In the past few weeks, there has literally been a blitz of analytics and business intelligence industry news. Starting with Tableau’s Conference, followed by Qlik Unsummit’s release of full Qlik Sense, followed the next week by SAP’s looooong list of announcements at ASUG’s SAP Business Objects User Conference(SABOUC), followed by Oracle World Cloud BI news and a notable move from TIBCO (Spotfire and Jaspersoft) to take their company private. Not to mention other interesting tid-bits like a cool custom mapping feature in Microsoft Power BI’s latest updates, Datameer 5.0 release, IBM Watson Analytics freemium offering and anticipated October previews, BigML’s enhancements, DecisionFirst Modeler, resolved ACID support in Hadoop HIVE and a video peek at Windows 10. Seriously, it feels totally impossible to keep up with the tech world these days. My head is exploding! Here is a quick summary of what I find really interesting in all this noise.
SAP BI and Analytics
WOW! SAP BI and Analytics is really moving fast. SAP shared roadmaps and news that SAP BO 4.2 is coming in 2015 along with the next release of SAP InfiniteInsight, and SAP Lumira enhancements. SAP is positioning SAP BO Design Studio as the corporate dashboard tool and SAP Lumira as the “trusted” self-service dashboard tool. Mammoth SAP seems to be leapfrogging a few niche data discovery vendors with their combined SAP BO, SAP Lumira and Infinite Insight (formerly KXEN) offering updates. SAP Lumira was already ahead of a few players in the area of data preparation. The added SAP BO Universe connectivity is also popular and rarely found in other data discovery solutions except Microsoft’s Power BI. Coming out of SABOUC, SAP Lumira is adding streaming data support, improved infographics, connectivity to Apache Hadoop/Hive 1 and 2, Cloudera Impala, Amazon EMR and RedShift, MongoDB, and OLAP data sources such as Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services and Oracle Essbase. These improvements place them in a much stronger competitive position.
SAP is continuing to express a simplification theme, reducing/merging solution offerings and pitching SAP HANA as the underlying enabler. However, Jayne Landry, global VP and GM of SAP business intelligence clarifies that SAP HANA is not required with BI 4.2 stating “If you have heard rumors that the next version of the BI Platform will require SAP HANA then I’d like to set the record straight – this is NOT true. With BI 4.2 we will continue to be open and agnostic”. Like Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella’s mobile-first mission, SAP’s BI strategy is now taking a mobile-first development approach. They are promising HTML5 experiences across SAP Lumira and SAP BO Design Studio going so far as to tout a Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tool for older Xcelsius dashboards.
The BI tides do seem to be shifting again. Another key announcement was plans for SAP Lumira content to become “first-class citizens” within the SAP BO platform for “trusted data discovery”. This news should appeal to SAP BI professionals and IT managers that have been pushing back on allowing competing data discovery tools and SAP Lumira due to limited enterprise security, auditing, scheduling, and governance. For additional SAP BO User Conference news, check out the awesome ASUG session decks, recent summary webcast and the #SABOUC twitter feed.
Oracle Cloud BI and Visual Analyzer
At Oracle World this week a new Cloud BI offering was announced with little detail (Update 10/2 most detailed info seen so far) and NO FREE TRIAL for a steep subscription fee of $250/per user per month. What are they thinking? Could Oracle be copying DOMO’s secretive tactics to hide the truth? I don’t know but I do feel that no free trial is suspicious and disappointing. It is not a good way to win business user hearts in the hot data discovery and cloud BI space that is already flooded with offerings that do have free trials and freemium packages. If you are interested in Oracle Cloud BI, Oracle literally tells you to call your Oracle sales rep…nice (not). Thus I have little info on this brand new solution from a large traditional BI player that is late to the Cloud BI market.
A new visualization and data discovery tool called Oracle Visual Analyzer was also announced (see YouTube sneak peek video). Oracle is pitching it as the “visual face of Hadoop”. The Oracle Visual Analyzer offering is built on Oracle BI and Endeca foundations. In addition to visualizations, Oracle Visual Analyzer includes automatic chart display recommendations, simple blending/mash-up of data sources by field name and point-and-click predictive analytics – meaning yet another data discovery player offering simple, business user predictive features joining TIBCO Spotfire, SAP Lumira w/InfiniteInsight (KXEN), IBM Watson Analytics, Datameer, Advizor Solutions and few others. Who said predictive was only for data scientists? Heck, predictive is finally going mainstream with the data discovery tools folks. I both love and hate it at the same time. I’ll share why I feel that way in a future article. In the meantime, I do need to get more information to provide deeper dive coverage on these announcements. Right now I feel like Oracle World BI news is an elusive, “me-too” move.
TIBCO going Private
For a few months now we have been hearing rumors and seeing articles in reputable sources about the possible sale of TIBCO. On Monday, news officially came out of TIBCO that indeed they are selling and a buyer was found – Vista Equity. This deal will return TIBCO to a privately held status. As a private company, it will be easier to sell undesirable offerings, focus resources and invest differently. This change should allow Spotfire to shine more brightly in the future. Stay tuned for other TIBCO, Spotfire and Jaspersoft related news during the TIBCO NOW conference on November 3 – 5, 2014.