Wednesday, October 3, 2018

APOS at TechEd 2018 Las Vegas

APOS COO Allan Pym gave an interview at TechEd. He discussed the use of APOS solutions with SAP Analytics Cloud, including:      

Have a look:

Defining & Executing a Robust & Proactive BI System Content Storage Strategy

APOS Storage Center is your electronic vault for SAP BI report objects and instances, and all other system objects (e.g., universes, connections, calendars) that need safeguarding.

Your BI system content has value, but that value changes over time, depending upon a number of factors, which is why you need a rules-based system content storage strategy that takes those factors into account.
  • The value of content can be operational, in which case that value will decrease with time.
  • System content can have governance and compliance value, in which case its value will remain constant until a point in time at which it is no longer required for regulatory purposes.

Because BI provides operational value, there is a tendency for it to proliferate. Your system content's value should be reflected by its availability. If it has operational value, then it should be readily and quickly available via search, which means that content that no longer has operational value should be eliminated or archived in order to streamline the system and provide better search performance.

Backup, Archive & Selective Restore

APOS Storage Center backs up your system objects and archives instances. Just as important, it allows you to restore objects and instances selectively, to their original location, or to a new location, and in the original or neutral format.

If you have ever tried to restore an object from a network backup, you will immediately see the value of APOS Storage Center's selective restore feature. Read the County of Santa Clara Social Services Agency case study to see how this works in practice.

Combined with APOS Storage Center's report versioning capabilities, selective restore makes it possible to return to a report as it was at a point in time, so you can protect the viability of your report objects.

Selective restore also allows you to address audit requests quickly and efficiently. You can restore instances in a neutral format as documents of record to a folder and grant access to that folder for audit purposes without exposing the instances to scrutiny outside of the audit group, and without exposing other parts of your BI deployment to the audit group.

APOS Storage Center greatly simplifies the migration process, because it allows you to migrate only necessary system content. You can archive content not seen as essential. Should some of that archived content be needed, Storage Center gives you the ability to restore it selectively, to its original location or to any other location you specify.

APOS Storage Center gives you the flexibility to promote reports to your choice of locations, with or without a folder structure, and with your choice of instance and backup options. Because APOS Storage Center provides the ability to back up not just universes and reports, but all object types within your SAP BI system, you can use it to replicate an entire deployment, including user groups and all security settings. Using the LCMBIAR archive method, the whole system can be archived, then restored to a new environment.

Automated Cleanup

Because Web Intelligence reports are frequently user-generated, report instances tend to proliferate. Storage Center's archive capabilities allow you to archive instances to ensure continuity, while also allowing you to purge instances from your deployment with confidence to improve system organization and performance. Automating the cleanup of your SAP BI environment provides a simple means of mitigating content proliferation.

You can use the date the report was last run to trigger the backup of a report to APOS Storage Center and deletion of the report from the SAP BI system. Better still, if you are also using the APOS Insight metadata management, monitoring and audit solution, you can use the report's metadata from the Insight database for a more refined approach to automated cleanup. For example, you could use the date on which the report was last accessed to determine whether it should remain on the system or be backed up to APOS Storage Center.

Automating Your BI System Content Storage Strategy

A proactive BI system content storage strategy requires the technological capabilities to allow you to remove all unnecessary system content from the system, but make that content selectively restorable, and make your content replicable via promotion to another system.
APOS Storage Center gives you this and much more:
  • Back up of objects & instances
  • Archive of instances
  • Report versioning - retention of multiple versions of objects
  • Export to neutral formats
  • Granular, targeted, selective restore
  • Integration with content management systems
  • Automated purging of objects & instances
  • Automated clean up of unused objects and instances
  • Promotion
  • System replication
  • Migration preparation

A system content storage strategy is only as good as its execution, which is why finding ways to automate your BI system storage strategy is equally as important as formulating it. APOS Storage Center provides the means to gain and maintain control over your BI content.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Solution Spotlight - APOS Live Data Gateway

Unlock live data with the APOS Live Data Gateway.

I've posted a solution spotlight on the APOS Live Data Gateway before, but there has been so much innovation over the Summer that I feel another is necessary.

The APOS Live Data Gateway simplifies many of the data connectivity decisions organizations face as they embrace Cloud and Hybrid Analytics scenarios. This Summer has seen many new innovations with the APOS Live Data Gateway, including support for:
  • CORS
  • Google BigQuery
  • Denodo

The APOS Live Data Gateway is a data connection and data transformation solution that enables live data connectivity for SAP BI solutions and expanded data source options.

Using the APOS Live Data Gateway for extended, live data connectivity lets you:
  • Simplify user experience and data discovery
  • Select data with greater flexibility
  • Maintain current data in your SAP BI projects, without including the data in your project files, for stronger information governance and security

The live data connectivity enabled by the APOS Live Data Gateway makes it ideal for both purely cloud-based and hybrid deployments of SAP Analytics Cloud.

CORS (Cross-Origin Resource Sharing) support

CORS, a mechanism to allow a web application running on one origin, or domain, to access selected resources on a different origin, is now supported by the APOS Live Data Gateway. The upshot of this innovation for APOS Live Data Gateway customers is that the Gateway is now even easier to implement and configure.

Google BigQuery

Google's cloud-based enterprise data warehouse is now available as a data source to SAP Analytics Cloud deployments via the APOS Live Data Gateway.


The APOS Live Data Gateway now supports Denodo data virtualization technology.

Denodo's technology can be a powerful way to integrate and blend data from multiple enterprise data sources. For organizations that wish to have data from multiple sources unified and prepared so that it can be presented in a single analytic within an SAP Analytics Cloud story, Denodo provides this data blending capability, and APOS Live Data Gateway can deliver that data via live connection stream into your SAP Analytics Cloud stories.

Find out how the APOS Live Data Gateway unlocks live data for:

Solution Spotlight - APOS Publisher for Cloud

Flexible, Automated Bursting & Distribution for SAP Analytics Cloud

So now you're creating dynamic SAP Analytics Cloud stories, leveraging a variety of on-premise and cloud-based data sources, but how will you communicate your discoveries? How will you manage what information goes to which recipients, and in what format?

APOS Publisher for Cloud allows you to leverage the analytical capabilities of SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) for a broad communication strategy through advanced, secure bursting and flexible distribution. This solution automates processes for bursting personalized SAP Analytics Cloud stories to end users using dynamic, security driven processes with strict filters to help administrators ensure users receive only the data to which they are entitled.

Watch a demo:

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Reactive vs. Proactive vs. Progressive BI Administration

Administration can be not only time- and labor-intensive, but also thankless, because it can make you look reactive, even when you know you're doing your absolute best with the resources available to you. Add to this the fact that many administrative tasks are also time-sensitive, meaning they not only take your time, but they take it right now.

Reactive administration is the default approach, in the absence of any real administrative strategy.

You don't fix what isn't broken; you only fix it after it breaks, and because it's causing inconvenience for someone willing to file a complaint.

The Proactive Is the Enemy of the Progressive

You may congratulate yourself if you regularly anticipate administrative bottlenecks and make resources available to resolve issues before they affect your service level agreements. You're being proactive, and that's good as far as it goes, but you're not necessarily being progressive.
What's the difference between these two attributes?
  • Proactive BI administration is taking care of BI business before it affects your organization's business negatively.
  • Progressive BI administration is making the BI services you provide steadily better over time.

It's essentially the difference between being efficient and being effective. As Peter Drucker said, being efficient is doing things right, while being effective is doing the right things. For BI administrators and platform managers, these are complementary attributes.

However, just as the good can be the enemy of the great, the proactive can be the enemy of the progressive. Progressive BI administration incorporates the concept of continuous improvement. If you're looking for continuous improvement, you shouldn't settle for good enough.

To be progressive about this issue is to ask yourself "If not now, when?"

Getting to Progressive BI Administration

Automation, bulk operations, and deep system knowledge are the keys to progressive BI administration:
  • Is an administrative task labor-intensive?Use bulk operations to remove the repetitive aspects of the task.
  • Is an administrative task time-intensive and time-sensitive?Use automation to complete  the task in a fraction of the time it would normally take to perform it manually.
  • Are the volume of report objects, the proliferation of instances, and the complexity of schedules making it difficult to catch your breath?Catalog your content, formulate a deep understanding of your system and its users, and do what it takes to reduce your system's technical debt.
  • Is testing a drag on your ability to manage change?Automate testing to accelerate change management work flows.

But wait. There's help:
  • The APOS Insight solution helps you formulate a deep understanding about your system, providing actionable information to let you safeguard and improve it.
  • The APOS Administrator solution provides bulk report object, schedule and instance management capabilities.
  • The APOS Storage Center solution helps you implement a progressive archive, backup and selective restore strategy for your BI system content.
  • The APOS Validation Manager solution automates the testing of reports in a project-based environment.

Technical Debt & Progressive BI Administration

Without a progressive approach to your BI platform, your management of administration tasks may just be increasing the technical debt in that platform, creating and perpetuating a vicious cycle.

It may seem efficient to perform administration as a series of one-off tasks that don't relate to each other. As you cross each task off your list, you feel like you're accomplishing something. But is this approach effective? Dealing with administrative tasks tactically rather than strategically is one of the principal causes of technical debt proliferation in BI systems.

Technical debt is a drag on growth and innovation, which makes it a threat to your ongoing success, and thus to your very existence as an organization. Technical debt has been likened to a black hole, and as we all know, the very first thing you have to do to escape any kind of hole is to stop digging.

It seldom seems that simple, though. You can find excuses for not implementing a progressive BI administration strategy, but are there any valid reasons to not make your administrative capabilities more agile?.

Again: "If not now, when?"

Monday, April 23, 2018

SAP BI GDPR Compliance on the SAP Community Network

Compliance with the EU's new General Data Proctection Regulation (GDPR) continues to be on the minds of many as we get ever closer to the May 25, 2018, deadline.

We've been doing our share over at the SAP Community Network (SCN) to help BI teams prepare with a series of GDPR-themed blog posts, including:

The GDPR should be regarded as an opportunity to improve your BI deployment's effectiveness and efficiency. Adopting the privacy-by-design-based best practices mandated by the GDPR has many collateral benefits for your BI operations, security controls, resource planning, and corporate and information governance, as explained in these blog posts.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Auditing Your SAP BI System for GDPR Compliance

Under the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the inspection, protection and retention of the personal data of EU data subjects are the responsibilities of the organizations that control and process that data. In practical terms, a large part of that responsibility falls on the BI team, because the BI system touches on, and processes data from, a large proportion of the enterprise's data sources.

The rights of the data subject are paramount under the GDPR, and it is imperative that you have the processes and capabilities in place to respect those rights and fulfill your obligations to data subjects in a timely manner.

The APOS Insight solution provides the capabilities you need to streamline your GDPR compliance processes, giving you the speed and precision necessary to inspect and analyze the data under your care. Having the processes in place, and the capabilities to deliver results in a timely manner, go a long way toward meeting your obligations to data subjects.

Security Analysis

Use APOS Insight to analyze your BI system for security anomalies and holes, and to enforce corporate governance. Find out:
  • Who has administrative access to personal data?
  • Where are the data breach risks in your system?
  • What are the impacts of security setting changes?

Security analysis is key to avoiding data breaches, and reducing the risk of personal data exposure and misuse.

Usage Analysis

Use APOS Insight to analyze how your BI system is being used. Find out:
  • Which reports contain personal data?
  • Who is scheduling, refreshing and/or viewing reports that contain personal data?
  • To whom and how are reports containing persona data distributed?

You need to determine the scope of personal data exposure, firstly in order to minimize it, and secondly to be able to report to data subjects exercising their right under the GDPR to inspect your usage of their personal data.

Impact Analysis

Use APOS Insight to analyze the impact of changes to your BI system:
  • How do changes made to databases and universes impact reports that contain personal data?
  • How can we avoid unintended consequences for our information governance?

Impact analysis is the key to avoiding unintended consequences in your management of the BI system.

APOS Systems hosted a webinar recently hosted a webinar on SAP BI GDPR compliance.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

GDPR and the Rights of Data Subjects

If you're preparing for compliance with the EU's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into full force on May 25 of this year, the first thing you need to focus on is the rights of data subjects, because those rights are at the core of the legislation.
Here is a fairly detailed, though not exhaustive description of the rights of data subjects under the GDPR.

Data subjects have the right:
  • To be informed - data subjects have the right to know what private information of theirs the data controller/processor possesses.
  • To access - data subjects have the right to view this information.
  • To correct - data subjects have the right to rectify and update this information.
  • To erase - data subjects have the right to be forgotten (subject to other regulatory requirements).
  • To restrict processing - data subjects have the right to determine and limit the way that organizations can use their information.
  • To portability - data subjects can specify when and how their information can be shared with other organizations.
  • To object - data subjects have a mechanism to appeal how their private information is being captured, retained and processed, and to seek redress for demonstrable mishandling of their private information.
  • To understand and determine level of consent - data subjects must clearly consent to the use of their private information with regard to profiling and the analytical use of their private information.

This last right may have great significance for BI practitioners, as it determines how you can process and use the information collected from data subjects.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Solution Spotlight - APOS Live Data Gateway

Unlock live data with the APOS Live Data Gateway.

The APOS Live Data Gateway is a data connection and data transformation solution that enables live data connectivity for SAP BI solutions and expanded data source options

HANA is the model for SAP BI data connectivity. You know that SAP Lumira, SAP Analytics Cloud, and SAP Analysis for Office connect live to HANA data. If it's a good idea to connect live to HANA, it's probably a good idea for these SAP BI solutions to connect live to other enterprise data sources.

Using the APOS Live Data Gateway for extended, live data connectivity lets you:
  • Simplify user experience and data discovery
  • Select data with greater flexibility
  • Maintain current data in your SAP BI projects, without including the data in your project files, for stronger information governance and security
Find out how the APOS Live Data Gateway unlocks live data for: