This blog entry was written by Bryan Pierce of Perceptual Edge.
In March of this year, Stephen wrote a blog entry titled, “Old BI and the Challenge of Analytics.” In it, he mentioned that he recently had lunch with John Armitage of SAP. John is a designer with years of experience in the field of usability, who follows Stephen’s work and has been tasked with improving the user experience of SAP’s information visualization offerings. Stephen has railed against SAP’s data visualization capabilities for years because they consistently push silly and ineffective graphs instead of implementing visualizations that are designed to communicate. Nonetheless, after their conversation, Stephen left the lunch feeling hopeful that with John’s influence SAP might finally start moving toward greater effectiveness. Stephen’s glimmer of hope was recently rattled, however, when a reader sent him the following slide, which is being used to promote SAP’s newest update to their BI software suite, BusinessObjects 4.0.
As you can see, SAP’s idea of an “engaging new user experience” includes a 3-D pie chart that looks like an abstract Jello sculpture. Apparently John wasn’t given a chance to preview this slide, nor was he granted any influence over the charting capabilities of BusinessObjects 4.0. To be fair, however, John only recently assumed his new role, so we ought to give him more time before losing hope. We’re rooting for you John. Your job certainly isn’t going to be easy.