As a consultant I’m responsible for the Analytics environment for an Innovative Company in Natural Chemistry and innovative in their IT. Recently I was forced to ponder on the post-Lumira question “ Now what ? ”.
Let’s start off by stating : I love HANA. Finally the laughter of the competition stopped and once again I felt the joy of modelling, almost feeling the data in my hands with real-time Analytics and faster background processing, virtual modelling with Calculation Views, SDA…
Finally, SAP Analytics all grown up. What a journey it was.
I have a confession to make..
I like(d) Lumira (Discovery).. a lot.. True, SAP changed its Lumira strategy a few times, radically forcing some early adopter customers a complete rebuild. But I liked it, a lot. The sharing, the ease.. happy business faces.. for at least two weeks, until they desired more features which were always promised in some future release.. but I believed.. and then the monthly releases stopped.. half a year later or so SAP announced it to the world, Lumira Discovery is no more.. and a few months after that they admitted that the adopted family member Lumira Designer will no longer receive new features.. also to die slowly somewhere in the (present) future..
So SAC is the new future as proclaimed by SAP..
Admittingly.. SAC looks and feels great.. already feels quite stable, mature even.. and again I hear the luring promise of future releases.. I see the smiles and eager look on the faces of my younger colleagues.. gobbling it all up. But I can’t help but think..
Should I jump on SAC.. will my customer be forced for to rebuild ? Cough up more money.. And now that we are allowed and even encouraged to connect directly to the database, my beloved HANA.. then why not look over the fence ? As in fact many customers do. Is the grass greener ?
With SAC, once again Webi is left to meander in the jungle of tools as a lone strong survivor with a strong following and seemingly without the full believe of its owners..
Not the youngest and sexiest of the pack, but still Webi, is a no brainer.. authorisations from BO CMC still apply, it is solid as a rock.. (except for some weird aggregation issue which pops up now and then). It is lightning fast if you use JDBC connection (instead of the hated XML/OLAP) and are willing to sacrifice the fancy Fiori visualisations which adds just enough milliseconds to take away the snappy-ness fun.
Webi, great for endless listreports that customers keep asking for despite our whishes.. great for dashboards.. and best of all license wise it is often part of your license while SAC is a substantial premium cost.
So. You pick up your tablet, you browse the market, do a POC or two and ask around for experiences.. Tableau, great but expensive. Qlickview, too much coding to be development (cost) friendly, some obscure lesser known tools like myReport, …
So there I was.. looking at SAC, PowerBi and the everlasting Webi. Three tools that do not necessitate local installations for users. With two large buckets of Analysis for Office Workbooks (based on BEx Queries) by my side.
Turn the wheel and place your bets place your bets..
Just the mere mention of the word makes customers almost jump up and down eager to start eager for training. And her is also a first pitfall : non-IT minded want to treat this as a personal toy, skipping all Governance and long fought for DWH-principles.
PowerBi is great.. as a Microsoft tool linked with your Active Directory Account, looks great, performance is great, when you take care of a number of attention points.
Functionality in connection with SAP should still improve a bit more. Governance has to be architected, I find it less ‘out-of-the-box’ and it takes thinking and planning.
All fun and games, but I experienced some speed bumps on this road and close to no consultants combine the skills SAP/PowerBi let alone on top of that have the ability to fluently communicate with business, infrastructure and others.
In a professional environment you need Pro, skip the free license intended for home use. The Premium is only for the very large companies. Only developers require the desktop version (to create connection with sources, .. ) consumers should have more than enough with the Cloud, with data being refreshed via your MS gateway.
A positive note : a lot of information on PowerBi is out there and the learning curve is fairly easy. A large userbase and years in row listed as top-right by Gartner.
Possibly I will write a follow-up post on my experiences with PowerBi in a mostly SAP landscape.
I’m eager to hear about your PowerBi on HANA / SAP experiences.
Last year, our colleague Nico wrote a blog post on how to use the Open Hub technology in SAP BW to export BEx Query results. This was a handy solution as there was no need to store any additional data in the system and the Open Hub system is easy to deploy and use.
The blog ended with a list of limitations that would prevent you to use certain queries as an Info Provider and thus are unable to be used as a source for data transfer via Open Hub.
At one of my previous projects we ran into one of these limitations: they wanted to export the data from a set of queries that contained two structures. Alas, we could not enable these BEx Queries as Info Providers and had to scratch Open Hub from our design card. Due to this set back, we went back to a much older SAP BW component: the APD or Analysis Process & Designer. This a workbench that can be used to analyse, create and execute analysis processes.
However old this technology might be, you are able to use almost all (older) BW components as data source: Characteristic attributes, DSO’s, tables, flat files…
Read more >
That is the deadline when you are running a BW version 7.4 or older. SAP will end the mainstream maintenance for older BW products and encourage companies to move to newer versions, preferably BW/4HANA. If you read this and find yourself in this situation, don’t panic. Politicians would say that it’s way past 5 before 12. Luckily, we are consultants and see a solution instead of a problem.Read more >
Before starting my career in IT, I almost never went to online forums. However quickly after starting my career as an IT’er I came across multiple forums/communities in which I became (and still am) active.Read more >