will be patches and fixes to the Lumira 2.4 version in the next few years though.

The Lumira support through 2024 — is that Discovery, Designer or both? What version is supported later than 2024?

At this point both Lumira Designer and Discovery 2.4 will be supported until end of 2024.

 


This concludes the Q & A.  Learn more about extending your analytics capabilities with SAP Analytics Cloud by visiting this resource page.  See you next time!

 

 

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