Last week I attended a SAP BI meeting hosted by the University of Utrecht, concerning the direction SAP is going with the BI solutions BW4HANA and SAC (SAP Analytics Cloud).
The BW4HANA suite has a lot to offer and looks really promising. However, since the current BWonHANA systems are also pretty complete datawarehousing suites, it is a difficult business case to put a lot of effort in an almost new implementation. That’s probably why SAP is stopping support for the older versions, since remaining up to date is by itself important for the continuity of systems within companies. The current situation is: support for version 7.4 until end of 2020, support for version 7.5 until end of 2024.
My impression at the moment concerning an upgrade is, look for the right moment. I am not too fond of the eclipse front-end and building and maintaining business logic is difficult to debug in this environment. There is still time and opportunity for SAP to improve.
SAP Analytics Cloud
SAP Analytics cloud is the new BI solution for Data discovery. It is the successor of SAP Lumira 1.31, which I compared in this blog with Tableau, and also the successor of SAP Lumira 2.x Discovery, which was launched quite recently. I am very curious to see how it works and what functionalities are available. Apart from the data discovery, there will be functionality for planning, predictive analytics and application design. With the last topic, it enters the realm of the on-premise tool SAP Lumira Designer (the successor of SAP Design Studio). SAP has put an end date to the on-premise environment as well, end of 2028, and is focusing for new developments on the cloud tools.
Personally, I am sceptic towards cloud tools since it is not possible to control the updates. Especially if applications will be build in them, with a lot of users, it can be really annoying if a certain functionality doesn’t work after the upgrade anymore. And although SAP is saying they will try to avoid it, I am 100% certain it will happen somewhere in the future, and I think users will not accept it.
To conclude: BW4HANA is great, but the moment to upgrade needs to be looked on carefully. SAC is the SAP BI option for data discovery, use that instead of SAP Lumira discovery if possible.