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Yesterday Andreas Krause, SAP EMEA BI Centre of Excellence,  gave a webcast on SAP Design Studio, describing it as the "new tool for dashboarding on top of SAP BW & Hana"

Figure 1: Source: SAP

Where does Design Studio fit in?  Figure one shows the high level areas.  On the right is Reporting, which has a fixed layout, highly formatted information, combination of the look and feel

On the left side there is Discovery and Analysis which is all about the data, trends, detect outliers, format of data is third priority

In the middle is Dashboards & Apps, where Design Studio, which offers a mix of formattingand ability to interact – showing information in a visual way toward the end user.

Figure 2: Source: SAP

In Figure 2, Andreas reviewed what a dashboard is.  Design Studio is for professionally authored dashboards, created for the purpose to align to objectives & KPI’s

Figure 3: Source: SAP

SAP offers two tools for professionally authored dashboards.

SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards known as XCelsius is for highly visualized presentations.

Design Studio will build dashboard apps on top of multi-dimensional data

Figure 4: Source: SAP

Andreas said we are moving away from traditional dashboards of KPI tracking to BI applications where the app is designed to perform specific activities for the users and moving to a more higher level of user interaction with the application and visualization.

This is the main purpose of Design Studio – it is not just about dashboard – but working with the BI application – for the developer to create the BI application

Figure 5: Source: SAP

With Design Studio you get a what you see is what you get design environment.

You see what the user sees as you design

According to Andreas it offers a large set of design components, such as components for filtering, grid layout

It has a drag  & drop operation

Scripting language  is a subset of JavaScript

It offers connectivity to BusinessObjects BI platforms to use it as the run time environment with lifecycle management

In terms of mobility it offers iPad support

It has direct access to BW to query / cube / hana view

Andreas then discussed "three sets of challenges" that Design Studio covers.

Challenge Set 1:

Andreas said Design Studio provides information from a trusted data source from wherever the user sits - mobile or desktop

Figure 6: Source: SAP

Figure 6 shows it can connect to your query, you can place relevant objects into specific view/column/rows, and directly create a chart component

Figure 7: Source: SAP

Figure 7 shows the QR code – to open application in Safari

Second option is via BI platform with Mobile BI 4.4 – to be released (BI4 SP05 prerequisite)

Challenge Set 2:

Push BI adoption with a scalable solution

Figure 8: Source: SAP

Figure 8 shows you can apply simple filters and adopt the layout and output of the application and change chart types, change style of the charts

It has drill down capabilities

With BW it enables support for currency conversion if required

Figure 9: Source: SAP

Connections through BI platform are available in Design Studio along with available HANA sources, as shown in Figure 9

Challenge Set 3:

The next challenge was to "reuse existing analysis assets & integrate" and "flexibility and ease of design"

Figure 10: Source: SAP

The data sources re-use the BEx queries from BW and hana views, with no metadata in between.  It connects directly to queries and views as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 11: Source: SAP

Figure 11 shows that Design Studio offers out of the box hierarchy and currency conversion support

Figure 12: Source: SAP

Andreas said the "ease of design" will help shorten development time, with the drag and drop capability to place components at exactly at the place needed, with a pixel perfect layout, and WYSIWYG design time as shown in Figure 12.

Figure 13: Source: SAP

Because the experience is different desktop versus iPad different templates are offered.  The iPad offers a touch screen so as a result there are dedicated templates for iPad and Desktop

Figure 14: Source: SAP

Roadmaps involve the usual legal disclaimer and that things are subject to change.  Figure 14 shows the current roadmap.

Current solution is 1.0; this was launched at SAPPHIRE Madrid

It is built in JavaScript

Planned innovations are in the middle and indicated the "next release".  It is planned to support integrated planning, report to report interface, sample applications, custom themes, extended chart configuration, and an analysis view as a data source

Future direction is usually 12-18 months out:

  • - Saving BI application – enable on BW side – get document integration
  • - SDK
  • - Conversion support from existing WAD/Design
  • - Additional data sources  - existing semantic layer from BI platform
  • - Open data protocol – ODBC JDBC data sources

Figure 15: Source: SAP

What does this mean for existing customers asks Figure 15.

If using BEx Web Application Designer then look to moving to Design Studio – not just for the web but for the mobile device

Dashboard customers using with relational data sources continue to use and upgrade to HTML5

If using BW as a data source consider using new dashboards in Design Studio

Question & Answer:

Q: Is Android version available?

A: No specific Android version available now

Q:  Offline reporting?

A: You need to be connected to your back end system for a level of interactivity – no offline support

Q: Gap between BEx Web Application Designer and Design Studio? Are there plans to close gaps?

A: Yes, this is a version 1.0 product, a matter of time to prioritization of features

Check out the SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio space for more information.

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