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Welcome to 2018!

It's been a while since I've written one of these "State of the SAP BusinessObjects BI4 Upgrade" articles. In fact, I didn't write one at all during 2017. But there are some key events happening in 2018 that are going to affect BI strategy for many SAP customers.

Upgrading to SAP BI 4.2 in 2018 is a Must for On-Premise SAP BI Customers

First, the end of mainstream maintenance for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 is December 31, 2018. You'll want to take a look at BI 4.2 SP5 (released December 2017) or one of the upcoming SP6 or SP7 that will be released during 2018 to plan your upgrade during calendar year 2018 or Q1 in 2019.

Upgrading to SAP Lumira 2.1 in 2018 is a Must for SAP Lumira 1.x and SAP Design Studio Customers

It's difficult to believe, but SAP Lumira (first introduced as SAP Visual Intelligence) was first introduced six years ago at SAPPHIRE Orlando in 2012. But the end of mainstream maintenance for SAP Lumira 1.x, SAP Design Studio 1.x and their BI platform add-ons is August 31, 2018. Note that you'll need to upgrade to the most recent service pack of both SAP Lumira 1.3 and SAP Design Studio 1.6 to make the transition to 2.x easier. Matthew Shaw and others have blogged extensively about these upgrade details (see related article, A ‘simple’ guide to Updating (Upgrading) your SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform – the rules).

If you haven't made much headway with SAP Lumira 1.x/Design Studio 1.x, proceed directly to SAP Lumira 2.1.

BI Platform Add-Ons Are Still a Bad Idea

The Microsoft compiler "issue" that was introduced with SAP BI 4.2 SP4 proves the point that I've made for years - that add-ons to the BI platform need to eventually integrate (see this 2014 gem, Please integrate the integrated enterprise BI platform). I hope that customers that have wrestled over the years with add-ons for Explorer, Lumira and Design Studio will communicate to SAP just how much additional integration effort is placed on customers when it should be placed on the development teams.

We'll never see Explorer integrated into the BI platform (unless SAP changes course and decides to build a Flash-less HTML5 front end for it). But now that Lumira Discovery and Lumira Designer- , along with Crystal Reports and Web Intelligence- make up half of the simplified BI platform, it makes no sense that these applications are still missing after the platform installation finishes.

2018 Is the Year of the Information Design Tool

I know, I know. Year of the Dog sounds so much sexier. Nobody is forcing you to convert your old UNV universes to UNX. There is no end-of-support date for UNV universes. But at the same time, newer BI tools like SAP Lumira and SAP Analytics Cloud only support the new UNX format. SAP has even gone to the trouble to introduce a conversion tool in SAP BI 4.2 SP5 as part of a larger new feature called the Automation Framework. The Automation Framework was created to allow BI administrators to automate routine tasks such as updating reports to replace their UNV query connections with UNX query connections. I'll be talking about this new conversion feature at SAP Insider's BI 2018/HANA 2018 conference at the end of this month. The name of my session is entitled The Fate of the (SAP BusinessObjects) Universe Depends on You. That's also the name of a two-part series I published here on the SAP Community site (see related articles, The Fate of the Universe Depends on You, Part 1 of 2 and The Fate of the Universe Depends on You, Part 2 of 2).

Hybrid BI - We'll Know It When We See It

Expect SAP's messaging at SAPPHIRE and TechEd to revolve around "hybrid" BI as SAP gingerly pushes its customers to SAP Analytics Cloud while maintaining an unspecified amount of effort around the on-premise SAP BusinessObjects platform. SAP Mentor Tammy Powlas recently posted ASUG's 2017 BI Survey results revealing that over 80% of those surveyed use Web Intelligence (great news for the Paris team that develops Web Intelligence) and that over 2/3 of respondents aren't interested in moving to the cloud anytime soon (see related article, Announcing the @ASUG_BI 2017 Survey Results). Keep in mind that the "on-premise" BI platform is already certified to live in clouds hosted by Alibaba, Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, Google, or even SAP's Hana Enterprise Cloud, so "SAP Analytics in the Cloud" doesn't necessarily have to mean "SAP Analytics Cloud" (see what I just did there?). But SAP is betting most of its chips on SAP Analytics Cloud and smoothing its integration with the companion SAP Analytics Hub.

On February 15, 2018, SAP will host another #askSAP community call to present its SAP 2018 Strategy and Roadmap for Business Intelligence. Nic Smith will moderate a session that includes Jayne Landry, Blair Wheadon, and Adrian Westmoreland. You can register for the call here.

What are your plans for the on-premise SAP BusinessObjects BI platform in 2018? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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