Monday, August 14, 2017

Solution Spotlight - APOS Insight

For BI practitioners, deep system knowledge is the start of the incredibly rewarding journey to well managed BI. APOS Insight illuminates that path through enhanced metadata management, comprehensive audit, proactive system monitoring and alerts, and full impact analysis.

You need these capabilities to form an accurate understanding of your BI system's performance, and to plan for its future. APOS Insight will help you:
Improve system governance
  • Optimize BI system performance; meet and exceed service agreements.
  • Meet compliance and audit objectives
  • Enable your BI team to meet corporate governance, audit and regulatory requirements.
  • Prepare for migration & upgrades
  • Catalog your content; extract pre-migration benchmark information; map IDs between systems; compare security structures between environments; plan your migration.
  • Audit and harden system security
  • Audit security and perform remedial fixes before the underlying problems hurt you.
  • Protect sensitive information
  • Know who has accessed what information through off-line historical analysis of audit data. The APOS Insight Website Auditor also provides granular user session data for the web application server and SAP BusinessObjects.
  • Enhance change management processes
  • See what has changed, and who made the changes, so that your change management processes are audit-ready.

Use APOS Insight to optimize your SAP BI environment and infrastructure, establish complete confidence in your content, enable industry-specific regulatory compliance, and to deliver well managed BI to your organization.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

BI + Analytics 2017, Nashville

APOS will be in Booth #4 at this year's BI +Analytics show in Nashville, which takes place from August 7 to 9 at the Music City Center.

The show features two great presentations you won't want to miss by APOS customers:

CSI - Enhanced Distribution & Integration of BI Content into Business Workflows
Jason Young demonstrates how Computer Services Inc. integrated SAP BusinessObjects into their core bank processing solution with the help of APOS Distribution Server. APOS solution consultant Alan Golding will also be on hand to discuss the enhanced distribution options provided by the integration of APOS Distribution Server with BI Launchpad in BI 4.2 SP4. (When: Wednesday, Aug. 9, 1:30 PM)

Beaumont Health System - Healthcare BI Management & Related EHR Upgrades
While this presentation relates specifically to healthcare BI, its lessons are universal. Jeffery Morrison demonstrates how Beaumont Health reduces technical debt at every opportunity by thinking outside the SAP BusinessObjects box, taking full advantage of system metadata, and developing integrated resource, content, upgrade and migration strategies. (When: Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2:25 PM)

Both of these presentations are very strong on substance that you can apply to your own BI environment, and we would love to see you there.

SAP App Center Q&A with SAP's Raghuraman Ramakrishnan

APOS COO Allan Pym recently participated in a Q&A with SAP's Raghuraman Ramakrishnan. The focus of the Q&A was the SAP App Center, on which you can find numerous APOS solutions.

The SAP App Center is SAP's new online store bringing together the entire SAP partner ecosphere.

Allan described what he liked about the new SAP App Center:

I like two things in particular. First, that SAP is demonstrating its commitment to the SAP partner ecosphere. Second, that the new SAP App Center gives us more opportunity to describe our solutions and what they can do for organizations wanting to get the most out of SAP business intelligence (BI) solutions.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Solution Spotlight - APOS Migrator for Web Intelligence

SAP BusinessObjects BI 4 is very flexible in how it lets you adopt the new semantic layer and UNX universe, but it is in your organization's best interest to adopt the UNX universe sooner rather than later. Essentially, you have three options:
  • Stay fully on UNVThis option does not require any immediate action, but simply maintaining your UNV universes means you will slowly fall behind the technology curve as the SAP BI convergence strategy continues its inexorable course.
  • Move fully to UNXThis option allows you to take full advantage of new SAP BI capabilities, but it requires great efforts to update skill sets, convert universes, and repoint reports.
  • Retain some UNV, while performing all new development in UNXThis option allows you to transition at your own speed to UNX, taking advantage of new capabilities where they provide the most value, while preserving UNV universes that perform well. In the short term, you will have more maintenance, testing, and documentation as downsides to this approach, but it provides the most flexibility for a considered migration effort.

When you are ready to adopt the UNX universe, APOS has a solution to help you achieve your objectives as painlessly as possible.

APOS Migrator for Web Intelligence

The migration to UNX universes is a daunting project for many organizations. While the conversion of individual universes may be manageable, the repointing of all the associated Web Intelligence reports is a vastly bigger initiative. The APOS Migrator for Web Intelligence allows you to address the size and scope of such initiatives, providing strong process execution, effective and safe management of BI assets, and efficient methods for containing IT resource costs.

A fully supported solution, APOS Migrator for Web Intelligence delivers:
  • Bulk conversion of universes from UNV to UNX format
  • Bulk repointing of Web Intelligence reports to new UNX universe
  • Automated, high volume testing of reports to validate accuracy
  • Tightly controlled, project-based methodology

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Solution Spotlight - APOS Validation Manager

The increasing pace of technological change, the growing volume of data, and its complexity, make automated report testing an ongoing subject of interest for BI platform managers and administrators.

From full-version migration to in-place upgrade to day-to-day report development and management, report testing can be a labor- and resource-intensive activity. The APOS Validation Manager solution presents a project-based, highly controlled environment for testing reports. It works with:
  • SAP Web Intelligence
  • Analysis for Office
  • Crystal Reports
  • Crystal Reports for Enterprise

Use Validation Manager log in to your source BI system, search for report objects, add the report objects to a project, set the target BI system connection information, and import the files into your project for testing.

Simplify the import operation by using other APOS solutions such as APOS Insight or the InfoScheduler or Instance Manager modules of the APOS Administrator solution, or you can import by specifying schedules or from existing instances.

Validation Manager tells you when report validation is failed, successful, or successful with warnings, simplifying your testing process and allowing you to increase the speed of report implementation.

Validation Manager provides numerous benefits:
  • Rapid technology adoption ensuring timely and accurate information for decision-making workflows
  • Increase the scope of your migration testing sample, and the depth of testing
  • Improved internal control governance for SOX compliance and other regulatory requirements
  • Implement database / schema changes and upgrades, semantic layer changes, and vendor-based data source changes more quickly and dependably
  • Efficient resource management

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

SAP Convergence Strategy - Data Connectivity

The April 20, 2017, SAPinsider Q&A on the SAP BI Convergence Strategy has provided a nearly endless supply of blogging material, but this will be my last post on the subject. If you want to read the full transcript, go to the APOS On-Demand Webinars page:

So far, I've focused on the place of individual SAP products within the SAP convergence strategy (the merger of Lumira and Design Studio, what's new in SAP Web Intelligence, BOC), on the newest platform developments (what's new in SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 SP4), and on the convergence strategy itself.

Now let's look at a topic that was a little less defined, but ever-present nonetheless: data connectivity.

As convergence reduces the SAP BI toolset, the need for greater connectivity grows, and the pressure is on to supply that connectivity. One of the registrants for the Q&A commented:

Will there be more emphasis on adding new features in the BI reporting/analysis toolset to support non-SAP databases? We see lots of new features and capabilities to better report off of SAP HANA and BW data, but not much related to Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, etc.

Another guest asked about row and cell limitations in Design Studio:

Design Studio has a row and cell limitation. We were hoping this limitation was removed with the convergence of DS and Lumira.

SAP's David Stocker replied:

In BEx and SAP HANA datasources, you can define what the limits are in the backend. For universes, we still have the same hard limit as in 1.6. We've not changed anything in that corner for 2.0. We do plan to revisit this in the future, now that we have the new velocity infrastructure.

Another guest asked about OLAP connectivity:

Hi Team, When would SSAS OLAP based universes or direct non-SAP OLAP connections be supported?

Merlijn Ekkel replied:

We already support various non-SAP OLAP datasources. Please check our Product Availability Matrix 

Another guest asked about BOC connectivity:

Our company is planning to move more to cloud rather than using on-premise, so my detail question is, how is SAP BusinessObjects BI Cloud able to access data on our company (within firewall)? Example, I have Crystal Report access Oracle database in my company, if I want to move that Crystal Report to SAP BusinessObjects BI Cloud, is it possible?

Henry Kam noted:

SAP BusinessObjects Cloud is able to access data within the firewall by utilizing the BOC Cloud Agent to import data into BOC… It is not currently possible to move Crystal Reports to SAP BusinessObjects Cloud.

Another guest:

When will Lumira support SSAS?


Today we have no direct road map plans to support SSAS (or other OLAP datasources). Today the best option would be the APOS Data Gateway that solves the gap.

We thank Merlijn for his acknowledgement of how the APOS Data Gateway is leading the way with enhanced data connectivity for SAP BusinessObjects. Check out the available connectivity options:
What's on your data connectivity wish list?

Friday, May 26, 2017

SAP Convergence Strategy - BOC

The April 20, 2017, SAPinsider Q&A focused on the SAP BI Convergence Strategy.

So far, I've published posts on the convergence strategy itself, and on what's new in SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.2 SP4, and the merger of Lumira and Design Studio.and SAP Web Intelligence. The SAP BusinessObjects Cloud was also a subject of discussion.

SAP's Henry Kam took the lead in the discussion:

Organizations recognize that SAP BusinessObjects Cloud offers a unique value proposition in the market today by combining analytics, planning, and predictive capabilities. These 3 capabilities are not just available under a shared application user interface, but the key is that these functionalities are actually integrated seamlessly together in user workflows. Also resonating with customers is the SAP Digital Boardroom, which is a capability of SAP BusinessObjects Cloud. It provides users with a 360-degree view of their company’s performance in real time, using BOC which is a Cloud SaaS product, with the ability to securely access on-premise data, and displaying analytics on multiple large TV screens that are touch enabled.

Henry went on to discuss how organizations with on-premise deployments should be viewing the move to the Cloud:

We believe in taking a hybrid BI approach. Hybrid BI provides a seamless experience across both on-premise and cloud. When you access content or blend data from on-premise or cloud systems, you are doing hybrid BI. A seamless experience means that business users do not have to think about where data or content is residing; on-premise and cloud clients and assets work together. Sharing resources between on-premise and cloud deployments such as tools, data connectivity, visualizations, security, distribution, budget, organization, program management, training, licensing, and internal evangelization, does not require understanding whether the resources are on-premise or cloud. The journey many times starts with on-premise deployments, which must be extended and expanded into complementary cloud strategies with minimal disruption. One way we are realizing this vision is our planned innovation of providing a new experience which will consolidate access to analytics content from multiple hybrid (on-premise or cloud) systems into a unified experience. Keep an eye out for the analytics announcements at SAPPHIRE as we’ll be unveiling this new solution.

APOS realizes that data connectivity will be one of the most pressing matters for organizations wishing to take advantage of SAP BusinessObjects Cloud, which is why we develop the APOS Data Gateway for SAP BusinessObjects. Allan Pym described this APOS offering during the Q&A:

The APOS Data Gateway for BOC will allow for live data access to on premise UNV and UNX universes, as well as SAP BW (v 7.3 and higher), MSAS, Essbase (Q3) and relational datasources (mid Q2). APOS also has a connector that will enable acquiring data from UNV universes.

Note: The APOS Data Gateway connector for relational data sources has now been released.

You can find more about the SAP BusinessObjects Cloud roadmap in the Q&A transcript, which you can access from the APOS On-Demand Webinars page:

A future post will look at what's new in Analysis for Office.