SAP Business Objects Design Studio is in a constant flow of development on their roadmap. Designed to match current BI trends of speed, self-service, security, and presentation on multiple and portable devices. Support for SAP Business Objects Dashboards is not expected to be dropped through 2020, but SAP focuses their development on Design Studio. Dashboards would have fallen behind with limited support for mobile devices and less control over loading data.
SAP sees the current period as a time to consider migration to SAP Business Objects Design Studio from SAP Business Objects Dashboards. For the end user, Design Studios using HTML5 has capability to use any mobile device. Design Studio also uses ready to go templates for fast initial building. This concurs with the Bi trend to democratise the ownership of data and self-service. At Xoomworks BI we consider a focus on the welfare of the end user along with the enterprise a vital component in the development of BI.
SAP’s roadmap now includes an early 2017 integration between Lumira and Design Studio operating on a single server that will offer Lumira connectivities, previously lacking on Design Studio. The Lumira integration will augment Design Studio to use non-SAP data sources and offline capabilities. For development, SAP still sees Design Studio as a power user tool not purely an end user tool. The end user can create their self-service environment and dashboards easily using the BI templates. The integration is planned to offer easy conversions between Lumira and Design Studio dashboards.
Xoomworks BI undertook a practical exercise to convert an existing dashboard created with Xcelsius Dashboards to Design Studio. In practice with the new technology Design Studio is using its ready to go BI templates, a new visualisation will be created in far less time. The exercise has proved useful as a historical look at Dashboards to confirm the differences to consider timing a migration.
Dashboards currently has data access advantages over Design Studio. The caveat is the upcoming integration of Design Studio with SAP Lumira on a single server. Design Studio using partner extensions will eventually include an equal level of data access. SAP recommends maintaining Dashboards over the next few quarters if the user requires offline dashboards and support for non-SAP data sources.
At Xoomworks BI we see Design Studio operating on a BI Platform and using SAP and non-SAP sources. Working on a specific platform does offer security advantages that are most relevant to an overall data security strategy.
Design Studio connects directly with HANA, unlike Dashboards.
Migration to SAP Design Studio from SAP Dashboards is a manual process. No automation has been built in. SAP states that the manual process gives the user a chance to consider the new technology and decisions over design. A visualisation on Dashboard was made for a specific resolution. Design Studio using HTML5 is compatible with all devices including iPad and android, scalable to all sizes.
The Xoomworks BI team recreated a Dashboards visualisation on Design Studio complying with our current branding. The biggest difference for our team was the lack of an Excel layer. The data was static and stored in the Excel layer. A Business Objects Universe (Unx) was created on top of an SQL Server test database.
To emulate the functionality of the original Dashboard we had eight levels of data aggregation. The different layers worked together via the dropdown filters, mouse-over events, and the radio buttons. A data source was then created in Design Studio for each level of aggregation. This allowed for filtering via dropdowns, copying the original Dashboard. The results are shown in the diagrams below.
Whilst Lumira and Web Intelligence offer the end user an easier self service approach, Design Studio has superior integration with HANA and BW. SAP does suggest continuing with Dashboards for a few more months should an organisation require off line capabilities. The focus on development on Design Studio, and the upcoming Lumira integration with Design Studio should soon confirm SAP’s suggestion as being the tool to choose.