On an ASUG webcast today SAP reviewed scenarios covered by BEx, and now covered by other products.
BEx development has been ramped down.
If look at BEx scenarios, recommend invest in two product areas to replace BEx: one is Analysis Office and OLAP and Design Studio.
Please note that future items are subject to change and any forward looking statements are subject to the disclaimer (no commitment).
Figure 1: Source: SAP
BEx came with the idea of IT providing workbooks and analytics, and not so much self-service or agile visualization.
Suggested customer recommendations for SAP BW customers is to lead with Analysis. For others, look at Lumira and BusinessObjects Explorer
Figure 2: Source: SAP
As Figure 2 shows, Web Intelligence has some limitations for BW as it was built for relational data sources and not BW. It does not rely on underlying OLAP engine but the Web Intelligence microcube. Do not expect more improvements for Web Intelligence on BW.
- SAP BW customers: Depends on use case, but Analysis Office is optimized for BW.
- BusinessObjects customers or those with any data source: Use Web Intelligence
- Reporting / OEM - use Crystal Reports
Figure 3: Source: SAP
Analysis OLAP and Design Studio – looking for functionality from A-OLAP into Design Studio
Figure 4: Source: SAP
BEx analyzer and the suite of SAP BEx tools are in maintenance mode
They will still be delivered with the next releases of SAP NetWeaver BW
They follow the same life cycle and release strategy as BW - for example, BEx analyzer is shipped with BW 7.3 will be supported for the next 7+2 years
BEx queries are consumed directly by BI4 front-ends
BEx Query Designer remains in place to create and maintain BEx queries (common question)
Analysis, edition for MS Office is the alternative to BEx analyzer with enhanced premium functionality
For customer-specific maintenance of Bex 3.5: See Note 1767068
Figure 5: Source: SAP
Figure 5 shows what is supported today including full support of BEx queries. Also see what is planned in the future (subject to change)
Figure 6: Source: SAP
SAP wants Analysis Office to be more usable and be close to Excel and they wanted to focus on business user (see Figure 6).
Figure 7: Source: SAP
Figure 7 shows the Design Panel usability – like pivot tables
Figure 8: Source: SAP
Only local comments now; planning more global in the future
Figure 9: Source: SAP
Scheduling (which requires the BI platform) was recently released.
Subset of Question & Answer
We had 57 questions in total, and I will try to include most of them in the upcoming blogs.
Q: Will Analysis have scheduling ability in the future
A: We have added it to Analysis Office recently - and it is planned for Design Studio in a future release.
A: Analysis Office has scheduling capability now with a service pack that was released a few weeks ago - 1.4
Q: when does SAP support end on BW querries(Bex) 3.5 & 7.0 ?
A: See http://scn.sap.com/community/business-explorer for BEx maintenance - note that BEx 3.5 is no longer shipped with the SAP Gui any more
A: Eric will talk briefly about it. Bex 3.5 extended support has ended in Q2 2013, BE 7 will definitely be supported as long as BW 7.x, i.e. at least until 2020
Q: We still need to use BEx queries to act as a semantic layer with Web Intelligence and Crystal Reports, correct?
A: Yes, the BEx query is the semantic layer for Web Intelligence and Crystal.
Q: Does that include support for 3rd party OLAP?
A: Analysis OLAP supports 3rd party OLAP sources such as SSAS, ORACLE OLAP, Essbase, Teradata ..
Q: What SAP product will have the ability to let users enter data into a BW cube similar to capability that currently exists with BEx Planning?
A: Analysis Office already supports BW-IP/PAK as of today, Design Studio plans to support it with the next release in Q2 2014
Q: For the new recommended options, is Business Objects or HANA required? What version of BW is recommended for these?
A: BW or HANA can be used as data sources - please check the PAM for versions - service.sap.com/PAM
A: Analysis Office and Design Studio can be deployed on BusinessObjects BI platform - but can also be deployed without it
Q: Can you tell us what SAP Gui release the 3.5 tools are no longer shipped? 7.3?
A: BEx 3.5 query / analyzer is not shipped with SAP Gui 730
Q: What is the future of BEx Query Designer?
A: Will stay the main tool for defining semantic models on BW
Q: If we want to switch Bex to any BO Tools, Is there aternative solutions on using Bookmarks, RRI(report to report Interfact) and BAPI's in new BO tools ?
A: Analysis Office/OLAP support RRI (sender only)
Q: Does input ready queries work with Analysis for office?
Q: Can you provide a link from where to download the Analysis client that comes with Scheduding features?
A: Go to service.sap.com/swdc and under "A" Analysis Office - BI platform add-on
Q: SAP PBF uses BEx queries for input in forms. Can we continue using BEx for new forms that we build or should we choose between analysis office and design studio?
A: not sure if I got the question, but Analysis Office already supports planning (i.e. input-ready queries) and Design Studio plans to do it in Q2 2014
Q: What is the expected release for use of current BEX reports with 64-bit Excel?
A: Analysis Office already works in a 64-bit environment
Q: Does the 7+2 years start in 2013? What does the +2 mean?
A: 7 years standard maintenance and 2 years extended maintenance
Q: What is the semantic layer strategy for BW? As of today we rely on BEX as reporting interface for BOBJ tools.
A: query designer stays strategic modeling environment on BW
Q: Is that 7 years beginning in 2013, so until 2020 for maintenance?
A: Please check SAP's maintenance side. Statement is that NetWeaver 7.x is supported until 2020 at least.
Q: Can we use the Analysis Office on top of BW with stand alone ( wit out Bw) and how? we are BW 7.0
A: You can use Analysis Office with BW without the BI Platform (does that answer your question)? It will work with BW 7.0
Q: Is Analysis Office available to all current BEx users at no additional cost?
A: There is a separate license connected to Analysis and Design Studio
Q: with out BO
A: Yes, Analysis Office works without BI platform (but then no scheduling)
Q: Plans to add missing BEx Analyzer functionality to Analysis for Office (Excel)?
- Re-ordering of Structure elements (rows/columns) at the workbook level
- Tools – Copy Sheet
- Drill Across Sheets
- Display Scaling Factors correctly
A: lots of plans ... please use Idea Place for voting for missing or new feature requests
Q: Which BO tools support RRI(report to report interface) both Sender and receiver ?
A: Design Studio does not support yet. It's planned for next releases. AOLAP and AOffice support RSBBS. For other tools in BI Clients please refer to Ingo Hilgefort's blog and book. He has a very detailed information in his blog.
Q: I see that there is a separate license connected to Analysis and Design Studio. Is this part of the BusonessObjects licencing agreement or are they stand-alone licences (similar to Lumira)?
A: This one you may want to ask SAP Account exec; SAP offers a suite license and a-la-carte
Q: Analysis Office is part of BO lincence or standalone product like lumira? to use on top of BW 7.0?
A: See previous answer to contact your SAP Account Executive - SAP has difference license offerings and some are a la carte