SAP Lumira 1.12 Initial Impressions

I’ve enjoyed the pace at which SAP Lumira has come along over the last year.  Like most, I’ve been chomping the bit for v1.12 to release since we got a glimpse of it at ASUG SBOUC in September.  I caught a tweet today that it was out on the SAP Market Place (not yet available for an in-app update as of the point in time I wrote this post, however) and like a kid at Christmas, I was not about to wait.  An add to my download basket, a download, and a simple install later and I was up and running.

Prepare

The new launchpad left me searching only for a moment where to begin.  While it looks like a wizard driven interface, just kick off the process with the Acquire Data button and you are off.

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The new UX style isn’t overly obvious at this point but we get a subtle hint of the style change.  Noted: when I selected Excel as my first data source, I actually had to double-click the Available Type.  The “Next” button never lit up for me.

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Now, I’m ready to get some data acquisition on.  I’m going to tinker around with my power consumption data I’ve been demoing in my “SAP Lumira for N00bs”, a.k.a, the quintuptricorn demo.

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Here, I’m not as excited.  The change in behavior is to take me to the Visualize view.  I really liked the behavior in versions prior to v1.12 because I could sanitize, add data, merge, etc. before I ever went here.  It’s an extra click or two, but still…  To change this back, if you are like me, hop into your preferences.  On the General tab, you can change the Default Room to “Prepare”.

In a few moments, I’ve added a few more data sets and am getting ready to merge.  Notice that the data set selector has moved to the top left corner fairly discretely.

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Merging data sets is consistent and easy.  I’ve also found that the ability to manipulate is still available on the right panel as expected.

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But unexpectedly, a new “Calculation” button is available in the “Prepare” view.  A.K.A, the formula builder!  Whether building a calculated attribute or measure, this UI brings a familiar look and feel for building those out.  I like.

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Calculation options (formulas) to derive attributes or measures.

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The Formula Calculation Builder!

Interestingly, though, the Enrich button is gone?  I need more time with this.

Visualize

This is where I really start to appreciate the parity with SAP Lumira Cloud.  Yes yes I know it’s not  exactly the same, but it has kept the familiar layout while changing the visual elements to make them consistent.

I’ve put together a simple visualization that mashes up my power utilization (electricity), contrasted to average temperature in the same month, then really really mashed against the home rank (out of 100 worst homes in my neighborhood…haha) that is obviously decreasing because of my new Nest!

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I’ll spend more time on this later.  But, in an important lesson learned, if you are going to share a visualization and have been logging into Lumira Cloud with your SID, I have to use my email address there.  My SID does not work.

Compose

I’m was really intrigued here when I saw this in the keynote at SBOUC.  I don’t really want customers to walk away thinking “hey it’s a dashboard!”.  Oh…please no.  So starting with a new, blank canvas, I can build a story.  It’s worth noting that to apply a visualization to a story board, you actually have to save that view first.  I’m going to flip data sets over to something a little more meaty so I can slice and dice this in a few more ways and analyze some SAP BusinessObjects landscape data.

Moving on to actually doing something, it’s possible to support multiple stories in a visualization, or multiple boards within a story, creating the possibility of having a significant number of ways to slice and dice this data.

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Building a story board that groups sets of visualizations to help me explain the story really had no learning curve.  Text insertion and images to support the story are in fact there but I’m not sure how fit them into my story yet.  I think there is also a thin parallel to things like Input Controls in Webi as you use data within the data set to filter the board as you go.  Background colors, opacity, etc. can be adjusted as needed as well.

Closing Thoughts

That is a quick rundown of cool new stuff.  To bring this to a close, in no particular order….

  • I noted on a 1.6 million row data set, the render time in the Prepare view was instant and Visualizations are smoking fast.  I didn’t realize if there was an intention that there’d be performance enhancements and I couldn’t say the same in v1.11. Awesome.
  • The UX parity with the cloud is a good thing.
  • I’ve not gotten to play with it yet, but have already seen some stellar examples of how extensible it is API-wise at SBOUC.  Tons of SAP Ecosystem enhancement possibilities here.
  • Story Boards tell a story (duh).  I like them so far.  I’m still trying to wrap my head around using text to effectively annotate a Story Board without it taking up as much real-estate as it does right now.
  • I still can’t find the automatic enrichment.  That’s a tough one.  I actually used this feature.
  • Composing a Story Board is a cool idea.  If only that Story Board could live outside of SAP Lumira in a browser.  This is something for the user, not the analyst.  Am I missing something?
  • The Save As options seem to want to let me stick an .svid file in to Lumira Cloud.  From a file sharing point of view, I guess this is OK.  But I think Lumira also needs parity in consuming a visualization in the Cloud that was created on the Desktop.  After all, it’s about making things look awesome and understandable.

I had the opportunity to present on SAP Lumira 1.11 this week at the NKU BI Summit.  If you are in Higher Ed, let me say, you should attend this event.  The thing that stood out to me at this event is that when I asked everyone in the room if they knew about the free/personal edition of SAP Lumira, nobody raised their hand.  When I flashed the link on where to go get it, they feverishly wrote it down.

SAP Lumira was already pretty powerful.  1.12 and it’s story boarding tools do in fact increase it’s capability for a business user to rapidly prototype data visualizations and turn them into stories that can be consumed by the masses. We just need to get over the hump in getting those visualizations off of the desktop.

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