This, as is always the case with me, is a blog post that has been stewing for a long time now. I think it has become mandatory for all my blog posts to be written on planes (maybe it’s the thin air up here?) and this one is no exception. Back in October last year, I was about to board a flight to Singapore to speak at the SAP Insider BI 2012 event, when I received a mail from Kevin Poskitt from SAP.

A few months prior to this I had written the blog post How Real-Time is SAP’s Real-Time data platform.  The gist of the post was that SAP has a great stack of technologies now with the BusinessObjects and Sybase acquisitions, and I was suggesting that SAP “give away” the ETL and Database pieces of the offering to ensure that customers have an end-to-end solution from them.

When the mail came in from Kevin Poskitt, my initial reaction was that I was in trouble for shooting my mouth off (as always), but actually, I was super excited by what I read. Kevin Poskitt introduced me to the  SAP BusinessObjects Analytics Edition bundles from SAP. Instead of me mumbling on about what they are, take a look at the YouTube video below to get an idea of the offering:

  • Classic BusinessObjects bundle information from the 3:24 mark
  • BusinessObjects Analytics Edition information 4:53 mark
  • Analytics edition bundle pricing from 7:07

Three key points I want to make on this:

  • Unlimited SAP and flat file data sources and 2 other DB types. Most historic platforms that I have sourced data from in the past have always come off extracts/dumps and with this version you get unlimited flat file loads which is awesome.
  • Data Quality included in the Edge Edition – ready my post here on my thoughts about the state of Data Quality today
  • Sybase IQ starts at 16 cores – I have run some SERIOUS implementations with far less cores so there is definitely more than enough horse power there to keep you going for a while !

To me, that is a great offering, but as far as I was concerned, none of the customers knew about it. Roll onto the end of the year, and I was fortunate to be invited by Jon Reed to do a BI 2012 wrap up Google hang out, where again, I was questioning why customers were not running out and opting for this stack? From where I sit, it is a super compelling offering!  As mentioned above in the video, with only an additional 20 % add on to your presentation layer cost, you are getting a world class ETL and Database engine as part of the deal.

What happened more recently, was super concerning to me. About four weeks back I was asked by The Eventful Group to facilitate one of their round table discussions ahead of their BI 2013 conference later in this year. For anyone who is familiar with these discussions, you will know that the attendees are only customers, and the sharing and thirst for knowledge always makes these discussions worthwhile. Half way through the morning, we got talking about the EDW world and the tools available from SAP, when one customer piped up: “Yes, but all those tools add up and they are not cheap”. I then, as the facilitator, asked the question: “Has anyone here heard about the BusinessObjects Analytics Edition offering from SAP bundling all these products together”? As I love to say… crickets… nothing? In a room of 30 people, 18 of which were individual customers, not one of them had heard about the offering. I quickly explained how it all fits together, and almost all attendees were scribbling down notes to explore things further.

Now to me, that is such a huge pity, as this bundle really is an amazing offer and for the “classic” BusinessObjects or EDW folk, with Sybase IQ powering your analytics and controlling your data flow with Data Services, the world could become a much better place. For those who are wondering, …… No … I have not drunk the SAP cool-aid  ???? , but just believe in the technology stack.

As a well-known Sybase IQ groupie, price point in the SME market was always tough to beat and often a non-starter. With this run time version of Sybase IQ, I can bet my bottom dollar, well South African Rand, that there are 1000’s of BusinessObjects customers, with various row based databases, out there which are bleeding with performance issues. Often, complex ETL and Datamart upon Datamart are implemented to solve this problem, however, these problems could almost all go away for only 20 % of your presentation layer spend! I am pretty outspoken about the various presentation tools often being the “lipstick on the pig” solution to a problem, but now, with leading ETL and DB engine, you can get things done properly from the ground up, the way it should be done.

So, what’s my quest this year? Isn’t it obvious? To let as many customers and partners know about this amazing offering.  My good friend and fellow SAP Mentor, Joshua Fletcher , and I have put together a presentation for various events this year, which is based purely on live demos, walking attendees through the technology sets and showing them how they all seamlessly integrate together. I’m really hoping that this can help educate customers on what is out there.

My good friends at the DSLayer recently interviewed Jayne Landry from SAP about the bundles that SAP are offering, and you can listen to that podcast here. Key take away for me, is that this offer is not only for net new customers, but also for existing customers.

As always, I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on the topic, and if you need more help/info on the above or want to talk Josh and I into a road trip to do some live demos, then please feel free to reach out to us.

P.S. Jayne Landry also mentions some HANA offerings in the podcast that are going to be released soon which sound exciting.

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