biExport for Lumira Blog

Why Lumira Discovery? Why not consume data directly in PowerPoint!

created: 08.01.2018

We are getting a lot of requests of customers, who create infographics and storyboards in SAP Lumira Discovery and then want to export the result into PowerPoint.

Of course, biExport 4 Lumira Discovery is the right choice for them!

However, I have been wondering ever since why you would use Lumira Discovery to create charts and infographics that you actually want to show in PowerPoint? Why not create them directly in PowerPoint, then?

Is it because Lumira Discovery provides such good functionality? Or rather that there is no other product (that you know), which could deliver the desired result?

In today’s post I would like to discuss the usage scenarios of SAP Lumira Discovery. Then I would like to introduce you to an alternative solution, our biAnalytics for Office add in. I am sure you will love this alternative!

If I made you curious with this post, you can visit www.bianalytics.cloud for more information and a free trial!

Using Lumira Discovery & Exporting to PowerPoint

Most of the customers have one or both of the following usage scenarios in mind, when they start implementing SAP Lumira Discovery:

  1. Business users create drafts of their reports in Lumira Discovery, then they send it over to IT so they finish them in Lumira Designer.
  2. Business users “discover” data in Lumira Discovery (that means they transform existing data and they combine different data sets) and visualize them easily in nice charts.

Well, for the first scenario of course there is no alternative. SAP has spent a lot of effort bringing Lumira Designer and Lumira Discovery on the same platform, with the aim to make that work. Still it could be argued whether this is a real-world scenario or not –but this is another story. If you want to implement this scenario, of course you will use Lumira Discovery.

But what about the second scenario? That one is much more interesting, so let’s have a more detailed look at it from three perspectives:

1. Data Visualization with Lumira Discovery

SAP has put a lot of effort in the layout features. You can add texts, shapes, images, you can change colours and fonts etc. However, whenever I am using these features, I am strangely reminded of the features of PowerPoint. My second thought? Well, these features are much easier and more to use flexible in PowerPoint.

The consequence?

If you rebuild a lot of functions of a tool that is so widely known and excepted, you might not have spent your efforts well. Instead you could have made use of an existing tool and made your visualization features an addon to that tool, couldn’t you?

Actually, this is how we created biAnalytics for PowerPoint.

On the other side, the possibility to create my own CVOM extensions is a real cool feature. With their help I can create the perfect visualization / infographic for my data.

And because we like this feature, we have created a similar extension framework for biAnalytics

2. Data Preparation with Lumira Discovery

You can change source data, you can transform and filter, and you can combine data.

Sounds powerful, doesn’t it? Still I doubt that the normal business users will be able to use these methods.

Why?

There are two simple reasons:

  1. There are too many restrictions on how to combine data. If I want to combine a SAP BW query with data from a flat file, I have to “download” SAP BW data first. No live access is possible….
  2. The data combination features are just too complex. Frankly, I was struggling with preparing data in Lumira Discovery. And I have more than 15 years of experience in the field of business intelligence and data analysis! So I am trying to figure how lost a business user would be?

Still, preparing data is a crucial component of a self-service visualization tool. That’s why we kept this feature easy to use in biAnalytics

3. Sharing of Lumira Discovery reports

Lumira Discovery is a proprietary tool. Reports that a user created with it are only available:

  1. In the Lumira Discovery client itself
  2. In the Web Client
  3. As a plain PDF export

If you want to show some of your results during a PowerPoint presentation, you either have to switch back and forth between the two clients. Or you use our biExport addin.

Or…. Well, keep on reading!

The alternative: biAnalytics for PowerPoint

Now I would like to show you what we did differently in our solution. And you will see how much easier it is to use biAnalytics to create what you want.

First of all, there are several plain advantages:

  1. biAnalytics is tightly integrated with PowerPoint. It is simply an addon that you have to install.
  2. We did not have to rebuild, but we can reuse what’s already there
  3. We were able to put all our resources in building the visualization and data preparation parts to make this really easy to use and powerful.
  4. For all other parts, we were able to reuse features that are already really easy to use (and Microsoft knows how long a road it was to make a visualization tool easy to use – just think of the Office versions back in the 90s and early 2000s!)

Let’s have a detailed look on visualization and data preparation with the following two examples.

Integrating Data Warehouse Data in your PowerPoint presentation

We’re starting with a PowerPoint template I created with a color scheme and some pictures that represent the company’s identity.

Having biAnalytics Office installed I can now click on Add in the section Reports in my biAnalytics Tab to get direct access to the data sources
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I have several connections available in my account. Using the open bi framework biAnalytics is able to connect live to any kind of data source, in this case we see connections like Twitter, Facebook and Google, but also data bases like the OPENBI connection or SAP BW.
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I’m connecting to SAP BW and am now prompted with all available roles, folders and features that are available for my account. I choose a report and click on add.
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biAnalytics has now loaded the live data from the SAP system to PowerPoint – still we can’t see any data yet. Therefore we add a new visualization, in this case a chart. This will create a new PowerPoint Chart with live data from SAP BW. Since I have defined colors and font styles for the charts in my PowerPoint presentation the automatically created chart fits beautifully into my PowerPoint Design.

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I tweak the sizes a little bit, add a headline above the chart and reference the source at the bottom of the slide.

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Since biAnalytics is such an interactive tool I can also change the view of the data that is visualized. I pull up the transformation screen and see all the key figures and dimensions that are available in this report.

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Using drag and drop I switch from a Country based view to a Material view – biAnalytics pulls the data from the source system and the visualization automatically updates.

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This makes it incredibly easy to define custom views on the data or for example answer questions during a presentation in a spontaneous way.

Designing a query also does not change the way the data is stores in the source system.

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Combining and visualizing two data sources in Microsoft PowerPoint

I have prepared two data sources, in this case, that are very straight forward: The first one describes data for various articles in certain departments and their price. The second source contains of sales count for different articles for customers in certain countries on a specific date.

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In biAnalytics Office I have uploaded the first source as a flatfile. The other one is an SAP BW query. I can now create a new report in PowerPoint with biAnalytics Office installed. This new report is going to be a fusion cube – a combined report with the two sources.

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In the next screen I can add source reports.

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I choose the sources whereupon biAnalytics automatically recognizes dimensions and keyfigures.

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With drag and drop I can add the required fields to my new fusion data provider.

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By switching to ‘view’ the data from both reports is combined and aggregated. They now appear as one fusion report.

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The open bi technology on which biAnalytics is based upon makes it easy to add a new calculated key figure which multiplies data from the source reports. The report can now be saved in the OPENBI connection.

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The combined report can now be easily added to the existing PowerPoint report showing data from two distinct sources aggregated and with a single key figure calculated by key figures of the underlaying sources!

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