Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Faster, Simpler, Smarter" - Irfan Khan's TechEd 2016 Customer Keynote and Well Managed BI

In his TechEd 2016 keynote address, Irfan Khan, CTO for SAP Global Customer Operations (GC0), marked the twentieth anniversary and spoke with customers, asking them:

"How can you become faster, simpler, smarter, in the context of your digital journey?"

He noted that Moore's Law continues to be in force as memory and computing power double every 12 to 18 months, and that this growth was part of what was fueling disruptive times in the world of data science. SAP BusinessObjects Cloud was designed to coalesce BI, predictive, and planning to a single platform in response to these disruptive times.

Irfan's emphasis was on the SAP BW/4HANA platform, and he used the "data lake" concept to talk about not just the volume of data the HANA platform was capable of containing, but also how available that data was for analysis and decision-making. Unlike the standard data warehouse or data mart, HANA is not limited to aggregated data. When you query or run an algorithm against HANA, you are not querying merely the rolled-up summaries of the data, but the entire data lake itself, meaning the Devil can't hide in the details.

If you are a BI platform manager or administrator, you know the volume of your data and the complexity of your information requirements are growing at an ever-increasing pace, and in parallel with Moore's Law. Irfan told us that "Every aspect of our environment is changing. We are entering a digital environment." For BI people, this sea change manifests itself in the growth of real-time and ad hoc business intelligence, and the corresponding importance of proactive BI administration.

However, this growth in the importance of BI to the enterprise, and the need for BI administrators to work "faster, simpler, smarter," does not necessarily come with a corresponding growth in available resources, so in order for BI platform managers to work faster and simpler, they most definitely need to find ways to work smarter.

APOS Systems has been the source for BI solutions to help SAP customers running SAP BusinessObjects achieve "faster, simpler, smarter" BI platform management and administration capabilities, or what we like to call Well Managed BI. These solutions let you:
  • Formulate deep knowledge of your system, so you know what is happening, why it is happening, and who is making it happen
  • Bulk manage objects, schedules and instances to improve service and liberate your resources for higher-value activities
  • Implement an advanced content storage strategy to protect your content, and to meet internal governance and regulatory compliance requirements
  • Employ advanced query governance to ensure your BI system makes the most of its data connectivity
  • Perform precision content delivery to ensure the right content gets to the right people at the right time in the right format with the right security
  • Streamline migration and upgrade processes and automate report object and instance testing
  • Expand data connectivity options to leverage existing data sources and calculations
  • Expand Analysis for Office scheduling, instance management, document backup and archive, impact analysis, and use Analysis for Office as a data source for other SAP BI tools

For more information on how APOS can help your BI platform management become faster, simpler, and smarter, visit our Well Managed BI Solutions page.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Webinar: SAP's Alexander Peter on Analysis for Office

What: What’s New in SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, Edition for Microsoft Office Webinar
When: Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016 – 11:00 am EDT
Guest Presenter: Alexander Peter, Product Manager, SAP

SAP’s Alexander Peter joins us to discuss what’s new and what’s ahead for SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, Edition for Microsoft Office (Analysis for Office).

If you were able to attend our SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Office - Scheduling, Distributing, Managing webinar back in June, you may remember that we promised to host a session to focus on what features are coming in the near future, and what the long term plans for Analysis for Office are. This is that session, and Alexander will be here to answer your questions on all aspects of the current version of Analysis for Office, as well as on the roadmap.

SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Office is the BI information analysis and delivery tool of choice for many users, both because of its capabilities and its ease of use. If your organization is looking for ways to increase both of these features of Analysis for Office, then you should definitely attend this webinar.

Many of APOS' well managed BI solutions can help you perform many Analysis for Office asks more efficiently and effectively.
  • Scheduling - APOS Administrator and APOS Publisher can help you to schedule reports for personal, team and recurring reports, for large and diverse groups (including external stakeholders) to a variety of format and destination types.
  • Management and Administration - APOS Administrator, APOS Storage Center and APOS Insight can help you with bulk instance management, document archive/backup/selective restore, and impact analysis.
  • Using Analysis for Office as a Data Source - The APOS Data Gateway solution lets you use Analysis for Office documents as a data source for your other BI projects in, for example, SAP Design Studio or SAP Lumira. The reason this a desirable capability is that it allows you to leverage the discovery and analytical work done in Analysis for Office, and to avoid repeating the same work in other analytical and visualization applications.

You can find out more about how APOS well managed BI solutions can help get the most out of Analysis for office here, and please join Alexander and our APOS team as we explore continuous improvement of the SAP Analysis for Office offering in this informative webinar.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Press Release: APOS Data Gateway Now SAP-Certified

APOS Systems today announced that its two APOS Data Gateway solutions (Lumira Edition and Design Studio Edition) are now SAP-Certified and available for download at the SAP Analytics Extensions Directory.

The APOS Data Gateway, Lumira Edition, allows SAP Lumira users to connect to Web Intelligence reports, as well as to any relational data sources, and use them as data sources for their Lumira projects. The APOS Data Gateway, Design Studio Edition, allows SAP Design Studio users to connect to Web Intelligence reports as a data source for their Design Studio projects, and to expand data connection options and data volume. By using a Web Intelligence report as a data source, the Lumira or Design Studio project can inherit the report's data connection options, such UNV, HANA, UNX and BEx, as well as inherit the report's Web Intelligence calculation engine, or inherit a Web Intelligence instance's pre-loaded and pre-calculated data.

These two newly certified solutions join a number of other APOS solutions available at the SAP Analytics Extensions Directory. The Directory provides access to the full range of extensions built by SAP partners to help SAP Analytics customers fill any gaps in their SAP Analytics requirements.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

What's Happening with SAP's BI Products, and What Does It Mean for You? WIS SAPinsider Q & A

When: May 4, 2015 - 11:30 am ET
Register for this event…

APOS is pleased to present this online live Q & A session in conjunction with SAP and SAPinsider. During this session, SAP product experts will explore how SAP BI 4.2 can enrich the experiences of both users and information consumers.

During planning for this session, the session title went through a few iterations, including:
  • Will SAP's BI Tool Convergence and Interoperability Strategy Make Your BI Team Better?
  • Platform Progress, Tool Convergence, and Quadrant Qualms….Where are we now??
These titles, and the title we finally settled on, all describe the session accurately, but the last, which was deemed a bit controversial, describes a particular quandary that developed when Gartner published its most recent BI Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms.

Back in February - on Super Bowl Sunday, to be precise -- Mark Richardson published a critique of Gartner's change in direction. His post was called 'Moving the Goalposts': Why #DataViz Often Fails to Reflect Reality. In his post, Mark noted:
GARTNER has moved their focus for this document away from “the long-standing BI requirement for centrally provisioned, highly governed and scalable system-of-record reporting” – and toward “analytical agility and business user autonomy”. That’s their call – but I think it is the wrong one.
There is a danger in reliance on ad hoc reporting and data visualizations to the exclusion of the underlying data, which is why a “system-of-record” reporting engine is so important.

It’s easy to be deceptive with visualizations, even to deceive yourself, but the real problem in such cases is generally inaccurate data, especially when taken cumulatively, in which case simple, seemingly inconsequential variances can distort the picture and lead to poor decision-making.

What is required above all, as Mark Richardson points out, is stability, accuracy, and governance. Can these qualities be said to be characteristics of a platform?

It has been nearly 2 years since Jayne Landry published Run Simple: Convergence of the SAP BI Product Portfolio. Now, with the release of SAP BI 4.2, it's time to review the progress SAP has made on the platform, and check the convergence and interoperability of the BI tool portfolio.

From the conceptual to the technical, this session will let you explore the boundaries and synergies of the SAP BI 4.2 BI tool set, and discover the potential for Lumira, Design Studio, Web Intelligence, Analysis for Office and HANA within your deployment of the SAP BI platform.

Panelists will include:
  • Jayne Landry - Global VP & GM, Business Intelligence, SAP
  • Ty Miller - Senior Director of Solution Management for Enterprise Business Intelligence, SAP
  • Olivier Duvelleroy - Senior Director, Solution Management, Business Intelligence, SAP
  • Alexander Peter - Product Manager, SAP
  • David Stocker - Senior Product Manager, SAP
  • Gregory Botticchio - Product Manager, Web Intelligence, SAP
  • Adrian Westmoreland - Product Manager, SAP

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

How Chaotic Is Your SAP BI Environment?

Tomorrow, March 9, at 10 am and 2 pm ET, APOS Systems will host a webinar on this topic:

If you can't attend, register for the webinar anyway and we'll send you a link to the recorded webinar so you can enjoy and share it at your leisure.

Chaos is never a neutral term. It carries so much cultural baggage that it may not have been the most appropriate naming convention for a scientific theory, and you'd think scientists might have learned this lesson and not nicknamed the Higgs boson the "God particle." I suppose we all have our blind spots.

Chaos Theory is the field of study within mathematics that studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions — a response popularly referred to as the butterfly effect. When we say such systems are highly sensitive to initial conditions, we are saying that the slightest variation in those conditions can cause drastic changes to downstream events. Such systems are generally characterized by:

  • High volume of inputs: the number of elements interacting within a chaotic system is so large that it is virtually impossible to account for them all without extreme computing power.
  • Nonlinearity: complexity of inputs makes determination of cause and effect very difficult, if not impossible
  • Dynamism: it's a moving target; before you can analyze the state of a chaotic system, the state has changed.

Chaos Theory is one of the most interdisciplinary of mathematical studies, because chaos is so prevalent in the world. In fact, the science of chaos started with an attempt to model and predict weather. Those studies started in the 1960s, with impressive, but limited, results. (You can usually get a pretty good idea of tomorrow's weather, but looking five days out, all bets are off.)

BI Chaos

A high volume of inputs, nonlinearity and dynamism are characteristics of many of the BI systems we see. BI Chaos is characterized by a high-volume, nonlinear and dynamic state obscuring a clear understanding and deep knowledge of the system, its dependencies and its future states, and creating a barrier to proactive and preventive management and targeted administrative action.

Of course, we are using chaos as a metaphor for the difficulties the BI team has in administering the BI system, but if you've faced some of the challenges that BI administrators face on a daily basis, I think you'll agree it is a very appropriate metaphor.

A BI system may be chaotic if it is difficult to form a clear understanding or a deep knowledge of its component parts. For various reasons, such knowledge is obscured, making it very difficult to manage the system proactively or preventively.

Chaos is less of a problem if you have an unlimited pool of administrative resources, but for the rest of us, this lack of predictability may frequently place the administration team in a reactive mode. Chaos may prevent your team from entering into a proactive mode and acting in a timely manner on evolving requirements and expectations.

BI Chaos - Feature or Bug?

BI Chaos happens because your system is performing the function for which it was designed. In a very real way, you are a victim of your own success. If you are not experiencing chaos within your system, you have to ask yourself whether you are realizing the full potential of the system.

If you want to reduce, prevent and manage the chaos in your BI deployment, you have to start by recognizing that chaos is the rule, not the exception. It's a feature, not a bug.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Why Healthcare Organizations Need a Proactive BI System Storage Strategy

There are a number of common motivators driving healthcare organizations to establish proactive BI system storage strategies. Motivators can be legislative or corporate, or based on the need to maintain information availability, reliability, and consistency with (usually) limited BI administrative resources.

Regardless of what motivates your organization to develop such a strategy, the strategy you develop will have objectives in common with many other healthcare organizations. These objectives will require the implementation of robust capabilities with regard to:
  • Content Backup
  • Content Archive
  • Content Versioning
  • Content Restoration
  • Content Promotion & Replication
  • Content Cleanup

A proactive BI system storage strategy is just one of the strategies healthcare organizations need to consider in order to ensure they are deriving maximum value from their BI deployment while maintaining all requisite corporate governance and legislative compliance standards. Others include:
  • High-Volume Administration
  • System Auditing & Monitoring
  • Content Validation
  • BI Query Governance
  • Systematic Content Delivery

Many APOS customers have used APOS solutions to assist them in implementing such strategies and capabilities. We're hosting a webinar on Feb. 11 that will explore BI system storage strategy development in some depth.

Please join us.

Note: If that date has already passed as you are reading this, follow the link to view a recording of the webinar.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence Update Webinar with Frank Prabel & Gregory Botticchio

When: January 28, 2016, 10 am & 1 pm ET

APOS Systems will host this upcoming webinar featuring SAP Web Intelligence subject matter experts Frank Prabel and Gregory Botticchio. Web Intelligence is an integral part of the BI platform, which forms a trusted foundation for decision making across the enterprise. Join Frank and Gregory as they discuss new Web Intelligence features and the road ahead.

Features under discussion include:
  •  Backend integration - direct access to SAP HANA, SAP HANA online mode
  • Shared Elements - the ability to save report elements in the CMS repository for re-use
  • Commentary - the ability to add, view, remove comments on Web Intelligence document
  • Visualization Extensions - the ability to implement third-party visualizations

Please join us for this informative webinar.

The webinar brings us full circle from last year's WIS Q & A event in which numerous SAP luminaries answered real-time questions about Web Intelligence, Lumira and the SAP Convergence Stratetgy.

Over the past year, we have expanded on many of the questions and answers delivered at the Q & A event in a series of blog posts on SCN, and recently we published the first of two summary posts on