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Learn these best practices for deploying SAP Lumira

SAP's self-service data visualization tool is ready to take on most SAP users' business intelligence needs. Here's how to lay the groundwork and get users the right software.

In May 2012, SAP announced the birth of a beautiful new addition to its analytics family: SAP Visual Intelligence....

One year later, this bundle of joy was renamed SAP Lumira after completing its vision quest. Now, through its toddler years, it's time for SAP users who shied away during SAP Lumira's infancy to get started with the visualization tool. Here are some best practices for getting the most out of your Lumira investment.

Talk is cheap, but SAP Lumira could be cheaper

Haven't refreshed your SAP BusinessObjects licenses in a while? It may be time to talk to your account executive. SAP Lumira -- and a bunch of other goodies -- are now included in the Business Objects Business Intelligence Suite license. If you're already on the BI Suite, it's probably a good idea to go see what else you have access to. Spoiler alert: It now includes limited-use licenses of a column store database, a data modeler, and an extract, transform load tool.

It's all about the platform

As of SAP BusinessObjects 4.1 SP03, SAP Lumira Server for BI Platform allows integration with the Lumira desktop application and viewing and updating Lumira content from a current-generation browser. Also, SAP Lumira for HANA is going away. This is a big win for usability. From a content creator perspective, the workflows for opening, saving and sharing a document are vastly improved by letting you save everything directly to the platform without having to do different operations in different ways. More importantly, your information consumers can get SAP Lumira content from the same place they get all of their reports and dashboards now: the BI Launchpad.

Stay up to date on the software

While the SAP Lumira Server for BI Platform can accommodate more than one version of the desktop client at a time, you'll want to keep it as far forward as you reasonably can. Although SAP is no longer releasing a new version every month, Lumira is still being updated frequently: You'll want to have access to the newest features, functions and stability improvements. One drawback: If your users have the ability to update their own desktop versions, your environment can quickly get out of sync.

Know that size matters

SAP Lumira desktop will only live on 64-bit machines after version 1.25, so you'll need to make sure that your analysts are running on a machine with a 64-bit Windows operating system. You'll also want to bring lots of memory to the table -- at least 8 GB. Anything less will leave users unsatisfied. Also make sure to size the Lumira Server according to SAP's latest official sizing guide, and be prepared to scale up once interest picks up.

Find a business-side champion

As an IT professional, you want people to use SAP Lumira because it's most likely already paid for (see above) and because of the enterprise features (security, governance, scalability) that just can't be matched by the other data visualization tools on the market. As a line of business deciding on a tool, your users don't care much what IT has to say; they'll want to hear it from somewhere else in the business. I recommend identifying a few potential champions, and doing your best technical sales impression for them: over train, over support, over invest yourself in their success. Once they get hooked, they'll be happy to advertise their success to the rest of the business.

Consider your audiences

Lumira is obviously a big part of SAP's analytics message right now, as well it should be, but that doesn't mean it is a magic wand. Most organizations will still need Webi and Crystal and Dashboards and Analysis and everything else they've always depended on. Lumira can steal some self-service or ad hoc work from those tools, but most of its gains will be with net new users who aren't already hooked on Webi but need to go beyond what they can handle in Microsoft Excel. Lumira is an awesome tool, but you have to make sure you aren't overselling and setting it up to under deliver.

Getting started with SAP Lumira has never been easier, but you still need to be prepared. Get your environment right, and think about the best way to engage your organization for this visual analysis tool. A little preparation will go a long way to make sure your rollout is successful for your business.

Next Steps

Read Jamie Oswald's analysis of Lumira

See Ethan Jewett's Lumira review

Get a definition of Lumira

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