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Posts Tagged ‘SAP’

SAP BusinessObjects Demos on YouTube…

September 15th, 2009 No comments

I’m amazed at how easy it is to find information these days.  Today I decided to do a follow-up post based on my most recent WebIntelligence demo post.  After a little searching around and I found a number of demos that had been posted by David Collins Dixon onto Youtube.  David has written a number of books about the SAP Business Information Warehouse (or BW for short).

SAP Integration Demos

Here are the list of demos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/davidcollinsdixon

Crystal Reports Demo leveraging SAP Hierarchies (No AUDIO)

David does an especially nice job with the Crystal Reports demo and shows you how to use the Hierarchy Node so Crystal Reports can properly leverage your SAP Hierarchy definition.

Xcelsius Demos

There are also a couple of demos from the guys at Everything Xcelsius:
http://www.youtube.com/user/XcelsiusGurus

If you find any SAP BusinessObjects videos that you think others would benefit from, just add links to them in a posted comment.

«Good BI»

WebIntelligence Integration with SAP

September 14th, 2009 No comments

After attempting to move my blog off wordpress.com on Friday, I decided it was going to be more involved and I had a bit more testing to do before I was willing to make the final switch… but that’s another story.

So what do I have for you this week?  Well, I ran across a great demo by Ingo Hilgefort.  Ingo is a great resource.  He was one of the original folks that helped Crystal Decisions develop the SAP Integration Kit way back in the day and you can read more about him on his blog.  He’s what you would call the resident expert.  Last week a saw a demo that Ingo put together and I really liked it and wanted to share it here.

Watch the Demonstration

Excellent Overview of SAP BusinessObjects and WebIntelligence Integration:

You’ll see that he demonstrates some of the latest fold/unfold capabilities that come with BusinessObjects XI 3.1 SP2. Do recognize that is is NOT a replacement for the upcoming Pioneer release. I recently spoke with a customer who didn’t like the fact that the WebIntelligence document had to be in a specific layout/format in order to leverage fold/unfold. REMEMBER! WebIntelligence is an adhoc reporting solution that allows you to easily create formatted reports. It’s not targeted for power analysts. Pioneer is coming… in the meantime you’ll still need to use BEx Web Analyzer for that that power analyst group.

SAP BusinessObjects Roadmap for WebIntelligence

NOTE: for the latest roadmap updates on the SAP BusinessObjects Product Integration go to http://sdn.sap.com

Download the PPT

Here is a download of his powerpoint presentation in PDF format:
http://trustedbi.com/files/sapwebi_webinar.pdf

Note the slides that explain how the items for the BEx Query panel are translated to objects within the Universe.  It’s important to understand what objects will be exposed to the adhoc user as the build the report and which objects, e.g. characteristic restrictions, won’t be.

Make sure as well you get your hands on the SAP BusinessObjects Best Practices Guide as well.

«Good BI»

Common Questions about Connectivity with SAP

July 23rd, 2008 18 comments

Now that SAP has clearly and unambiguously stated that BusinessObjects is the new face of BI for SAP, we have many customers who want more information about connectivity with SAP and are surprised when we recommend that they connect to an existing BW Query instead of to the entire Infocube.

Why is connecting to SAP BI/BW Queries a best practice?

There are several reasons for connecting via SAP BW Queries:

  • Performance – The BW OLAP Engine performs its processing against the query cube. In the event, you connect an external analysis tool directly to an InfoCube, a query cube consisting of all the characteristics and key figures in that InfoCube is generated on the fly in order to handle the request processing. This process adds significantly to the processing time of the request made by the end-user when compared to reporting against a pre-defined BW Query.
  • Capabilities – There are several capabilities exposed via the interface to BW Queries that are not exposed when connecting directly to the cube such as calculated and restricted key figures to name a few.
  • Flexibility – The BW Query Designer offers an extension to the data modeling environment in which changes are relatively easy to make as compared to the effort required to change an InfoCube.

Is this required across all the reporting tools? (WebI, Voyager, Crystal Reports)

Its mostly applicable to WebI and Voyager. There’s more flexibility with Crystal since it has more connectivity interfaces to SAP and it is not designed to be an ad-hoc reporting and analysis tool. Xcelsius will typically be built against scheduled content since most dashboard data is usually only updated every 24 hours.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this different approaches to SAP Connectivity?

Advantages of BW Query – The BW Query can take advantage of Query capabilities such as CKF and RKF. The BI Team can also provide better control over how much data user can request.

Advantages of InfoCube – The BI Team can expose entire dataset to user without additional work from BI team

Disadvantages of BW Query – Using BW Queries requires additional work from BI team to setup queries specifically around areas of the business, e.g. marketing, sales, etc. It limits amount of information available to user for a given query. That being said, the adhoc report designer can combine multiple queries within a single report. In addition a well defined BW Query can serve as the data sources for multiple reports. (whereas traditionally in SAP BW, we saw 1 query = 1 report)

Disadvantages of InfoCube -Users can get lost in the large amount of data available to them. There is a lack of CKF and RKF, which will lead to users creating more filters and calculations at the report level. These efforts will likely be duplicated across multiple reports. Duplication leads to duplicate work and the potential for different answers based on different formulas (i.e., no “single source of the truth” for those formulas)

Performance of BW Query – Better. Because of the constraint on information available to the end-user, the query design can test a subset of data and guarantee a certain level of performance.

Performance of InfoCube – Vulnerable. Because the entire cube is visible, there is no what to know what combinations of information the user might pick. Without specific controls over the type and amount of data returned, it is impossible to determine who long the query might run.

Flexibility of BW Query – The BW Query is more flexibility in regards to exposing “processed” data (CKF and RKF). It also provides flexibility when it comes to making changes to underlying data because not every change to the InfoCube will impact a BW Query.

Flexibility of InfoCube – The Infocube is the most flexible with regards to the data exposed.

What data structures in SAP are supported within BusinessObjects?

WebIntelligence/Voyager supports: Standard and Transactional InfoCubes, Remote InfoCube (not recommended due to performance), MultiCube, MultiProvider.

Crystal Reports supports: Standard and Transactional InfoCubes, Remote InfoCube (not recommended due to performance), MultiCube, MultiProvider, ODS, R/3 Infosets, ABAP Queries, ABAP Functions. ABAP Data Clusters, Transparent Tables, Pool Tables, Cluster Tables, zTables, InfoViews

Conclusion

It’s been exciting to see how quickly SAP customers have been able to unlock the data that they have in their Business Warehouse to a whole new groups of users.  Users can now create their own reports from scratch using the WebIntelligence interface.  Executive users and front-line contributors can have their personalized data delivered directly to the desktop.

I can’t wait to see what will unfold within our next generation of tools.

The Next Major Release of BusinessObjects Goes RTM!

February 29th, 2008 No comments

BusinessObjects XI 3.0 box shotPush, Push, Push

We are close… oh, so close. The baby is coming. It should be any day now. No, my wife’s not pregnant. It’s the arrival of BusinessObjects XI 3.0. That’s “three dot-o”. Let me guess. You want to know why it’s not called, “BusinessObjects XIR3”. Search me. I guess marketing did some extensive research which showed the customers were more likely to find software labeled at 3.0 to be superior in quality, performance and usability of a “third revision”. I suppose the “R” in revision probably doesn’t do a release like this justice either. It deserves a new introduction.

Being involved in the beta testing process was a real treat. It’s so hard not to be able to talk about all the cool stuff in the next release. Now that it’s finally going RTM, I’ll tell you what I think about it – and I promise it won’t just be the marketing fluff.

I have to say. Now that BusinessObjects is an SAP company, I decided it was time to reorganized my 1542 powerpoints. Since I’ve been with BusinessObjects so long, I’m managed to accumulate a few and it was time for some housecleaning. I promise that I will begin to write a lot more information more frequently. A colleague of mine reminded me of the blogs associated with the BusinessObjects Diamond Developer Site, so I might begin crossposting.

Get Your SAP Roadmaps

Although everything is business as usual with regards to BusinessObjects, an SAP Company… (they make us say that now) … we are all curious to see what the roadmaps will look like. My biggest surprise was that some of the roadmaps were published out on the SAP Developer site before I had even seen them internally. Wow. Now that’s what I call hot off the presses. Although not all the roadmaps are complete (e.g. what about where BusinessObjects Performance Manager and SAP’s Strategy Management overlap? How exactly are all the Performance Manager engines going to evolve in the next version? There’s SPC, Predictive and Sets.

SAP RoadmapIt’s interesting to learn more about the SAP product offering and find that not everything from SAP requires the “Netweaver Stack”. SAP’s MDM and Strategy Management(Pilot) and Financial Performance Management (Outlooksoft) are three examples. All recently acquired and not necessarily SAP-only.

If you have some SAP BI technology and want to see the SAP BI Roadmap, I recommend you download it here. It’s a great read and pretty clearly explains how the products will move forward. The only downside is there is no mention of WebIntelligence and Visual Composer on the Integration Roadmap slide. The upside is that it is pretty clear that BusinessObjects is the face of BI for SAP moving forward. Netweaver will continue to have some core BI components, but all premium capabilities will be handled by BusinessObjects (or should I say BusinessObjects, an SAP company).

Let me know your thoughts.

One Step Closer…

November 26th, 2007 No comments

The associated press just announced that the SAP $6.8 billion purchase of Business Objects has cleared their review. They said that the deal, “would not significantly impede effective competition” in the 27-nation EU… this is on top of the top given by the US which I wrote about earlier.

Click here to read the full Associated Press Announcement

It will be interesting to see how things play out now. Here are a list of the recent large BI aquisitions:

  • Oracle buys Hyperion
  • SAP buys Business Objects
  • IBM buys Cognos

It so funny how things work out. At Business Objects we had the “annual” merger rumors, which have occurred every year for the past 3 years. Who would it be? IBM? Microsoft? Oracle? SAP? HP? even Google? Google – Hmmm that was an interesting one.

I never really thought SAP would buy Business Objects. You see, I’m an SAP Champion, which means that I get involved in a lot of the Business Objects deals around SAP in my region. I’ve always perceived that SAP had a strong “we can build it better” mentality and therefore would never buy us. In addition, we would be so expensive. Since they already had a large set of their own BI tools, would they ever admit that they need something that worked with non-SAP data? They had only made very small acquisitions in the past. It seemed pretty unlikely.

Well, obviously things changed, because they forked over $6.8 billion… that’s a tidy little bit. We were pretty excited when we passed the $1B revenue/year mark at the end of 2006…. (meaning our revenues were more than $250K/quarter). Well in looking over SAP’s financials, they make $1B/quarter. Wow! Business Objects is big for a “BI” company, but we would have a long way to go on our own to reach their size. They say the 2nd billion is always the hardest. 🙂

I’d love to share my thoughts about what might happen or what should happen, but I don’t that it would be very valuable to all of you… and besides, they say it’s illegal to talk about the future or express opinions and what could be/should be since we’re still, officially two companies.

Still, I have to say, since joining Crystal Decisions in 2001, it’s been a really fun ride. I came from a smallish company of 120 employees and soon I’ll be working for one of the three largest software companies in the world. This is awesome. God is good.

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