The SAP Business Intelligence team attended the TDWI conference in sunny San Diego last week and was included in a BI vendor demo bake-off hosted by industry analyst Cindi Howson. Considered the Iron Chef of BI demos, the bake-off featured the top BI mega vendors, including SAP, Microsoft, and IBM/Cognos. Each vendor was required to showcase their best BI demos for a packed room of conference attendees. Each demo was based on a set of criteria using the adventure works data set. Here’s a recap of what SAP showcased at the bake-off and links to several great demo resources you can use to try BI for yourself.

Section 1: Company Overview

In this first section, vendors were required to describe the company view of BI and sweet spot including their position in the market and what was considered the sweet-spot either by application or industry.

What SAP showed:

We used the Business Analytics golden pitch slides for this section (no demo was required) and described how BI is part of a larger  vision for Business Analytics as well as how it fit with other strategic innovations such as mobility and SAP HANA. View the slides.










Section 2: Product Introductions, Look and Feel

In this section vendors were required to demo any recent enhancements, and give an overview of what’s new with the suite. The demo scenario was: How does a report consumer access and interact with a published report such as “Top 10 Internet Product Sales”? Show how such a report is refreshed with a user being prompted to filter by time and region. What can a report consumer do with this published report – can they change a table to a chart, re-sort, etc.

What SAP demoed:

We started within BI Launchpad, showing a number of different pre-built reports that a report consumer would access. We showed filtering and drill capability within a Webi and Crystal Reports and how a report consumer can adjust the report to fit their needs. We discussed new advancements with BI 4.0 for improved interoperability and ease of use across the suite of BI tools as well as enhancements for in-suite eLearning tutorials. We also went one step further and showed how report consumers can access reports from their mobile device showing the new mobile BI app for iPad. Watch the BI Launchpad demo here



Section 3: Query Capabilities from Multiple Data Sources

In this section vendors were asked to state the product solution for building queries and accessing data from multiple sources and if the solution is included in the suite. The demo scenario was; assume a customer regularly needs to combine sales quotas that reside in one database with detail sales in another. For demo purposes, you may copy data from sales quotas fact into either another SQL Server database or another database (Excel, Access, SAS dataset).

What SAP demoed:

We demoed a six minute overview of the new information design tool included with BI 4.0, showing access to multi-source information including mutli-dimensional and relational sources. We also showed how a information designer can create a business layer and publish a universe from this tool, a very powerful set of capabilities for the design and creation of information sources. Watch the video demo of IDT




Section 4: In-memory Capabilities

This section required vendors to showcase OLAP capabilities and in-memory solutions, describing what the in-memory strategy is and how it is integrated with the BI tools. The demo scenario was; assume a user is viewing summary Internet Sales by year and country. They want to drill into day and city, how does this look and work? Has the data been replicated into an OLAP database? Specifically show drill down with a ratio of this year versus last year dynamically added to the analysis. Also show a customer ranking.

What SAP demoed:

For this demo we decided to showcase our BI tools on top of SAP HANA. We started with drill capabilities on BIG data (123 million records) with Webi on top of SAP HANA. We continued by showing data exploration on BIG data (123 million records) on top of SAP HANA with Explorer, showing sales amount by region by month/day all on the fly (navigating through data in 2-3 seconds or less), extremely powerful and lightening fast. Watch the demo Explorer on SAP HANA



Section 5: Dashboards

The dashboards section required vendors to state the product name/solution and if it’s included in the suite and/or how packaged. The demo scenario was to briefly show a finished dashboard and interactions with the dashboard, pick a visual or capability that you consider unique to your product and show how a user builds a dashboard.

What SAP demoed:

A started with a pre-built dashboard and provided a quick overview of how to design a dashboard within the Xcelsius design tool. We then showed additional dashboards on the site including the Baseball dashboards and Twitter sentiment analysis. Download this pre-built Dashboard and try it yourself














Watch Baseball Dashboards Demo

Try Baseball Dashboards Demo




Watch Twitter Analysis Demo

Try Twitter Analysis Demo



Section 6: Wild Card – Mobile BI

This section was a wild card topic, the audience chose from a list of demo topics the demo they wanted to see most. Possible demo topics included: analytic apps, EPM demo, predictive analytics, production reports, management of the BI platform and mobile BI. The Mobile BI topic was chosen for this section.


What SAP demoed:

We were very excited that Mobile BI was chosen for this section as we had a number of demos to show all via mobile devices. We started with an overview of Mobile BI on the iPad, then transitioned to Explorer for iPad showing geo-location integration with Google map and data exploration with Explorer. We finished this section off with a sneak preview of Exploration Views, the next generation of Explorer, shown on both the iPad and BlackBerry PlayBook.


Watch Mobile BI demos

Download Mobile BI for iPad and Explorer for mobile on the apps store today



Section 7: Cool Stuff and Futures, the WOW demo

In this section vendors were allowed to show anything related to cool, exciting, and futures.


What SAP demoed:

We started with section by showing a demo of text analytics on top of SAP HANA, We then closed this section by showing Event Insight on the iPad with a real-time alerting solution integrated with Google maps and live streaming data all from a mobile device.



Other demos we didn’t show:

Here are some of the other demos we had lined up but didn’t have a chance to show including:

–          EPM on BlackBerry Playbook – watch the demo

–          Exploration Views on BlackBerry Playbook – watch the demo

–          Cool stuff – Dashi, building dashboards with your fingers

–          Predictive analytics – Retail Affinity Analysis demo

–          MS Office integration – watch the demo of analysis within Excel


Additional resources

–      BI 4.0 elearning tutorials on the SAP Community Network

–      Stay connected by following the Business Analytics blog –

–      Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

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