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SAP BO Design Studio – what about release 1.3?

In May 2014 SAP made Design Studio version 1.3 general available. On time, as promised. But is this the release we have all been waiting for?
In short: unfortunately no. It is definitely an improvement, but still there is a lot to desire.
There is quite some ground to cover before the tool is as rich in functionality as the Web Application Designer. In this release it feels to me a lot of functionality is added that is useful in SAP Marketing (HANA, Lumira, all the buzz words are there).

BW Integrated Planning support
A lot of effort has gone into enabling the planning functionality, SAP BW- Integrated Planning. It is a nice feature, and definitely one that should be in place someday, but to me it would seem one with less priority. The current WAD solution will be supported for some while, thus why bother moving to Design Studio? Also, adding comments is currently only possible with an SDK component, thus adding hassle for those customers who want to use it.

Native Hana deployment
It is now possible to deploy Design Studio native on HANA. Of course very important for the long term strategy of SAP, ‘everything can be run on HANA’. But currently most HANA deployments are BW-on-HANA, thus this could have waited.

Design Studio SDK on Netweaver
Nice feature for the Netweaver users, they do not have to install a BO server. Unfortunately, if they want to use bookmarking and personalization, they still have to do that.

Application bookmarking and personalization
This was a feature I was looking forward to. As such it works quite well, but it has some drawbacks. First of all, it only works in local mode or on the BO server. Second, when the report is updated (i.e. because of an request for change) all the users lose their favorites. And finally, favorites are not stored centrally, in the sense that a user can organize his favorites in one spot. Also, I am not sure where on the BO server all these favorites are located. So I wonder how administrators will be able to clean irrelevant entries. For the Netweaver users, I hope a solution for that environment will be presented as well.

Lumira (CVOM) SDK integration
Lumira is of course a tool that will be part of every BI tooling strategy, someday, so it is good to know that there is integration with Design Studio.

Charting extensions
Some new charts have been added, and it is easier to modify certain options. Unfortunately, a lot of the new chart types are of the category ‘silly graphs best avoided’ and the options are still very limited, compared to the possibilities in the Web Application Designer. But hopefully improvement will continue in this field.

Advanced table formatting and customization
Nice features have been added, thus more is possible. Well done.

The added printing functionality is very limited, it is just a button that starts the webbrowser printing functionality. With the SDK this was a very easy thing to implement already. I hope we will get some improvement in this area in the coming releases. It feels strange that Anno Domini 2014 printing is still an issue.

Advanced Scripting
It is now possible to do some loops in the scripts. Already a big improvement. Well done. Keep up the good work.

So all-in all, a lot has been done in 6 months. Well done. If SAP can keeps up this momentum, Design Studio will become better and better.

In conclusion: Design Studio 1.3, not the release that changes everything, but a step in the good direction. Keep up the good work!