SAP BusinessObjects Cloud

The end-to-end BI platform

The crucial innovative aspects are that this solution is a totally new development, operates directly and exclusively on the basis of the SAP HANA platform and provides its own BI platform with the very first release. SAP thus provides an end-to-end BI offering on a single technological platform for the first time. Modelling as well as analyses, planning, collaboration, etc. all take place on this platform and, in the SAP BusinessObjects Cloud medium, via the web browser. When using the solution, customers no longer need different technologies and different platforms. Even use of the analysis and planning applications modelled on Excel require no Microsoft tools, let alone Excel. SAP “simply” programmed whatever was necessary for the applications itself.

First preliminary conclusion therefore: SAP BusinessObjects Cloud is an “end-to-end” solution built natively on the very latest SAP platform SAP HANA, making optimum use of its data storage. It is fully integrated and eliminates the “tool zoo” that frequently features in the BI world. All components are made available in the same technology and can be accessed from the browser.

CubeServ: Generating Reports 100 Times Faster with the SAP®BusinessObjects™ Cloud Solution

Architecture

The new platform can provide all the components for an advanced analytics solution. SAP BusinessObjects Cloud is built natively on SAP HANA and uses the SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) with its data storage, the Cloud connectors as well as the associated operating functions. And the solution benefits from the entire “HANA-as-a-Platform”: the “geospatial” functions, for example, that are incorporated in HANA are available in SAP BusinessObjects Cloud as well.

SAP BusinessObjects Cloud itself offers sophisticated frontend features from the start, including “Dashboards” and “Agile Visualization”, covering everything from self-service analyses to dashboarding to storytelling. The integrated component “Planning & Allocation” further overcomes the unspeakable separation between planning and reporting. The “Data Wrangling” component, for its part, facilitates genuine data exploration by allowing users who are not ‘hardcore’ IT experts to combine corporate data with data from other sources.

The data for this solution can come from the HCP or from on-premise as well as other data sources. SAP is in the very early stages of developing applications to run on the platform, which will no doubt increase in number over time, and have made an impressive start with the Digital Boardroom.

Functionality (a small selection)

As this is the first article following the launch of SAP BusinessObjects Cloud, the description of the functionality must be limited to selected features for space reasons. To give you an initial general idea, we shall focus on a few features, some more backend heavy and some more frontend heavy. Let us take a look at data import and linking in the “Modeling”. How do we get SAP HANA files and local files (e.g. MS Excel files) into the system?

Retrieval of SAP HANA data

Let’s start with SAP HANA data. It is so easy, you hardly see anything happening: simply select the HANA source and you are done! Then you can start on the analyses immediately. That’s integration for you … (URL screen cam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND15VWu3bpI&feature=youtu.be)

Retrieval of local data

But creating new models, based on local data for instance, and uploading the data is easy as well: select Excel file, map contents, upload, done! And then you can start on your analyses … (URL screen cam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRRuRSp5Z0E).

Blending

And then, of course, the inevitable happens: no sooner have you started your analysis than you discover that you need further data. This where ‘Blending’ comes in. You select the relevant data source from within the analysis, perform the mapping, and the data will be linked immediately and available in the analysis … (URL screen cam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NRgVN6nxjY)

Visualisations

To conclude today’s article, here is a small selection of visualisations. Once again, SAP BusinessObjects Cloud is very powerful even in the initial release, providing ad hoc visualisation in the course of the analysis or ‘stories’ prepared for the management. In addition to the typical chart types, impressive features include geo-visualisations, which are available from the start, and the beginnings of the implementation of the Hichert/SUCCESS (IBCS) notation in charts and tables … (URL screen cam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn3fvYKgxMc&feature=youtu.be)

Cloud or not Cloud, that is the question here.

It seems that the new SAP offering is available exclusively as “Software as a Service”, at least according to current planning. We shall therefore leave aside the currently irrelevant question as to whether this may also be offered as an on-premise solution sometime in the future. Of course this prompts the following question: Does my company actually want to go “into the cloud”?

But the decision should be based on facts and not on an emotional response. And in this context, the reader would be well advised to consider the line of thinking put forward by Dr. Stefan Sigg: Are you not already using a number of cloud services anyway? And are the e-mail and other functions that you use on your tablets, smartphones and laptops for corporate data as well not actually much less secure than a cloud-based analytics application? And how much of your data is sent back and forth between different company sites unsecured or using encryption that would be no deterrent to the NSA or other unsavoury agencies?

Consequently, the question “Cloud or not Cloud” is no longer pertinent – at least under this aspect. Instead, the answer to the question should be determined on the basis of aspects to do with TCO, service level, usability, functionality and similar!

Overall Conclusion

Let’s start with an image. For years, the competition between SAP and its often ridiculously small competitors for the lead in the area of BI tools resembled the famous race between the hare and the hedgehog in the Grimm’s’ fairy tale (at least in the imaginary world of Gartner and Associates).  No sooner had SAP gained some ground after years of work, Gartner moved the goalposts and the US augurs were able to maintain that the market leader had not done its homework. This happened with OLAP, dashboarding, self-service, etc.

But with SAP BusinessObjects Cloud, SAP has now landed an incredible coup. All the providers that the augurs had pushed in such aggressive fashion have ended up where they always really belonged, thanks to SAP BusinessObjects Cloud architecture, end-to-end approach, comprehensive browser use and the cloud approach.

Our Offer

CubeServ offers you a two-day workshop providing an initial overview, where you can benefit from our experience with the solution even at this early stage and where we will demonstrate the solution to you.

Interested?
If so, please give us a call or send us an e-mail. We can then arrange a date for a presentation and discuss your individual requirements.