The Innovation Center is modeled after Google Labs. It showcases new software prototypes based on concepts and ideas from customers, partners, and internal teams. Anybody is free to download and try them, but they are not supported for production environments. Feedback is encouraged, and used to improve the products and decide which are commercialized.
Projects that “graduated” from the old BusinessObjects labs site into commercial products include Mobile BI, Information on Demand, Polestar, and BI Widgets. The projects have now moved to the SDN community framework, which will allow even more interaction and collaboration. In the process, some projects have been retired, such as “BI Collaborator”, and a new project has been published, the “BI Panel“.
The BI panel makes it easy for Microsoft Outlook users to access BI information from directly within their email interface. The prototype analyzes the user’s email and inbox to produce the linguistic metadata necessary to understand the context of the email. This context is then passed to SAP BusinessObjects XI 3.1 which, in turn, returns the most relevant reports to the user.
Other Exciting Labs Projects
The Xcelsius Web 2.0 add-ons allow Xcelsius users to incorporate tag clouds and interactive relationship charts into dashboards (these are working Xcelsius models – move the slider, or click on the members of the network).
Polestar in the cloud is a hosted version of the commercially-available SAP BusinessObjects Polestar product that lets you try out the intuitive Polestar interface with your own Excel spreadsheets. Simply upload a simple Excel file with a header row and columns of data and then start slicing and dice information.
Comment it lets users of the SAP BusinessObjects intelligence platform comment on reports, adding them to a new transparent layer — users can not only share reporting and analytic information but also their feedback and discussions.
Catalog Browser for the iPhone lets you remotely access your favorite BusinessObjects content from the Apple iPhone. You can easily browse, search and display the Crystal Reports, Web Intelligence and Desktop Intelligence documents, and maintain a list of favorite documents.
The Text to Query prototype appears to perform magic, using the information already stored in BusinessObjects metadata. As you create a PowerPoint presentation or email, Text to Query can examine the text, spot keywords, and automatically offer chart suggestions (containing real enterprise data) that can augment. As you write about the revenue rising in a particular region, the prototype automatically brings up the revenue chart for that area.
The BISense prototype is similar – it makes it easy to integrate relevant BI content automatically into web pages. So if you have an internal web site where information is organized by product, for example, you can have a list of relevant reports display automatically for each product.
The Content Rating prototype lets people rate and share their opinions on published BI content in a collaborative manner, and can be used to “validate” reports as they go into production use.
Data Feed as a Universe lets users of SAP BusinessObjects WebIntelligence combine any information from RSS feeds and Web Services with corporate data from your operational systems and data warehouses (as well as CSV and Excel files).
Business Objects Masher lets developers create “templates” that can be used to create enterprise mashups that combine corporate data with web application resources like Yahoo! Maps, Google Maps or other types of visualization.