Greetings from SAP Sapphire (well the airport, but you know what I mean)! This was my seventh Sapphire conference, and with so much happening in the SAP analytics world, I was glad I made it this year’s event.
SAP has had a plethora of brands and tools in the BI and analytics space over the years. Some of this product bloat has been from acquisition and some from innovation. For dashboard capabilities, we can say there is Dashboards (rebranded from Xcelsius, acquired and replacing Dashboard Builder), then Design Studio (do we count SAP Web Application Designer as a precursor?), and then SAP Lumira (initially branded Visual Intelligence), and the latest: Cloud for Analytics.
BI and analytics is all I do, and yet, even for me, it’s a tough road map to keep track of (see these notes for some clarity Market Guide for Enterprise-Reporting-Based Platforms, Critical Capabilities for BI & Analytic Platforms, Navigating Business Analytics from SAP). These multiple products and brands fly in the face of SAP’s commitment to simplicity. So one big announcement from Sapphire is that most things related to BI, predictive, and CPM will be rebranded “BusinessObjects.” So it’s now SAP BusinessObjects Lumira. And SAP BusinessObjects Cloud (that has little to do with the on-premises BusinessObjects BI platform).
This rebranding is tricky business. Will customers who love BusinessObjects be happy with this recommittment to the BusinessObjects brand? Or will the recent years of support challenges, missteps in product quality, and loss of customer enthusiasm weigh down newer products? Is this like Coke Classic and New Coke revisited, but with a negative twist? On the plus side, “BusinessObjects” is a well-known brand and has retained its ranking as the market share leader in BI and analytics (see Market Share: All Software Markets, Worldwide, 2015). But rebranding without product rationalization and true simplicity is nothing more than a marketing move. Ultimately, customers will decide if they like this, and if it matters at all. I expect continued confusion. See SAP’s Steve Lucas’ blog for his thoughts on this.
On a clearer perspective, a couple announcements I was more positive about:
- SAP BusinessObjects Cloud (formerly Cloud for Analytics) has some new predictive capabilities – what we would call smart data discovery for citizen data scientists – baked right in. Rita Sallam, Josh Parenteau, and I are working on a more in-depth assessment of SAP BusinessObjects Cloud so stay tuned and look for a research note in June.
- The recent RoamBI acquisition brings Mobile BI capabilities to non SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise customers. I hadn’t seen their Blink product which lets consumers create beautiful visualizations from within an iPad. For now, this is only available in the USA as SAP sorts out some global cloud security issues, with more regions planned throughout the year.
- SAP Mobile BI will soon (v6.4?) support Lumira in offline mode, for iPad only.
- SAP Lumira and Design Studio will converge into SAP BusinessObjects Lumira 2.0, but will support two authoring personas. SAP plans for the converged products to go into ramp up end of 2016.
- SAP announced a new data as a service offering, SAP Digital Consumer Insight based on aggregated telecom data. It doesn’t sound like this is initially integrated or pre-wired for Lumira or BusinessObjects Cloud, but nonetheless interesting.
It was interesting to hear from a few early adopters of SAP BusinessObjects Cloud, and for sure, the Digital Boardroom is driving a lot of customer interest. However, most of my conversations were of customers in the POC stage. So if anyone is live in production for BI capabilities, I’d love to hear from you!
One of these years, I will stay long enough at Sapphire to go to the customer party and rock concert. Yes, dear family and customer inquiry calls: I chose you over Cold Play!
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