May 13 2011

Is Your System Hot or Cold? Or Both?

Categories: General, Rants Dave Rathbun @ 12:08 pm

In a recent tweet I shared a short story (it’s on twitter, it has to be short!) about something I witnessed earlier today. I was in our break-room getting ready to eat lunch. I was waiting in line for my turn at the microwave when a person walked into the room, grabbed a cup, and filled it with ice from the ice-maker. That’s not so unusual. What caught my interest was what they did after that. They went to the coffer maker where there is a hot water spigot (for making soups or hot chocolate) and proceeded to cover the ice with super-heated water.

I was first amused as I thought to myself, “What’s the point?”

Immediately upon asking myself that question, I was reminded of a number of different BI solutions that I have been asked to deliver over the years. So many times I have been asked to provide a [report|database|reporting system|universe] that “includes everything” so that the business user can pick out what they’re interested in. Large reports or universes seldom reach critical penetration in the business simply because they try to do too much. If you want ice, get some ice. If you want hot water, get some hot water. But when you try to do both at the same time, you get neither. The result is simply a lukewarm puddle.


Oct 14 2010

SAP Name Changes… Or Will They?

Categories: Rants Dave Rathbun @ 8:45 am

There is a wonderful summarized post by fellow SAP Mentor Jon Reed that outlines all of the new product name changes coming with the 4.0 release. There are a couple of interesting points that I wanted to emphasize; you can read the full post using the link below.

First, Web Intelligence was supposed to get a new name. We heard that over and over. Ultimately SAP went to a number of different groups and asked about the name changes. I was fortunate to be in one of those groups, and we told SAP in no uncertain terms that Web Intelligence was a name with market value, with history, and it deserved to stay. Especially given the new name of “Interactive Analysis” that was proposed. First of all, Web Intelligence does not have to be interactive. Second, it is not limited to analysis. And with the combination of Pioneer being re-branded as Advanced Analysis, we wanted to know what made Pioneer (a completely different tool designed for OLAP cubes) any more advanced than Web Intelligence? So the good news is that Web Intelligence will stay Web Intelligence, so score a point for us. :)

Ultimately they dropped the “advanced” from Advanced Analysis and went with SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for the combined BEx + Voyager aka Pioneer project.

Second, Xcelsius is going to be re-branded as SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards. I get it… I really do. SAP is a multi-national company and having product names that say what the product does is a clear advantage for naming. But with the rapid growth and acceptance of Xcelsius in the marketplace, why lose that name recognition? One excuse given is that the name is “too close” to the Excel base that Xcelsius was originally based on. I get that too.

Then again, maybe the Roambi folks will blow Xcelsius out of the water and we’ll all be arguing over what that product should be named once SAP buys it instead. :P And no, I’m not trying to start any rumors, nor do I have any inside information. And while I am on the subject, it’s pronounced “roam-bee” as in the insect, not “roam-B-Eye” as most folks seem to want to do.

Jon has provided a far more robust list of products and name changes, so be sure to check out his post linked below for the full story.

Related Links


Aug 30 2010

What does personal grooming have to do with business intelligence?

Categories: Rants Dave Rathbun @ 8:40 pm

This post is a bit outside of my normal technical content. I was struck by something on the way home today and can’t get it out of my head until I write it down. For the past several years (since 2005, I think) I have had a beard. A few weeks ago, I shaved it off. Guys that have worn then removed beards will probably be able to answer this next question: What is the most common comment I receive from people that are seeing me for the first time without my long-time beard? Continue reading “What does personal grooming have to do with business intelligence?”


Jul 27 2010

iPad Keyboard … Feature?

Categories: Rants Dave Rathbun @ 11:16 pm

I had to laugh today as I noticed a particular feature on my iPad. :lol: I was getting ready to log in to BOB. Here’s the screen shot. If you examine it closely you might see what amused me…

BOB Login Screen

I will give you a few moments to look over the screen shot. Pay careful attention to the keyboard… when you are ready for the answer, click …. Continue reading “iPad Keyboard … Feature?”


May 14 2010

Facebook: It’s All About the Data

Categories: General, Rants Dave Rathbun @ 5:59 pm

Whether you’re a Facebook user or not (I am not) it has been hard to avoid the furor recently over some of the changes the service is making. One article at Newsweek.com says:

The fear is that people are being lured into Facebook with the promise of a fun, free service, and don’t realize that they’re paying for it by giving up loads of personal information.

Why is Facebook in hot water now, when other Internet-based companies like Amazon have been collecting and using our personal data for years? Maybe it’s because Amazon doesn’t automatically add new apps to your profile if you browse other sites while logged into their service. (Facebook reportedly allows this, although some articles are now providing responses from Facebook that dispute exactly how this process is supposed to work.)

I’m not writing this post to bash Facebook (you can probably find plenty of that already). I’m writing this post because I wanted to share an interesting visualization that I found from an author named Matt McKeon. He shows how the privacy settings for Facebook have broadened over the years. He also admits that some of the data had to be “made up” because he does not have access to hard numbers from Facebook, so read the information with that in mind. Continue reading “Facebook: It’s All About the Data”


Oct 18 2009

It’s Not Always The Report Writers Fault

Categories: General, Rants Dave Rathbun @ 11:08 am

I recently attended the 2009 TechEd conference. Here is a copy of the top portion of the session evaluation form. Notice anything that might cause a problem?

I know that form was reduced to fit the size of the page so it may not be immediately obvious what I think the issue is. In order to make it more clear I have posted a larger view of the specific survey choices.

Look at it for a bit and when you’re ready … Continue reading “It’s Not Always The Report Writers Fault”


Sep 18 2009

Use Contexts, Dammit

Categories: Rants, Universe Contexts, Universe Design Dave Rathbun @ 7:27 am

I haven’t had a good rant in a while. I’m overdue.

Here are some real comments that were posted on BOB.

I already have around 18 contexts in Universe and hence I dont want to add any extra

The last two companies I have worked at, forbade the use of contexts

I only create contexts when I’ve got no other choice.

And this one wins the prize:

Here’s a list of what I cannot do (client requirements)

1. Cannot use contexts in the universe.

If you recognize one of your comments, please understand I am not ranting about you as a person, but about the sentiment or opinions expressed in the comment itself.

As a consultant, my job was sometimes to deliver a solution. At other times my job was to provide advice. My advice was based on my assessment of two things: what the client told me they wanted, and what I felt like they really needed. :) Continue reading “Use Contexts, Dammit”


Oct 24 2008

The Passing of an Old Friend

Categories: General, Rants Dave Rathbun @ 9:09 am

Part of my recent presentation on Universe Designer was a listing of new features for XI 3.0. I will be writing about each of these features individually in some upcoming blog posts. But there is one change that I didn’t include in my presentation, and it involves the passing of an old friend that has been with us since 1996.

I am talking about this:

Continue reading “The Passing of an Old Friend”


Sep 09 2008

SAP TechEd 2008 Day 2 Part II: Lv Updtng… Ur Doin It Wrng

Categories: 2008 SAP TechEd, Rants Dave Rathbun @ 5:39 pm

It has been interesting to look around during some of the presentations and see what everyone is doing. I see some folks on twitter, some folks working on blog posts (I recognize the Wordpress blog edit screens as I use it myself), some folks having IM conversations… and people are barely paying attention to the presentations. I try to watch and absorb and remember (I take a few notes) and then blog later.

For example, the InnoCentive information I posted about just a little while ago came out on other blog networks while the general session was still going on! So I guess my “live” blogging is not nearly as live as it could be. When I went to the first-ever phpBB (the software used for BOB) conference in London I did live blogging from the main session room because there really weren’t any breaks. Here there is a separate (private) room for bloggers to set up and do their thing, so I’m not sure why (other than being “first to market”) they feel the need to blog during the actual presentation.

Not much time to check facts or add references that way either. :)


Aug 06 2008

What We Do Without Business Objects Knowing About It…

Categories: General, Rants Dave Rathbun @ 2:46 am

I got a comment from someone new recently who said:

Sigh. There is so much about Business Objects that makes me scream “WHY??? Who designed this thing? Nobody who has ever used it in the real world, that’s for sure!”

First it made me laugh. But then it made me think. At various points Business Objects has done things that made their users extremely frustrated, and it seems that sometimes it’s because they don’t know what people are doing with their products. The best example that I can think of happened a very long time ago, but it was a “biggie” as they say. It happened during the update from 3.1 to 4.0. Anyone else remember those exciting times? :lol:

Continue reading “What We Do Without Business Objects Knowing About It…”


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