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SAP Improves Prediction With Big Data, Geospatial Analysis
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D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
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9/12/2014 | 12:10:24 PM
Expert opinion from Cindi Howson
Cindi Howson of BI Scorecard wrote the book on BusinessObjects (several editions, in fact), so I asked her for her take on SAP's new Lumira-BusinessObject integrations. Here it is:

SAP Lumira is doing most well in data prep, which allows for business-user transformations and ELT without coding. The universe connectivity lets users to combine enterprise, modeled, governed data sources with personal and departmental data sources. Everyone is trying to find the balance between using governed data and agility. Nobody wants to get back to spreadsheet chaos, multiple versions of the truth, and anarchy.

The data-discovery vendors didn't start with modeled data sources or a metadata layer, so this is something that each is addressing in varying ways. For the BI platform vendors, the answer varies vendor by vendor. MicroStrategy Visual Insight and SAS Visual Analytics can also access their respective metadata layers (project, information map).

Lumira is on an agile development cycle (unlike the BI platform). SAP has been rapidly improving Lumira with releases every 6-8 weeks. They most need to continue to improve the presentation and visualization capabilities.

-- Cindi Howson

D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
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9/11/2014 | 1:47:34 PM
Re: Freedom of data exploration vs. control
This integration announcement is SAP's first attempt to deliver the best of both worlds, and it was just released today so it's hard to say whether they've succeeded. I've asked people who have been breifed in depth to comment (watch for that), but in general, I would say that vendors like Tableau Software and Qlik still stand out as best of breed on self-service data discovery. SAP, Oracle, IBM, Microstrategy and other BI incumbents have all added data-discovery modules, but that hasn't cooled off rapid growth for Tableau and Qlik. Microsoft, too, talks a good game about data discovery with Excel, but the lack of unifying semantic models for Microsoft and others can lead to chaos in which different people have different interpretations of what's meant by "sales," "products," and other dimensions of data that aren't locked down in a consistent model. 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
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9/11/2014 | 1:34:23 PM
Re: Freedom of data exploration vs. control
I agree that self-service is the holy grail. How would you rate SAP's efforts to date to get Lumira users to true self-service without creating the version problems that you reference, Doug?
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
9/11/2014 | 12:20:10 PM
Freedom of data exploration vs. control
The Holy Grail is giving users easy-to-use, self-service data analysis tools that don't require support from IT while also having top-down control over data, so that it is trusted and consistent, and over access to data and analyses (for obvious reasons). SAP asserts that best-of-breed data-discovery tools like Tableau Software and Qlik have not incorporated top-down with controls akin to BusinessObjects Universes -- a core data model that ensures consistent interpretation of data. The danger in not conforming data to consistent interpretation is silos of analysis and multiple versions of the truth. We've seen those problems before, and they're hard to overcome.


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