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SAP Sapphire 2017: BI and Analytics Highlights

by Cindi Howson  |  May 31, 2017  |  Submit a Comment

SAP continues to battle for BI and analytics market leadership on multiple fronts both in the cloud and on-premises, within its captive applications customer base and beyond. Here are my key takeaways from its annual Sapphire conference.


In terms of cloud, SAP once again rebranded its product: SAP Analytics Cloud. This is a smart move, bringing clarity to customers who thought it had any similarity to the on-premises, well- established SAP BusinessObjects BI product (see last year’s blog.).  I was able to attend an ASUG influencer session on what customers want here.   Mobile is on the near-term roadmap, but so is broader hybrid connectivity to on-premises data sources (hybrid is currently supported for BW, Hana, and S/4HANA Cloud; see the Critical Capabilities and this note for more detail.).   I really liked some of the new features such as “smart insights.”  I also like the way SAP is talking about hybrid (see this note on Hybrid DBMS), but they were not particularly clear on what’s already delivered versus what is roadmap and vision.  Their vision is to allow data and content to be accessed and shared regardless of whether it originated on premises or in the cloud.   sapcloud

SAP also announced a new product, The Analytics Hub, due for general availability in Q3. The SAP Analytics Hub is like a BI and analytics portal – for all content, whether created in SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP BusinessObjects BI, Tableau, or Microsoft Power BI, and more.  The product is intended for business users specifically, not information stewards necessarily, to give them an easy way to find content via descriptions, ratings, and usage.  saphub

On-premises BI

For on-premises, BI and analytics, I would have liked to attend the roadmap session, but this room was once again on overflow, a perennial problem. It is frustrating that ASUG has not yet figured out to run this in a larger room or at least have it streamed to the hallway or another room.  As an analyst, I know I’ll be able to set up another briefing to get this information, but it’s it’s a missed opportunity to see and hear what most resonated with other Sapphire attendees … and time misspent.

In terms of near term improvements, the BI Launchpad has a new Fiori style interface, and Lumira 2.0 is now in ramp up. If you are currently testing this, I’d love to hear from you! I didn’t get to talk to any customers in the beta while at the conference.


From a broader company perspective, SAP’s main headline was Leonardo.  Leonardo is a combination blue print and fixed fee services to get to a prototype to build a business case for full implementation, using design thinking.  BI and analytics may or may not be part of a particular package;  for predictive maintenance, for example, it would be. I confess I am still getting my mind around this one, so will defer to my more SAP focused colleagues (ask Massimo Pezzini or Donald Feinberg) on whether or not this is a big deal.

Call to Lead

As a pre-cursor to the main Sapphire event, SAP ran a Call to Lead session on diversity. It was nothing short of amazing. However, as there were some special guests and the event was invitation only, we’ve been asked not to blog about the event (stay tuned, I’ll share what I can. Here’s the update).  I do think SAP’s work here is both important and showing results, having received several awards.


Lastly, here’s a funny side note:  Rita Sallam and I were tag teaming at Sapphire covering different days. We passed each other in the hotel lobby, sporting co-ordinating suits. Clearly, great minds dress somewhat alike!  (and indeed, I am rubbish at taking those selfies).



Cindi Howson



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Cindi Howson
Research VP
1 years at Gartner
25 years IT Industry

Cindi Howson is a Research Vice President at Gartner, where she focuses on business intelligence (BI) and analytics. Her work includes writing about market trends, vendors and best practices and advising organizations on these subjects. Read Full Bio

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