08-06-2017 Door: Iver van de Zand

Why interoperability between BI styles and use cases is a big deal

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SAP makes a big thing on the interoperability of the new Lumira 2.0 analytics product that will be available expectedly July 2017. Lumira 2.0 is the new data discovery and dash boarding tool that converges the current SAP Lumira and SAP Design Studio. “Interoperability”, you’d say? … interoperability between what? … and why do we need that? … let me explain.

Bringing easy-to-use self-service data exploration and visualization to the end users has been key to SAP when launching Lumira a few years ago. It has been a success; Lumira lowered the adoption curve of end users to analytics enormously. The output of Lumira – so-called storyboards – can be published the SAP BI Platform to be consumed by others. However, when these same storyboards require to be professionalized, they must be rebuilt using SAP Design Studio. For this professionalization, you might think of bringing multiple storyboards together in one dashboard, or for example when cross-chart filtering, or complex filtering needs to be added to name a few. Also in case of required live connections to SAP BW, Design Studio is needed.

Lumira 2.0 will dramatically simplify the above: end users who create storyboards and require these to be professionalized towards enterprise-wide dashboards, can now have this done very easily in the same Lumira 2.0 product. We call this interoperability: the seamless cooperation and interactivity of storyboards or mock ups, with enterprise wide authored dashboards. Interoperability thus means bi-directional communication between storyboards and dashboards. Pretty catchy stuff, if you’d ask me!

Use cases for interoperability

Let’s make things a bit more concrete and discuss several use cases for this interoperability. It will help us understanding the value of interoperability:

Tuning a storyboard
Lumira 2.0 Discovery allows for data exploration, -blending and visualizations through storyboards. Its features are advanced yet focus on quick and easy creation of insights. Some more advanced features are missing. That is on purpose; Discovery aims at end users and they easy way of insights gathering. If however an end user wants some additional – advanced – features applied to the storyboard, the Designer component of Lumira 2.0 offers the solution. Take the example of below video where the creator of a simple storyboard on sales performance per region requires cross-chart filtering. It allows to click on a (section of) a parent chart, where the selection drives the filtering of the other graphs. This feature is not part of Discovery, but can be applied in Designer. The solution is to open the storyboard in the Designer module, apply some simple guided script and save the storyboard. What I like on this approach is that SAP succeeded I keeping any complex stuff away from the real end-user: Discovery remains the easy-to-use data discovery tool it always has been.

Combining various storyboards
You know this one; your management requires a dashboard that oversees a full LOB process. Spend, sales, finance or manufacturing metrics, they all need to be in and provide a 360° overview. The Discovery component might play a big role here, but probably will give you various storyboards that each cover the pieces (spend, sales etc) of the process. Designer now comes in by creating one (!) dashboard application where you pick up the various storyboards. In the video below is an example of this use case.

Professionalize to an enterprise dashboard
The most obvious use case for interoperability is definitely the professionalization of your storyboards using SAP Lumira 2.0 Designer. The Designer module has basically no limitations when it comes transferring your storyboard(s) to enterprise wide dashboard applications. Adding radio button groups, sliders, interactive commenting, responsive color-coded progress indicators, input fields, tab-strips, chart-pickers and so on. But also adding more data-sources, creating a scorecard or set-up adaptive layout (when enlarging the browser, graphs are automatically re-arranged) can be done. Have a look at this page to see just a little glimpse of what's possible; all of the previous SAP Design Studio 1.6 capabilities - and more - are part of SAP Lumira 2.0 Designer, and you know that one has always been my definite favorite just because of its tremendous capabilities.

Win your end user
Here might be situations where want to avoid the “openness” of Discovery to end users. Discovery is easy to use but its openness allows people to change graphs, filters or even add formulas. When you are looking for a dashboard that can only be consumed (typically with a huge audience (i.e. A public one) without consumers changing anything, you can use Designer to create an authored dashboard application from the initial storyboard. These applications have stunning visualizations and allow for very precise tuning on how your end user can interact. They can run on the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform but also for example directly on SAP HANA. Like referred in my blog on winning your end users, authored dashboard applications are the ultimate way to offer insights to really huge amounts of users. Now your process can start with a storyboard in Discovery and professionalize it in Designer.

Take the governance hurdle
Ah, governance again. Did you already come across your end users requests to have a single - multi page dashboard application, where users - depending on their role and authorizations - only see the sections and data they are entitled too? You must have, since each of my customers ask for it. Its about the classical example of a management cockpit dashboard covering Sales, HR, Finance, Spend and Marketing data, where depending on the user(-groups) some people should not see the HR section or just a piece of the Spend section. Well, setting this up in one application is called the governance-hurdle and definitely a "SAP Lumira 2.0 Designer-job".

The advanced dashboard
Close to the use case for professionalization is the use case for an advanced dashboard. Imagine you want end user to be able to click though a detailed WebIntelligence report when clicking/filtering a chart in your storyboard. SAP Lumira 2.0 allows for query-parsing which means that a filter that the user applies to a dashboard (using combo-, dropdown-, or checkboxes for example) is communicated/parsed onto the WebIntelligence report that can be linked to a dashboard. Here is an example. Of course there are many other examples in this use case: think of embedded video in dashboards, an enterprise dashboard that combines self-service SAP BW discovery (template) with an upfront prepared storyboard with reference data ...well, your imagination will do the rest.

The data connection and blending challenge
One of the strong points SAP Lumira 2.0 Discovery is its data mashup, -enrichment and especially blending capabilities. It is so easy to join data-sets from various source types (CSV, Xlsx, SQL, BW, HANA, Universes, Hadoop, SalesForce, JDBC, Cloudera, Vora ... etc ..etc ) and quickly discover the data. There is also blending where the same can be done on data sources with different grain. Well, all this enrichment and blending can be easily set-up in a Discovery storyboard and re-used in SAP Lumira 2.0 Designer. For those of you familiar with SAP Design Studio, they will recognize the huge amount of time they will gain. I touch an example of this in below video. What I am saying here, is that the Designer developer can greatly leverage the easy data-mashup capabilities of Discovery.

Apply templates
When your user community for SAP Lumira 2.0 Discovery starts growing, the number of storyboards will quickly expand. To manage some consistency in the lay-out and apply enterprise branding, one could consider to use Designer templates. These templates are made one and applied can be applied to any enterprise dashboard based upon storyboards. In addition - or part of - to the template, Designer allows to apply CSS Style sheets where every single lay-out property can be defined upfront.

How does interoperability work and look like?

In this video I show you some of the use cases mentioned above. I hope it gives you some more insights on my case for interoperability. Next to the online SAP BW connectivity, the interoperability is key and essential and will allow SAP Lumira 2.0 to in the analytics market.

Iver van de Zand

Iver van de Zand is werkzaam als Thought Leader business analytics en business intelligence bij SAP BeLux. Zijn werk is tevens zijn passie. Iver schrijft op persoonlijke titel blogs op zijn website 'Passionate on Analytics' en daarnaast beheert hij een eigen Youtube-kanaal.
Hij heeft in aanvulling op zijn blogs een interactief boek over analytics gepubliceerd met de titel 'Passionate On Analytics', dat te verkrijgen is in de iBookstore.

Website: www.ivervandezand.com
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