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First Release of “Pioneer” for Microsoft Office

If you are an SAP Customer who has been looking to see how long it will take SAP to fulfill their commitments to the roadmap, you now have your first installment.

SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, Edition for Microsoft Office

During all the roadmap presentations, the product was referred to as Pioneer, but it is now being released under the name: SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office.  (I was hoping for a slightly longer name myself).  What’s great about this product is that you can use it today.  It does NOT require an upgrade to your BusinessObjects Enterprise Infrastructure and it will not interfere with the use of LiveOffice.  It is a completely stand-alone install.

In some future release, I would expect this plug-in to become part of the larger LiveOffice Suite by SAP BusinessObjects.  You will notice that the name indicates that the solution is for Microsoft Office and that’s true.  You can also use the plug-in from within Powerpoint for example.

Advanced Analysis in Powerpoint

BEx and Excel

Excel has long been the primary delivery platform for SAP BW content.  My initial impression of this release was extremely positive.  The navigation panel is extremely intuitive and much easier to use than previous incarnations.  This product using the underlying BICS interface which means that the solution is extremely fast and there a promises of connectivity to Microsoft Analysis Services and Oracle Essbase in the future.

Some of the main highlights (besides a much easier to use tool) are:

  • Runs with all existing SAP BW Cubes and Queries
  • Native Support for BW  Authorizations
  • Native Support for Hierarchies, Multiple Hierarchies, Structures
  • Built-in predictive services
  • Support for “formula mode”

Let me talk about that last feature for a minute.

Formula Mode

You can convert all cells of a crosstab into formulas with one step. This deletes the crosstab object and defines every row in the table as a Microsoft Excel formula. The result values called from the server with the formula are still displayed in the table. The formula of the selected cell is displayed in the formula bar. In formula mode, you can edit the analysis table using Microsoft Excel formatting and formula functions and make further calculations using the existing data.

In formula mode, you can use all Microsoft Excel formatting functions. With the deletion of the design item, the individual formatting of the data will not be overwritten by the standard formatting in the crosstab the next time you update this data. This is great if you want to layout financial data in a specific way.  There are however a few restrictions when using this mode.

Converting to formula mode has the following consequences:

  • Navigation using Drag & Drop is no longer possible.
  • The context menu is not available.
  • The number format in the cells is set to standard.
  • You cannot switch back to analysis mode. To do this, you have to re-open the workbook.

Take A Look

If you have a significant investment in SAP BW, then you should definately have a look at this latest release.  For more information, I also suggest to look to the SAP Developer Network:
http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/boc/analysis

«Good BI»

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