It’s a stormy and sunny day here in Orlando, Florida, for the 2011 ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference in the Dolphin Hotel (ASUG members and conference attendees can see videos and download conference materials at http://www.asugonline.com/)
Bridgette Chambers, CEO of the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) (@bchambersASUG on Twitter), kicked things to the packed room off by reminiscing about how much relations have improved since the SAP and BusinessObjects user groups came together for the first time at the ASUG BusinessObjects conference four years ago.
She cheered up many in the crowd by announcing the extension of the ASUG Valueship for another year (complimentary membership for North American BusinessObjects customers).
She explained that next year’s joint SAP BusinessObjects User Conference and SAP Analytics conference will again be in Orlando, 9th-12th September (book the date!), and urged everybody to take a more active part in the user group.
Steve Lucas, Global GM of SAP Business Analytics delivered the main keynote (@nstevenlucas on Twitter). After an intro worthy of a standup comedian (explaining that the “get 20%” signs on stage were just props, not a promise of future discounts: “SAP is still SAP”) , he explained that membership of the usergroup leads to concrete benefits: “I talk a lot to customers, and I can tell you that BusinessObjects customers are happier when they’re a member of ASUG”.
He went on to emphasize that SAP had delivered on the promises from last year’s user conference: BI 4.0, SAP HANA, BI Mobile, and Line of Business solutions all went production in the course of the year — and gave out his email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to anybody who needed his help.
The focus of the presentation was BI 4.0. Steve: “What’s New in BI 4.0? Everything!”
He then went on to elaborate the key themes of the release:
“When did being open get passé?!” asked Steve: “Open is still cool. Being open is powerful.” He explained that the ability to access ANY data is one of the key strengths of BusinessObjects: “We are freakin’ open. We can report off of smoke signals.”
He illustrated the point showing off the real-time integration capabilities with a retail demo. “Here’s the ‘traditional’ dashboard that shows you your sales by store, that looks so good that your CEO would love it, even if he didn’t understand it”:
“But let’s see what you can do with real real-time data”. As he grabbed a pair of jeans, a security camera tracked the movement and added extrapolated information such as an estimate of gender and age (this is a real retail solution from a partner).
As Steve chose a pair of Jeans, a “conversion” was registered in the dashboard at the top of the screen:
Steve was joined up on stage by Jason Rose, VP of BI solution marketing (@rosejason on Twitter),, showing a demo of the integration between SAP and Google Maps: “not just what and when: where!”. Jason did a great demo of the third-party GMaps Plugin for Dashboards by Ryan Goodman of Centigon Solutions that allows you to draw areas on the screen that you’d like to analyze further.
Jason then did a demonstration of sentiment analysis on a twitter stream, using Text Analysis and Dashboards: “social data shouldn’t be yet another silo with a specific solution” (you can take a look at the technology yourself at the experience SAP web site).
Stephanie Buscemi, Group VP of Marketing, Business Analytics, did a world premiere demo of the next version of SAP BusinessObjects Explorer including offline explorationand the new “Exploration Views” prototyped by the SAP BusinessObjects Innovation center (available first half of next year). Stephanie also showed the latest BusinessObjects Mobile BI product that allows you to access Web Intelligence reports on an iPad.
Fred Samson came up on stage to demonstrate affinity analysis using SAP Dashboards on top of a HANA datasource — real-time access to 3 Terabytes of retail data, with sub-second response times.
My personal favorite of the show: Jack Miller, GVP for SAP Streamwork and BI OnDemand talked about collaborative business intelligence, with BI information included in a StreamWork “Activity”, and StreamWork feeds appearing directly within the BI portal.
Steve finished up with a summary of why he believes SAP BusinessObjects provides the most complete suite of analytic products available today on the market