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Former Member

I've been thinking a lot lately about the evolution of the analytics market and in particular, the growth of data visualization as an interesting part of the ecosystem. From my point of view there are very few companies on the planet that don't have the ability to connect to data, analyze it, and share the information.

The market is massive, and there are easily accessible solutions ranging from SAP BusinessObjects (with the largest market share in the world) to open source BI solutions, all of which are pervasive. It's a very competitive market. And in general, technologies like SAP BusinessObjects deliver what large enterprise organizations want - high scale analytics for the masses vis-a-vis reporting, dashboarding, self-service query, and so on.

That said, it's obvious that technologies like SAP Lumira and those offered by Tableau address a base of users who want to quickly download a tool to query data and apply beautiful visualizations to that set of information. Why did the emergence of these tools take place given that the art of querying data has been around for a while?

I think there are a number of factors weighing in here, ranging from the business user's need to having quick access to data (unencumbered by IT), to the shift in types of data people need to access. What I find fascinating is that the issues around data haven't changed regardless of how the information looks. You could fly through your data in 3-D, but if your sales are terrible, that won't help you change how your company operates. This little quip is just my way of saying that analytics isn't just about looking at data - it's about acting on it. That's what SAP and BusinessObjects have espoused doing for decades!

It's not lost on me that SAP needs to lead on data visualization as well as business intelligence/analytics overall. SAP Lumira is the heart of our data visualization strategy. You can go to and download the desktop tool for free. If you want to share reports via a secure server, you can get access to that tool on the same site. You can even publish reports using SAP Lumira Cloud instantly as well! (Also free!) The experience is great and easy to access.

While Tableau may position itself as a company that understands how to make it easy to access software, SAP is focused on where the puck is headed. Visualization approaches like Infographics and secure information techniques like trusted data discovery help make SAP Lumira a better option for individuals, departments and companies. Period.

** Here's my countdown of the Top Ten reasons why SAP will deliver the best data visualization experience to our customers today and going forward:

10. We offer complete and secure agile visualization capabilities on mobile:   With over 1 million downloads so far, the SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI app provides the flexibility to visualize information while maintaining security and control for your data.

9. ACT on your data with performance management:   Let's say you've "visualized" some data and discover that you don't have enough inventory to meet demand. Your options are more limited with Tableau, but with SAP Lumira, you are able to take action with SAP's performance management solutions with just a click of the mouse.

8. With SAP Lumira, you’ll be the iron chef of data prep:  You can prep your data with a complete set of data manipulation capabilities in SAP Lumira. These allow users to easily and intuitively combine multiple data sources, create calculations, convert fields, filter, and more. Go even further with enterprise information management solutions including data integration, master data management, and information governance.

7. Bring enterprise BI and departmental BI together:   Break down departmental data silos and gain agility with trust by combining data discovery with SAP Lumira - all while maintaining security, governance, administration, management, and trust with the BI platform . See why Forrester Ranks SAP ahead of Tableau and Qliktech in the 2014 Agile BI Wave.

6. Build on what you already have:   With 45,000 customers using SAP BI technology, there's a pretty good chance you can take advantage of your existing BI investments by connecting directly to Universes and SAP Business Warehouse with SAP Lumira.

5. The next generation of visualization is with infographics:  What makes a visualization tool better is... better visualizations! The other thing that makes it better is ease of use. Think about what you do when you create a visualization using a data discovery tool. You cut and paste the charts into Microsoft PowerPoint. Why waste time doing all that? Tell your own story instantly in SAP Lumira with interactive infographics. Create the craziest visualization you can think of with custom visual extensions with D3. Go even further with integrated partner solutions like ESRI map integration. This is all flat out better in SAP Lumira.

4. We have predictive analytics for all types:  You can take advantage of integrated advanced analytics without needing a degree in data science. Visual discoveries bring predictive capabilities into SAP Lumira to help users uncover hidden insights they would have never known. You're literally a right mouse click away from being smarter.

3. Shift your focus to the "future" when using analytics:  The real value for business analysts is found using predictive/lead analytics, not lag reporting. You can't drive your car effectively by always looking at your rear view mirror. Use the larger windshield to look forward! You can put the results of predictive models in the hands of business users - in a way that makes sense and in their language – with SAP Lumira. Extend the visualization capabilities in SAP Lumira with more advanced analysis with SAP Predictive Analysis, including R library integration and support for custom predictive models.

2. Bring together a complete picture for BI – not a bunch of disparate departmental POV’s on your company:   Data discovery is one aspect of a BI strategy, but is it everything? How are you meeting the needs across the areas of reporting, dashboards, applications, and data discovery? Take advantage of the most complete portfolio of BI solutions on the market to address the needs across the organization from developers, IT, administrators, analysts, and decisions makers.

1. We make sure you don’t compromise:  You can grow your BI solution as your business grows and invest in a data discovery solution from the leader in business intelligence.

Connect with Steve on Twitter @nstevenlucas