confused_lost_man_cartoonAs I explained last week in Part One,  large enterprises using the SAP BusinessObjects BI suite have users that are looking for self-service and agility. And this is when the self-service dilemma often starts for them, because users, architects and IT leaders have come to believe that SAP BusinessObjects Lumira is the ultimate tool to provide for every end user. However, in a lot of cases, SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio can cover all the end user needs. Solving this dilemma boils down to  understanding which SAP BusinessObjects  component  is the best suited.

Self-Service on Corporate Data

To lead the discussion regarding self-service and the most appropriate SAP BusinessObjects component to use, a key element is whether the users need to run self-service BI on their corporate data solely (like SAP HANA views or business warehouse queries and SAP BW Info Providers), or do they—next to analyzing corporate data—also need to blend corporate data with other data sources (like data that comes from outside the organization, or data that is non-corporate data).

When users only need to analyze corporate data, it will be important for them to have the data in real time and to have online connections to their data. They probably also require access to the lowest level of detail—transactional level—if they need to analyze that. In that case, SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio is perfectly suited for them.

  • Completely HTML 5 ready
  • Accessible via a browser
  • Online connectivity to the transactional level
  • Capable of stunning visualizations
  • Can be used via any mobile device

Self-Service on Non-Corporate Data

Users that need to have access to non-corporate data, like external data or data that is not part of the enterprise corporate systems, require SAP BusinessObjects Lumira and/or SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office on top off SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio. SAP BusinessObjects Lumira brings this tremendous capabilities for data blending, data mashup and cleansing. Often these type of users are the company’s data analysts.

Let me give you an example of what I am trying to explain here. Imagine we have a dashboard application providing analytical insights on purchasing information. The dashboard covers every purchase order detail (another stigma that leads our world is that dashboards can’t cover detailed information: wrong, they perfectly can) and provides insights in spend analysis, vendor optimization and vendor fraud detection. The user can slice and dice any data type, drill into details, and also get KPI information including trends and thresholds.

Now imagine one of our users wants to focus on a specific vendor (say Dun & Bradstreet ) and needs to combine the dashboard data to verify the vendor’s financial credibility. The data is in an external system that the user has access to, but it’s not part of the SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio dashboard. This is the moment where our user or analyst steps aside to SAP BusinessObjects Lumira or SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office.

With a single click in SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio, the data is brought within SAP BusinessObjects Lumira, where our user can easily blend the purchasing data with the Dun & Bradstreet data set and start analyzing the situation, create a storyboard, and share this on the SAP BusinessObjects platform. Here is a video where I tried to simulate a similar example with a user of a dashboard who needs to blend the SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio data with external Reuters data. We call this the closed loop with SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise.


So Yes… SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio Might be the Best Solution

So “yes,” SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio applications should best be built by experienced analytics architect. And “No,” there is not much coding anymore to do !! (Have look here, if you would still doubt that, and I’ll make sure to convince you.)

But, as long as our user needs to work with corporate data, or in other words needs to only work with the data objects provided through the application, SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio is very, very well suited. In the example of SAP Business Warehouse, it means that if the user only needs to analyze the data that is part of the SAP Business Explorer query(ies) or SAP BW Info Provider(s), SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio is often the best solution.

  • Users have online connectivity to their corporate data even onto transactional level
  • Visual perfection based on HTML5 lay-out
  • Countless chart and graph types, including GEO spatial, waterfall
  • Open to third party extensions
  • Slice and dice of data, drill-anywhere via cross-tab boards
  • Users can create their own storyboards from within the application
  • Wide range of interactivity controls from drop-down boxes onto interactive charts and the ability for users to change graph types and select the attributes on a chart
  • Threshold and trend indicators
  • High level of interactivity with the dashboard
  • Supports any mobile device
  • Templates that allow you to connect to SAP HANA, SAP Business Warehouse and SAP Business Explorer/Info Providers with a single click so users immediately start analyzing

Most of the these functionalities are reflected in the following video showing the capabilities of SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio. I dare to firmly state that —if used on corporate data—SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio offers tremendous and flexible self-service capabilities in a managed and governed way, enabling enterprises to serve huge amounts of users.


Click, Click and Click: Voila the Enterprise Dashboard Is There

An excellent way to get your users using SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio applications is to use the embedded templates. With just a few clicks, your key developer creates an application that allows users to:

  • Select the data source (SAP HANA View, SAP BW Info Provider or SAP Business Explorer Query, or even a Universe)
  • Filter data, drag and drop and drill-down
  • Create graphs and charts
  • Bookmark and store their analyses for use in composition dashboards
  • Explore any detail of their data source

Ah, you don’t believe me? Hmm, have a look at this video and come back to me if you have any concerns left!


And the Really Good News?? A Convergence Is Coming

So what is the really (!) good news? SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio and SAP BusinessObjects Lumira are about to converge into one product. You’ll find more info on the convergence in this document. Apart from all the great advantages this brings to us, it will save you as a customer from the self-service dilemma.

Everything your users require, is in there—discussion closed.

This blog was originally published on the Iver van de Zand blog and has been republished with permission.