Yesterday’s announcement of the availability of SAP Lumira v1.15 marks a cornerstone event in the history of the SAP BI landscape. In that announcement, it was revealed that SAP Lumira will now support connectivity to SAP Lumira Server (on premise) for publishing stories, as well as SAP Lumira Cloud. This is important because SAP Lumira Server establishes the first SAP BI solution to reside entirely, natively, on SAP HANA, and not within the SAP BusinessObjects platform. To me, this announcement is possibly one of the biggest and most important since the announcement of SAP’s acquisition of a cool French company, Business Objects.
SAP Lumira Server has been in some limited-release ramp up for some time, presumably with a target on customers that have an established SAP HANA footprint. Whether they are customers already investing in SAP BusinessObjects, or net new customers, may not be as important. My sincere hope is that there is a splattering of both. I actually do want customers with no BI investment to be able to grasp the capability here without having their opinions skewed by the long history with other SAP BI tools. Conversely, I hope some big and healthy SAP BusinessObjects customers are involved to begin to tell the story of how this marriage will work….if you can call it a marriage. In any landscape where the two will co-exist, there should be.
At this point, the release date of SAP Lumira Server is still somewhat illusive. The rumor mill puts it at a release in the first half of this calendar year. With it, I am imagining that a new, server side package will be available for SAP HANA which will be very non-disruptive to deploy that will harness the power of the SAP HANA in memory database capabilities and the sheer awesome-sauce of the SAP HANA XS Engine for rendering this HTML5 goodness.
I’m particularly excited to see a few scenarios come into play. As recently discussed over on the Diversified Semantic Layer podcast, one scenario I am excited to see in action is where I can use tools like SAP Lumira Server over the top of SAP HANA, which has already federated both my speedy, in memory data, as well as that of my other sources via Smart Data Access without any ETL transformations. There is potential here.
Today, this impending launch of SAP Lumira Server is the predecessor to pave the way for this kind of BI tool. We as BI practitioners still have the task of taking really cool and fast BI and turning it into something of value that the BI masses will appreciate. Fast data is only part of the equation. The technology is an important part and a facilitator. Effectiveness in allowing the business to enrich their decision making process without assuming everyone is an Analyst (or Data Scientist) is the other ingredient. Like my friend Donald has written (no specific post, he’s written about it the last three or four posts), I’m not sure these tools represent enterprise, self-service BI in the sense that everybody is going to create an exploding pie chart. They DO represent recognition that discovery activities that über-users need to achieve requires attention and tools. I’m going to tackle that in another post here soon I’m going to call “Enterprise BI is for Curmudgeons”. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, I’m going to look forward to getting SAP Lumira Server in house and pushing it to its limits for the right audience.