A Quick Primer on Dashboarding with Zen -- and SAP’s Recommendations
by Scott Wallask, Managing Editor, BusinessObjects Expert
April 18, 2012
Find out what Zen is and how it relates to SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards.
April 18 was an interesting day for dashboard fans. You not only got a peek at SAP’s future plans for Xcelsius and BusinessObjects Dashboards, but also learned of a new name that promises to have a significant effect on dashboards: Zen.
Zen is the code name of an upcoming SAP technology that ties into SAP NetWeaver BW and SAP HANA. Zen will work with HTML 5 to render dashboards for both desktops and mobile devices (mainly iPads to start).
|HTML 5 refers to the latest edition of Web programming language. HTML 5 features options that allow more flexibility for presenting audio and video on Web pages.
Zen is part of a three-pronged approach SAP is taking with dashboards for the remainder of 2012, including:
- BusinessObjects Dashboards, which SAP will update for mobile use via HTML 5 options.
- Zen, which SAP will initially design for NetWeaver BW and HANA use, and eventually morph with BusinessObjects Dashboards into a seamless product.
- Exploration Views, which will be part of the upcoming BusinessObjects Feature Pack 3 and will provide “self-service views of information that you could loosely call dashboards,” said Mani Gill, vice president of BI solution management for SAP
Gill spoke during a webcast hosted by Xcelsius proponent Mico Yuk, founder of EverythingXcelsius.com. The information initially came out in a statement of direction published by SAP, and then was further explained by SAP representatives during the webcast.
Expect a test-drive version of Zen to appear by summer, with a ramp-up beginning in late 2012, Mani said.
We’ll have more about the future of dashboards soon for subscribers, but in brief, SAP’s recommendations are as follows:
- If you use BusinessObjects Dashboards or Xcelsius, continue to use the product and prepare for the new HTML 5 functions for mobility
- If you use BusinessObjects Dashboards on top of SAP NetWeaver BW, consider Zen for building new dashboards
- If you use SAP BEx Web Application Designer, consider Zen in the near future as your primary dashboard tool
As for the Webcast, give Yuk credit. She had to filter through hundreds of queries from attendees, but was able to pepper the SAP execs with important questions. Two of my favorites were:
Q: If I don’t have NetWeaver BW, should I care about Zen?
A: Perhaps not initially, as the first release of Zen will focus on SAP NetWeaver BW and HANA uses. However, in future releases, Zen will expand.
Q: Does this mean Xcelsius is becoming the next DeskI?
A: No. SAP replaced Desk Intelligence (DeskI) with Web Intelligence (WebI), and has tried to migrate customers to WebI. With Xcelsius, you don’t have to migrate to Zen. Instead, SAP hopes that eventually Xcelsius users will be able to use Zen seamlessly.
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