I was happy just reading SAP Solution Management Director Ingo Hilgefort’s key concept to his new article, in which he gives a short, understandable answer about the difference between BusinessObjects BI 4.0’s SP04 and FP03:
Service Pack 04 (SP04) includes the functionality of Feature Pack 03 (FP03) so that you do not have to apply FP03 first and then apply SP04 to your landscape.
Ahh, sometimes simple explanations go a long way in our technically heavy articles here on SAPexperts.
For example, he details the following enhancements for BusinessObjects Dashboards (formerly Xcelsius):
Key figures from BEx queries with a configured scaling factor
Level-based selection for hierarchical reports
SAP ERP data sources via a universe
Report-Report Interface as a valid sender
Support for OLAP connections from BusinessObjects Enterprise
By the way, Hilgefort has more about SP04 in another upcoming article for us, and he will also speak on the topic at the brand new SAPexperts Theater during the Reporting & Analytics 2012 conference in Las Vegas in October (he’s on schedule for October 29 at 10:45 a.m.).
Donald MacCormick of Antivia said one of the best BI query tools he’s seen was on the old Star Trek: The Next Generation TV show. Officers would tap their chest emblem, ask the Enterprise’s computer a question, and get the right answer. No hype; the system was simply effective, albeit fictitious.
But here in star date 2012, things don’t work quite so well, and there’s a level of hype that masks what’s going on with BI. The cheerleading about SAP HANA is a good example of a type of hype in which people believe there is magic going on behind the scenes to explain why something works, said MacCormick, who spoke at the ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference.
All of us – you, me, the company selling the software, the analyst blogging about a trend – share responsibility when BI hype boils over, said MacCormick, chief product and marketing officer at Antivia.
“It’s very easy to blame the vendors because they have the source of marketing hype,” he said. “But all too often, people are ready to consume the hype.”
From his perspective, HANA is easy to understand. “HAHA is a very, very fast database. It is revolutionary,” he said. “But it’s not magic. It’s not BW.”
MacCormick’s words fall clearly on the side of HANA not replacing BW, which is a debate full of thorns right now. Regardless of where you stand, MacCormick says its best to look past BI hype for the more mundane truths about a technology.
“Mundane BI can make difference,” he said. Remembering that point may help you separate fact and hysteria.
There was a funny kids TV show when I was growing up called the Electric Company. It wasn’t about utilities or electrical work, but instead tried to help children read better.
Those of you out there who remember this show will recall a skit featuring two famous performers, Bill Cosby and Rita Moreno. The pair played milk delivery drivers, and they had a spirited discussion about determining how many milk bottles to leave at a home’s door each morning.
The skit involved a torn note left for Moreno by a family, and she had to decipher it based on the words she could read. Growing impatient, Moreno decides to skip the note and just yell to the household, “Hey, you guys!”
Fast forward to 2012, and there’s another heated video clip that involves deciphering – in this case, the pronunciation of HANA. The two characters in the video ain’t Cosby and Moreno – they look more like Lego figures – but the back-and-forth conversation between them has some good zingers, just like the Electric Company.
One of my favorite questions during Dr. Bjarne Berg and Penny Silvia's Q&A web chat about SAP HANA this week had to do with the cost of the in-memory technology.
Berg is a NetWeaver BW expert at Comerit, and Silvia is North America leader within IBM for SAP Business Analytics & Technology solutions and a technical advisor for SAPexperts.com. They are co-authoring a new SAP PRESS book, SAP HANA: An Introduction, which is available for pre-order.
During our Q&A, participant Sunil Kolhe asked a jackpot question:
For a 30 TB database to migrate to HANA (standalone, not on BW), what HANA hardware will I need for successful implementation and what would be cost and license estimates?
Try asking that question to SAP during a public forum and you'll usually get an answer like, "Well, you need to talk to your account rep, blah, blah."
This is why I like Berg's work on this website: He's straightforward.
The hardware costs for a 1 TB memory box with 20 cores and 3 TB disks is around $50K to $90K, and there are different editions of HANA depending on what you want to do with it. The first is called "HANA appliance software platform edition", the second is called "HANA appliance software enterprise edition," and the most complete solution is called the "HANA appliance software enterprise extended edition." The difference between these editions is basically how you want to extract, move and replicate the data.
Another interesting question came from participant Rene Tschauder: With HANA as a non-BW sidecar option, can you still access BW data, such as DataStore object tables?
"In that scenario, you would be able to bring BW data in via the HANA data capabilities - most likely via Data Services," Silvia answered.
It is sure clear from this 41-year-old’s perch that SAP and its partners are taking certain steps to appeal to the next generation of developers and business analysts.
So much of the Sapphire Now show in Orlando this week screams “Young!” For example:
The music played before the keynotes included many modern tunes. Sure, as my colleague Dave Hannon mentioned on Twitter, I was getting my lighter out for Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” but that song got morphed into other music by artists such as the Black Eyed Peas in what amounted to the ultimate sampler before SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott took the stage.
Lars Dalgaard, an SAP board member and head of SAP’s SuccessFactors cloud provider, stormed onto the keynote stage with an energetic charisma that is going to give the older SAP execs more gray hair. Dalgaard is a fun, entertaining speaker.
Sure, there are still attractive young ladies helping to staff the vendor booths, but they are competing with companies that have also brought in performance race cars that you take photos next to as well.
In a nod to Mad Men, many booths now offer beer and win if you sit in on a session.
It all constitutes a smart series of moves by SAP and the vendors because it’s time to make good impressions on future customers now.