Some time ago, we were involved in an SAPinsider Q & A event with the title “Will Your Web Intelligence Journey Lead You into Lumira?” The session featured numerous SAP subject matter experts providing live answers to questions from an online audience. This format proved to be an excellent means of getting input and insights on key topics from both the SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence and SAP Lumira teams.

After the online session, we touched base with these SAP subject matter experts so they could expand on their answers where they felt it would be beneficial.

The title of the online session provides our first expansion: if one solution might lead you to the other, are the solutions complementary or mutually exclusive? This question led us directly into the SAP convergence strategy for SAP’s BI platform. As the slide below shows, SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence and SAP Lumira serve different purposes in the streamlined BI platform that is emerging. So the answer seems obvious: SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence is for reporting and SAP Lumira is for discovery and analysis.


Where Lumira and Web Intelligence Fit in the SAP BI Convergence Strategy
Source: “Run Simple: Convergence of the SAP BusinessObjects BI Product Portfolio”

But not so fast. When we drill down, we always find points of overlap between solutions. As Adrian Westmoreland from SAP told us:

Web Intelligence being the Swiss army knife of BI tools, it does everything reasonably well. Lumira will not replace Web Intelligence, but it will evolve to assume some of the use cases that are not in the Web Intelligence reporting sweet spot. It will simply be easier for users to adopt Lumira for these use cases than to try to force them into Web Intelligence workflows not designed to handle them. Lumira opens up so many possibilities for user interaction that are just not there for Web Intelligence reports.

You can do many things with SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, and if all you are going to do with SAP Lumira is to create graphs and charts, you might just as easily use SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence to build them. However, SAP Lumira has visualization data preparation, composition, and layout capabilities that go beyond what are available in SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, allowing you to accomplish some of the tasks you would normally perform in SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence more quickly, more easily, and with more flexibility.

The Future of SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence and SAP Lumira Interoperability

If SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence and SAP Lumira are meant to be complementary, it makes sense that there should be a high degree of interoperability between the two. Clearly, the solutions are different, serve different purposes, and one will not replace the other, but how will we be able to use them together for more efficient and more effective workflows?

Interoperability is key to this efficiency and effectiveness. It is desirable, because the two solutions represent dramatically different approaches to data, and the growing interoperability between the two will allow enterprises to leverage the sweet spots of both, but, as Frank Prabel from SAP told us, this interoperability is an ongoing project:

In the future we see the two products coexisting, rather than one replacing the other. We see greater interoperability between Web Intelligence and Lumira to come. Also, Lumira is a great solution for people working outside of trusted data sources (i.e., from personal data sources), while Web Intelligence is firmly established as an enterprise BI tool, meaning that it uses trusted data sources.

There are already use cases in which you may realize this interoperability. You can create visualizations in SAP Lumira after acquiring, cleansing, and manipulating data, but you may want to present that visualization in a document using a standardized format with headers and footers and advanced formatting options. SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence is then your logical choice to complete this workflow.

SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio or SAP Lumira?

During the online session, there was some interest expressed in the decision points leading to the selection of SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio over SAP Lumira or vice versa. SAP’s BI convergence strategy makes it clear that SAP Lumira is the future of discovery and analysis, and SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio is the future of dashboards and applications.

However, just as there is functional overlap between SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence and SAP Lumira, there is also functional overlap between Lumira and SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio. The main differentiator between the two solutions comes down to the type of user.

  • SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio ‑ professionally authored
  • SAP Lumira ‑ user-driven content

When we asked SAP’s Adrian Westmoreland about the gray areas where solution functionality overlaps, he told us:

We do ourselves somewhat of a disservice by formulating a neat functionality grid by which to make tool decisions. There will always be points of overlap. Customers need to take a broader view to determine which tools are both most effective and most efficient at meeting their needs… There are also use cases that are black and white, in which one tool is clearly the right answer. If you want to use SAP Business and allow users to drill up and down the hierarchy dynamically and have no control over the final document design or layout, then Design Studio is absolutely the right choice. The great majority of use cases fall into the sweet spots of single solutions.

To paraphrase Peter Drucker, to be efficient is to do things right, while to be effective is to do the right things. Because of the overlap between solutions, users can be effective simply by using the solutions with which they are most familiar, and they can develop greater efficiencies by learning to use the solutions that are best suited to the task at hand.

Next: Trusted Data, Professional Design & User-Driven Content

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