Feb 01 2011

Desktop Intelligence to Web Intelligence Influence Council

Categories: ASUG Dave Rathbun @ 1:04 pm

Today I attended a Desktop to Web Intelligence Migration influence council hosted by ASUG. Clearly based on posts on BOB there is a lot of frustration and trauma being experienced by folks that are deeply invested in Desktop Intelligence. I do not anticipate being an active participant in this council myself, but I wanted to hear what SAP had to say. The first thing they mentioned was the final support dates for Desktop Intelligence, and they depend on your customer support agreement. If you are on standard (mainstream) maintenance then you can continue to get support through 2015. For those customers that pay for priority one support, you get an extra two years, all the way out to 2017.

The next item on the agenda was yet another listing of reasons from SAP as to why Desktop Intelligence will be discontinued. They claim :) that there is a decreasing interest in the product, which I expect to be true but you would not know based on the very vocal responses on BOB to the contrary. Web Intelligence does currently cover the majority of the features, but there are some significant holes at this time. From a coding perspective, I am definitely going to miss the VBA capabilities, at least until I can get more comfortable with writing / implementing Java code.

As a part of the influence council, SAP is looking for help in understanding what customers need in order to make the conversion. Do we need more service offerings (consulting or products) to aid in that conversion? Are there specific features that are “must haves” in order to make the leap? What about the report conversion tool, are there additional options required there? One item that I have heard requested (and turned down) many times is the ability to open a .REP file directly in the rich client. From a user convenience perspective, it makes sense. From a coding / architecture perspective, it’s a terrible idea. The report conversion tool is a complex bit of code. It makes sense that it’s a standalone product. If they decide to include all of that logic within the rich client, then that’s an awful lot of extra baggage to carry around for a temporary use. And that extra code would also be present for any new customers that perhaps never even had any .REP reports to deal with. So despite the requests, I would be surprised if the rich client ever got the ability to directly open a .REP file.

But perhaps if the influence council decides it’s important enough, then the technical issues will be overruled and that feature will become part of the tool. The SAP representatives did confirm that the top two missing features are custom groups and free hand SQL. I’m not sure which is number one versus number two, but those requests do match my experience as far as conversations I have had with other users.

Bud Stewart from AT&T is the customer chair for this influence council. He had one slide where he talked briefly about the agenda in place, including the process of identifying key issues that current customers are finding as they go through the conversion.

I believe that further participation in the council is covered under a non-disclosure agreement, but I wanted to share the initial high-level topics that were mentioned on the kickoff call. It will be interesting to see the final resolution. And no, I don’t expect SAP to bring back Desktop Intelligence. :)

Jan 27 2011

ASUG News (January 2011)

Categories: ASUG Dave Rathbun @ 4:23 pm

There are several bits of ASUG news that I wanted to share, in case folks have missed them. First and foremost is the launch of the web site of the same name as this blog post: www.asugnews.com. The site is billed as an online magazine, but it’s not just content by members for members, they’ve hired a couple of recognized industry personages to write for the new site. The two dedicated writers are Thomas Wailgum and Courtney Bjorlin, and their biographies are summed up in Bridgette’s introductory post.

Thomas, formerly of CIO.com, brings more than 15 years of experience covering technology to ASUG. Courtney, formerly of SearchSAP.com, brings nearly a decade of reporting experience. They are award-winning reporters who understand the SAP ecosystem, and I am thrilled to have them leading ASUGnews.com.

I think this is an essential step forward for ASUG, in that it isn’t just a content aggregation of news and information that can be found elsewhere, but a portal for sharing new and unique content from dedicated resources.

My friend and fellow SAP Mentor Miko Yuk has helped launch the site with a blog post that I can certainly related to, titled, “SAP BusinessObjects in 2011: Top three questions from customers”

ASUG is also celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. Bridgette promises lots of interesting items to come. (Will there be cake?)

Finally, the annual (Spring) conference is just around the corner. My friend and co-worker (and Reportapalooza victor!) Brian Durning will be presenting. Check him (and many others) out if you attend, more details at www.sapandasug.com.

Sep 16 2010

DFW ASUG Chapter Meeting, Friday, September 16

Categories: ASUG Dave Rathbun @ 7:56 am

If you’re in the Dallas / Fort Worth area, and you’re not familiar with the local ASUG chapter meetings, tomorrow is a great chance to get introduced to the event. We have some wonderful speakers lined up, and then there’s me. :P Ginger Gatling is speaking, and she is a real dynamo when she gets behind a podium. I always enjoy hearing her speak. My friend (and ASUG Crystal SIG Chair and Reportapalooza competitor) Brian Durning is going to deliver a Crystal presentation. I’m going to update an old presentation of mine from six years ago, and make everything work in the new Web Intelligence Rich Client (WRC). It was a bit frustrating that so many things had to be updated. I have one trick with filters that I have not managed to get working on the new platform because the functions don’t work the same way now, but that’s another blog post.

If you’re not a member of ASUG yet, then why aren’t you? ASUG announced earlier this year that membership for BusinessObjects-only customers is free (that’s FREE) from now until the end of 2011. Seeing a local chapter meeting is one way to take advantage of that. Getting a discount on attending the fall conference in Orlando is another. Connecting to www.asug.com to review old recorded podcasts is still another way to see what ASUG has to offer, so why aren’t you doing any of these things? :)

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