Archive for the ‘Lumira’ Category

Visual Intelligence Goes Predictive….

December 13th, 2012 5 comments

It was only a few short months ago when Visual Intelligence was released.  We were promised a rapid development and release cycle, but I never expected this many changes is such a sort time.

Here is a quick summary:

  • 1.0.1 – Visual data analysis and data discovery for the Desktop
  • 1.0.2 – Freehand SQL, Publish to Streamwork, Proxy support.
  • 1.0.3 – Universe  4.x
  • 1.0.4 – Basic Predictive, Export to Explorer (with Explorer 14.0.4), Geocoding Lat/Long
  • 1.0.5 & 1.0.6 – Bug fixes
  • 1.0.7 – Universe 3.x, 32-bit release, cell limit increase to 30M

Now both Visual intelligence and SAP’s newest Predictive Analysis are coming together and are available today in a single release.

Where To Find the New Release

The new, combined release is branded as Predictive Analysis 1.0.7.  It uses the same code base as Visual Intelligence, so any of your saved Visual Intelligence documents will open and work just fine with Predictive Analysis 1.0.7.

You can find the release under: Software Downloads > SAP Software Download Center > Support Packages and Patches > A-Z > P > SBOP Predictive Analysis Service > SAP predictive Analysis 1.0 > Entry by Component > Predictive Analysis 64-bit > Windows on x64 64bit.  The file size is 238885 kb and was released on 11/19/2012.

Download PA on Service Marketplace

If you want to install it, there are a couple of tricks to getting it to install correctly, so you’ll want to follow my instructions below.

Installing Predictive Analysis 1.0.7

The download and initial installation is very straightforward – but before long I needed installation help, which was the motivation for this blog post.

First you must uninstall the following old products:

  1. SAP Predictive Analysis
  2. Visual Intelligence
  3. R (any version)

If you don’t you’ll receive a message at installation time that says, “incompatible products installed.’

I also recommend when you install the product to use “Run As Administrator” just to make sure there aren’t initial issues.

It will complete without asking any questions and like Visual Intelligence will allow you to use it for 30 days without a keycode.

Predictive Analysis is ready to go.

Using Predictive Analysis with R

The great news with SAP Predictive Analysis is that the software distribution now includes a menu option which will use web services to connect to the R distribution library and automatically download and install R for you.  The current release supported here is R 2.15.1.

The one challenge is that the installation of R will cause an error because the R distribution has changed since SAP Predictive Analysis was released and there is an error in the install script which will cause the installation script to fail.

The problem is explained in this SAP NOTE:

You can avoid the error and everything will work fine if you fix the R install script prior to attempting to install it.

64-bit Fix

  1. Simply download the updated inputpackages64.txt file here (Right Click – Save As): 
  2. Replace the existing inputpackages64.txt in the $ with this one.  (Default installation directory is:  C:Program Files (x86)SAP Predictive Analysis)
  3. Continue with the R Installation instructions.

 32-bit Fix

  1.  Simply download the updated inputpackages32.txt file here (Right Click – Save As): 
  2. Replace the existing inputpackages32.txt in the $ with this one.  (Default installation directory is:  C:Program FilesSAP Predictive Analysis)
  3. Continue with the R Installation instructions.
NOTE:  Although SAP software is often downloaded as a .EXE, you can always
manually unpack the .EXE file by using a utility like WinRAR.  Here is
a previous post about the topic:

Installation Help – Installing R Step by Step

From the File menu choose Install and Configure R.

Install and Configure R

This will make sure that the correct version of R is downloaded and configured with SAP Predictive Analysis.  It will download R-2.15.1

R Installation Screen

You will see the download process begin.  The R download package is almost 50 MB.

Downloading Progress...

R will begin to install after the download.

Extracting files and installing R

Next it will download individual additional libraries which are needed.

Downloading supplemental libraries

If you updated the installation file, R and all the required packages should install correctly.

The final step to complete the installation is go into the Configure tab and set the configuration to point to your R library.  The default directory should be correct.

Final Step - Tell Predictive Analytics Where R is Located

Fixing Your R Installation Manually

If you were not able to modify the installation file, you can also complete the installation of R manually.  Here is the message you are likely to see if you did not update the installation program.

ERROR:  R installation not successful.  Detail: R-2-15.1 is installed successfully. But failed to install the required R packages.  Ensure that you are connected to the internet and you have Administrator rights to install software on the computer.

Common Error When Installing R

The Good News is that the core R software has installed correctly.  The only part that failed was the downloading of all the add-on libraries that Predictive Analysis needs for all the build-in predictive functions.  We will need to install the following libraries one by one.

  • arules
  • XML
  • caret
  • DBI
  • monmlp
  • PMML
  • rJava
  • reshape
  • Plyr
  • Foreach
  • Iterators

You can manually download them one-by-one from the R website:

Or you can download all the required files from my blog and unzip them:

  1. Open the RGui Console (Start > Programs > R > Rx64 2.15.1)

    Installing Packages Manually

  2. Choose Packages > Install Package(s) from local zip files
  3. Select the zip files one by one and install them, you may ignore any warnings.  After the package installs successfully you will get the following message:  Package packagename successfully unpacked and MD5 sums checked.
  4. If you want to test that a library is installed, go to the R Console command prompt and type:  library(rJava).  Press Enter.  It is successfully installed if you don’t see any errors.
  5. You can also check in your R library folder, which is located here:  [R_INSTALLATION_FOLDER]library.  This is typically C:UsersPublicR-2.15.1library for Windows 7 users.

Additional Troubleshooting Help

If you need additional help, check out the following excellent resources:

PA 1.0.7 Troubleshooting Guide

Install Guide for PA 1.0

Let me know if you’ve got any additional installation or configuration issues and solutions in the comments below.

Hopefully I can save your a few hours of troubleshooting.


Visual Intelligence and Predictive Analysis will continue to be licensed separately.  If you only need data visualization, then you will only need to purchase a license for Visual Intelligence.  If you want to add Predictive, then you need to purchase a license to enable that functionality.

License Key Screen in Predictive Analysis

Here in the Help > Enter License Key, you can see that both Visual Intelligence and Predictive Analysis license keys are recognized.

«Good BI»


New 90-day free trial to SAP Visual Intelligence

September 11th, 2012 3 comments

It’s New!

It’s Cool!

It’s Wow!

It’s like two aspirin for that DeskI hangover!

… and it’s available FREE for 90 days!

11/12 UPDATE:  This was a limited time offer.  The free trial is now 30 days.

SAP Visual Intelligence is now available for download.  It provides the ability to connect to data sources such as MS Excel, Relational databases (SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase IQ, Teradata), Universe (unx) and HANA.

To enjoy your 90 day free trial go here:

… and don’t forget to leave feedback for our product team so we can continue to make this new innovation product better!




«Good BI»

BusinessObjects BI Decision Tree

May 21st, 2012 1 comment

UPDATE 10/5/2012:  Things have continued to evolve since May and therefore this post has been updated based on the latest roadmap information coming from SAP together with, as always, some of my own thoughts and opinions.

The good news, bad news about the SAP BusinessObjects product suite is that although there is a lot of best-of-breed functionality there, it can sometimes be a challenge to know what tool to use in every situation.

As a result, I did some research, leveraged some pre-existing content from SDN and came out with this updated BI Decision Tree.

BI Decision Tree

I have updated this decision tree to include the two recent product announcements

  • SAP Visual Intelligence
  • SAP Predictive Analysis

This chart is not meant to be a definitive guide to selecting the right tool because there are always additional factors to consider, but by and large this will get you there most of the time.

Click on Chart to Enlarge

10/5/2012 CLARIFICATION:  If you are doing Business Intelligence of SAP BW, you should be always look at using Analysis for Office for OLAP Analysis within Excel and Analysis for OLAP for OLAP analysis over the web.  These solutions are premium alternatives to the legacy BEx Analyzer for Excel and BEx Web respectively.  Personally I prefer Analysis for Office for all my BEx Analysis just because I prefer the performance and interface of Excel to the one delivered on the web.

Analysis for Application Design (Code named Zen) is still under development and will be the premium alternative for Web Application Designer.  Here is the official SAP SOD for dashboarding.  So glad Miko pushed for this webinar!

WebIntelligence Rocks

Since I discovered Business Intelligence using Crystal Reports and consider it my “first love”, this admission hurts.  I had this blog 90% written when it hit me.  Does anyone even use Analysis for OLAP?  Why put it on the chart? Everyone uses WebIntelligence for connecting to OLAP data.

Today,WebIntelligence provides OLAP connectivity through the semantic layer and the WebIntelligence user interface is OLAP aware with a grown up OLAP look & feel.  It can feel like a native OLAP tool instead of a relational tool that just flattens OLAP data.

10/5/2012: WebIntelligence is not a native OLAP tool so there are limitations.  If you are using SAP BW, only Analysis for Office and Analysis for OLAP are native OLAP tools and will give the full richness of an OLAP experience.  Some capabilities that are not supported by WebIntelligence are:

  • The ability switch hierarchies without “refreshing” the report
  • Ranking data at a given hierarchy level

The End of Analysis for OLAP?

SAP customers that I’ve worked with are using WebIntelligence to do their formatted reporting and Analysis for Office to keep their finance users happy.  I see some Crystal Reports, but WebIntelligence came a long way in BusinessObjects v4.0 with formatted reporting.

Did you see any Analysis for OLAP sessions at Sapphire this year?  I didn’t think so.  And typically session content is driven by customer interest.

It’s a lonely time for Analysis for OLAP (a.k.a. OLAP Intelligence, OLAP Analysis, Seagate Analysis – boy I’m feeling old).

10/5/2012: I’ve received some feedback from folks saying that Analysis for OLAP is alive and well and has parity functionality with Analysis for Office.  Well, it’s not quite parity when it comes to all the shortcuts and right-clicks, but if you can’t use Analysis for Office, then it does get the job done.  

Your Thoughts

Please let me know your thoughts on this topic.

Do you find it pretty easy to help customers know what tools to use when?

«Good BI»


OnDemand Access on the iPhone

February 26th, 2010 2 comments

When Apple came out with the first iPhone, I was pretty amazed.  When corporate decided not to get us Blackberry’s I decided the time was right to get the new iPhone 3G.  I wondered how long the magic would last… 2 months?  maybe 3?  18 months later I’m as in love with my iPhone as ever…   Each day there are new apps.  I’ve got apps for twitter, shazam, memo recording, dictionary, tv listings, the list goes on and on.  Even though I can’t get corporate email “pushed” to my InBox, I don’t care.  My iPhone is WAY too much fun.

Now the fun has been extended to  BI for the iPhone.

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer for the iPhone

Back in December of 2009, the Innovation Center released the first prototype iPhone App which provided the same ease-of-use exploration capability that I had with the web version.  The only problem with the prototype version was that it came with a predefined sample dataset that couldn’t be changed.  It was a fun to demo and play with but wasn’t of much practical use.  That all changed 4 days ago.

iPhone Goes OnDemand

Today I downloaded version 1.1.233 which contains on important new feature.  Now I can access any datasets  that I have loaded up using my SAP OnDemand Account.  It’s great to see this solution taking shape.

Key Features
Search Across Data – Simply type in a few words or data elements and Explorer brings your data source to the top of the list.
Automatic Data Relevancy and Chart Generation – Have Explorer automatically bring the most relevant data element to the fore and generate a best fit chart based on the number of dimensions and measures.
Speed – Because the back-end data sources are index in memory, result are instantaneous.  Performance is perfect.
Share Results – your results can be instantly email your insights to other users who don’t have access to Explorer!

iPhone Demo

Here is a video that was posted by the SAP Innovation Center.

Please let the innovation center know what you think about these innovations.  Let’s bring it into the mainstream product by popular demand!  Email them:

Finding Out More…

If you are interested in additional information SAP BusinessObjects Explorer go here:

Want to try our OnDemand Solution free for 30 days?  go here:

If you are interested in other mobile solutions, you have to checkout RoamBI:

«Good BI»

Categories: Lumira Tags: , , ,

Walking Through SAP BusinessObjects Explorer

September 16th, 2009 3 comments

Today I attended the GABOUG quarterly meeting and saw a really nice presentation of SAP BusinessObjects Explorer by Rob Fiorillo of RFP Consulting.  He showed multiple demos.

During the first demo, he wanted to show how to use Explorer with data from Excel, so he used Live Office to take the data out of the EDW.  He then imported the data into SAP BusinessObjects Explorer using the new plug-in from labs called, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer with Excel Navigation Prototype.

There are currently two versions of SAP BusinessObjects Explorer.  There is:

  • SAP BusinessObjects Explorer Accelerated
  • SAP BusinessObjects Explorer

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer AcceleratedThe Accelerated version provides unlimited scalability of in memory processing for data regardless of size and is really the way to go.  It requires the use of SAP’s Netweaver BW 7, BWA Blades and SAP BusinessObjects Explorer Blades.

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer (non-Accelerated) – Organizations can use the non-accelerated version, but there are limitations to the amount of data SAP BusinessObjects Explorer non-Accelerated can handle.  In 2010, SAP BusinessObjects will be bringing a “BWA Blades for non-SAP data” to the market, which will overcome the existing limitations.

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer breaks new ground with the way it brings together:

  • Fast Performance
  • Unlimited Data
  • Intuitive User Experience

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer Demo Site

A great example of the solution is represented my the demo site.  Click below and take it for a test run.

Incredible Data Volumes

The microfinance website does a great job of showing you the intuitive user interface while and the same time demonstrating the large data volumes that can be processes.  This demo site is running a relatively small data sample of 27 million records, but look at the response time!

That’s fast!  0.016s to return a result set of 1,123,000 records.  Also what I love about SAP BusinessObjects Explorer is that I am able to see the desired metric broken down by every  dimension member.  In the screenshot above you can see that of the selected sample, 498 are Existing Clients, 375 are New Clients and 250 are Former Clients.

I am fascinated by the growth of in memory solutions within the BI Marketplace.  Qliktech’s QlikView is probably one of the better know solutions in the space.  With Explorer, SAP BusinessObjects answers the call of the industry to provide in-memory solutions for organizations who have standardized on their platform.  The good news is that you no longer have to deploy niche solutions to get the type of in-memory performance many of your end-users would love.

«Good BI»

Categories: BI Platform, Lumira Tags: ,