Like most people, when I heard that SAP Anywhere was being ‘sunset’ in March, my first though was ‘What’s SAP Anywhere?’. Yes, I thought it was something to do with Sybase SQL Anywhere, but it turned out to be the world’s most obscure cloud accounts package.
Next, there was the announcement that SAP Dashboard (aka Crystal Dashboard, aka Xclesius) would no longer have support beyond 2020 and would not be available to purchase as a standalone product with immediate effect. More details here.
At about the same time, the end of life of Lumira Discovery was announced. For those fortunate enough not to have to worry about the ever-changing names of SAP’s products, Discovery is the original Lumira product. Despite being a 100% SAP product, it’s integration with the other BI products was never quite complete and after the initial rapid development it seemed to be ignored.
This all got me thinking of what else could or should be dropped. SAP’s portfolio is a mixture of products developed by SAP and acquired through takeover, so there’s always going to be some overlap between products a little dead wood.
First, let me be clear: I have no inside knowledge. Everything that follows is a mixture of conjecture and mischief.
1. SAP IQ
I first came across IQ during its time at Sybase. I went to a seminar in Leeds, simply because I didn’t believe the database performance improvements that it was promising. They were all true; in fact the percentages claimed were far too conservative. Problem for me was that most of implementations were on Unix. While it was available on Windows, the documentation was awful. I’d hoped that SAP’s takeover would result in improved documentation, but it’s just been ignored. With SAP’s focus on HANA and Microsoft’s introduction of columnstore indexes, I can’t see IQ lasting long. SAP will want to continue the maintenance payments for a while yet though.
2. SAP EIM Solutions for SME
Death by acronym! It’s not a single product, but 3 different bundles of data integration and management tools intended for small & medium businesses. I’m yet to find a small business willing to spend a minimum of £50k, plus nearly £15k per year just to move data around. There’s a good place for these products in larger organisations, but for everyone else Microsoft’s Integration Services is just fine.
3. SAP Powerdesigner
Another refugee from Sybase. I’m sure it’s great at what it does, but it’s not being actively marketed. I wouldn’t be surprised if this were to become part of a bundle included with SAP HANA.
4. SAP Adaptive Server Platform
A confusing bundle. Multiple variations. ‘Nuff said.
5. SAP ASE, SAP SQL Anywhere
Two more left overs from Sybase. SAP’s database focus is now HANA Everywhere (TM). The rest of the market is split between Microsoft’s SQL Server (cloud and on-prem) and various open source solutions such as MySQL and Postgresql. SQL Anywhere has some nice local database options, but there are others out there.
6. Crystal Reports
I bet you didn’t expect that one! But note that I didn’t say which Crystal Reports. Seven years ago, SAP released a new version of Crystal Reports called ‘Crystal Reports for Enterprise’. The plan was to replace ‘classic’ Crystal Reports when Crystal Server 2013 was released. That obviously hasn’t happened and Crystal Reports for Enterprise is still unavailable as a standalone product. For those unaware of the product, it has three advantages over the classic Crystal Reports: Support for new Universes; better connection management in Crystal Server/SAP BI; improved workflow.
What SAP didn’t understand was that most Crystal Reports users are happy to connect directly to a database, so don’t want a universe. The improved workflow was at a cost of poor stability. There are also a lot of 3rd party products designed to support Crystal Reports that overcome limitations such as the connection management in Crystal Server.
With the release of Crystal Reports 2016, SAP started to add new features to Crystal Reports again, could this be a hint? Even after seven years, there is no gap in functionality between the two products. At some point, SAP are going to have to cut their losses and drop one. My money’s on Crystal Reports for Enterprise going. ‘All’ they need to do is to add support for the new Universes to ‘classic’ Crystal and problem solved.
7. SAP Predictive Analytics
I don’t think this will be dropped, but I’m sure it will be migrated cloudwards. There’s little value in the Windows front-end, the value is in the black box doing the calculations. There’s no reason to have that as a local installation. (edit: it seems that this has already been announced, though sort of unofficially)
I have to repeat, that everything above is just conjecture and mischief. I’ve not even had a nudge and a wink from anyone at SAP.
Have I missed anything, or got anything terribly wrong? Comments below.