Yesterday ASUG had a webcast where SAP's Alex Peter and ASUG volunteer Joyce Butler reported the results of the ASUG Analysis Influence Council.

 

Alex said the ASUG Analysis Influence Council was very helpful.  Please note that anything for the future is subject to change and the usual legal disclaimer applies.

 

The current council has 12 companies covering different companies and industries.

1fig.PNG

Figure 1: Source: ASUG Analysis Influence Council

 

Figure 1 shows the purpose of ASUG Influence Councils.

 

This webcast covered where ASUG members influenced SAP:and future roadmap.

 

BW Workspace

BW Workspaces, which is the technical name for mashing up local data with BW data.  You can add your own classification of items that are not already in the BW model.

 

BEx Workbooks

Another area where the ASUG Influence Council influenced SAP was conversion of BEx Workbooks.   At first SAP only focused on BEx 7.0 workbook conversion but the influence council clearly indicated that BEx 3.5 workbooks are needed.  Adding additional pressure was BEx 3.5 recently went out of maintenance; hence the need of offering a BEx 3.5 workbook conversion to Analysis Office

 

Variants

Variants was a gap with BEx Analyzer and the council asked for variants to be done as soon as possible.

2fig.PNG

Figure 2: Source: SAP

 

Figure 2 shows a new prompt dialog for Analysis OLAP, you can save the prompt values and create public and private variants.  You can also merge and unmerge variables.

3fig.PNG

Figure 3: Source: SAP

 

Figure 3 feature is only available for MSAS allowing for custom groupings, resulting from a discussion from this ASUG Influence Council.

 

This is not for BW yet.

4fig.PNG

Figure 4: Source: SAP

 

Create Analysis application from Analysis OLAP client you can take over the current datasources and directly post in Design Studio application.

Then you can change with Design Studio and change the interactivity features to filter items.

 

BEx Query Designer

If you are on a datasource and access Query Designer and redeploy to workbook was highly prioritized by the Influence Council

5fig.PNG

Figure 5: Source: SAP

 

Figure 5 shows that scheduling Analysis Office is available on the BI Platform.  SAP decided to do it on the BI Platform as it offers more than the BEx Broadcaster

 

There are a few things to catch up such as query prompt support; if a query has a prompt that is not supported. You can filter by exit or authorization variables.

Figure 5 covers the requirements.

6fig.PNG

Figure 6: Source: SAP

 

Figure 6 shows the left column today

 

The next release will be called “2.0” and will be a big effort

 

Beta will be Q2 and RTC will be end of year.

 

The big effort is rebuilding the platform of add-in because SAP plans to let SAP run add-ins side by side such as EPM.  Today the add-ins do not work side-by side

 

SAP wants to have them run side by side and clear vision for one single BI related add-in at SAP.

 

Analysis Office/EPM are planned to be brought together and SAP wants a smooth transition.

 

Configuration of workbooks is when you have several plug-ins available you would like to have a custom ribbons/context menu and combine in one single ribbon

 

Table formatting means you can only handle table as big block; can’t add empty lines or rows in a specific format.   The idea is to add some specific style elements in the table that continues to exist after refresh or navigation.  This also includes Excel-based formulas and expect it to “survive” any navigation. Analysis Office has to translate it into semantics to get this to work.

 

Complex scenarios include conditional formatting.  Hichert has some rules (planned values in light grey and actual in black and use color for positive trends) for cross tabs and charts and this could be used.

 

First release will start with simple inserting formatting of rows.

 

For BW, SAP is extending the unified BPC planning which is the evolution of BW-IP

 

On the BW side they are introducing the multi-select if you would like to change some specific settings, you can do that only one by one today.

 

In 2.0 (planned innovations) they will introduce storing workbooks in HANA.

 

Future directions include comments stored and work on PowerPoint .and scheduling.

 

Lumira integration:  the idea is to have visualizations from Lumira in Excel or PowerPoint and integrate vice-versa.  Native HANA means Analysis Office talks directly to HANA platform instead of today’s ODBC connection.

7fig.PNG

Figure 7: Source: SAP

 

In the future includes improved currency conversion support.

 

Planned innovations includes source related.

 

It has good interoperability with Design Studio and Analysis OLAP will stay as a good Analysis adhoc OLAP client.

 

 

Related:

Analysis Office will have sessions at BI 2014

Jump Start ASUG Annual Conference SAPPHIRE with a Pre-Conference Session - Back and Better than Ever includes hands-on Analysis Office with BW on HANA

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).

 

1afig

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

1bfig

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.

 

Customer recommendations:

  • 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

1cfig

Figure 3: Source: SAP

 

Analysis OLAP and Design Studio – looking for functionality from A-OLAP into Design Studio

 

1fig

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

 

4fig

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)

 

6fig

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).

7fig

Figure 7: Source: SAP

 

Figure 7 shows the Design Panel usability – like pivot tables

8fig

Figure 8: Source: SAP

 

Only local comments now; planning more global in the future

10fig

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?

A:  yes

________________________________________________________________

 

 

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)?

Specifically:

- 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

________________________________________________________________

Part of the sharing the knowledge at SAP TechEd, we learned that the one a new feature coming soon to Analysis Office is scheduling.  Scheduling Analysis Office workbooks will come via the BI Platform, and will be available as an add-on to the BI Platform.  The planned release date is sometime in November.  SAP's Alexander Peter demonstrated this feature at the ASUG Analysis Influence Council this week. 

 

Analysis OLAP

Also reviewed as BI4.1 features already available in Analysis OLAP.  BI4.1 offers custom grouping features against certain data sources, except BW. 

 

Other features reviewed include Focused Analysis, allowing you to link a table to a chart.

 

Analysis OLAP offers "Pivot with" – filter with

 

It has Report to Report Interface as a  valid sender

 

Also new in BI4.1 is the ability to resize panels, waterfall charts with hierarchies

 

An interesting exercise is the abilit to go from Analysis OLAP to Design Studio with a single click.  You skip step of starting Design Studio

 

Some Question & Answer regarding Analysis OLAP

 

Q: Is planning supported?

A: No; Analysis Office supports planning but has no custom grouping, no focus panel

 

Q: Does A-OLAP have a scheduling capability?

A: Not yet; not sure if will develop; may do in Design Studio

 

Special thanks to Joyce Butler, Ian McAlpine, and Alexander Peter for running this session and sharing the news with us.  ASUG Influence Council sessions are not to be missed at events, as this is where you learn what is coming with the products.

Over two and half years ago the ASUG Analysis Influence Council kicked off with Alexander Peter, Ian McAlpine and Joyce Butler

 

What are ASUG Influence Councils? 

 

"Influence Councils are interactive forums where members can communicate ideas and concerns about product plans and SAP services directly to SAP development and product managers."

Source: ASUG

 

The council continues today and continues to provide feedback to SAP on the products.  This blog covers where ASUG influenced the latest BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for Office 1.4 release.

 

 

The council first ranked and prioritized features.  At the top of the list was "Capability to Create/Edit Bex Query within Analysis Office.  From Bex analyzer you don't have to leave the tool to add a field.  With Office you have to leave the tool, go to query designer, add the field and then get back into Office. "

 

 

This is now available in the current 1.4 release.  See the steps below:

 

Under Settings, select Advanced Settings, and select the checkbox Show "Call Query Designer"...

1fig.jpg

 

 

The Query Designer button/ribbon is then shown:

2fig.jpg

 

Select the Launch Query Designer and the Query Designer is then launched.

3fig.jpg

 

You can make changes to your query and then return to your Analysis Office application.  In my example above I've added WBS to the rows of the Query.

 

Then when returning to Analysis Office cross tab you reset the data source and the cross tab is then updated.

4fig.jpg

For questions or more information feel free to e-mail ASUG influence at influence@asug.com

 

Consider joining the team and meet face to face at SAP TechEd Las Vegas.

 

ASUG also has a pre-conference SAP TechEd session that includes Analysis Office in the BI4.1 on October 21st:

ALL DAY | HANDS-ON: SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 with SAP BW and SAP ERP – Everything You Need in One Day

 

 

 

Related Links:

See how ASUG Members Influence SAP – Featuring BusinessObjects Analysis Influence Council

ASUG Annual Conference - ASUG Influence and BEx Quo Vadis

Can ASUG Members influence SAP? ASUG Influence Council Success Story, SAP Best Practices for Business Warehouse with BusinessObjects

Interested in Influencing SAP?  Join ASUG for the SAP BusinessObjects Analysis Influence Council Kick-off Webcast

We're listening! Please give product feedback by Ina Felsheim

 

For more information about Influence Councils see Karin Tillotson's Why I believe in the power of ASUG Influence Councils Part 1 and Why I believe in the power of ASUG Influence Councils Part 2 - The ASUG UI Influence Council

 

For more information about ASUG see Ingo Hilgefort's Whats the value of a ASUG membership for you as customer ?

Part 1 covered installation and some features.  Part 2 discussed more features including Waterfall Charts, Read Access Mode, and Reset Data Source.

 

Launch BEx Query Designer

First I want to cover some troubleshooting.  Some comments in the discussion forum indicate that individuals are unable to launch the BEx query designer - it is greyed out.  Note you must be on a later SP for the BEx Query Designer.  Check your version by going to Help > About in the BEx Query Designer:

querydesigner.jpg

 

 

If you are not on this version then go to Service Marketplace and download the BI Add on:

querdesignersmp.jpg

 

 

Then you should be able to click this option in the User Settings.

 

Adjusting the Member Selector

You can limit the number of members in the "member selector" by going to User > Settings:

memberselector.jpg

You can change the Maximum Number of Entries in Recent List - the default is 1000.  This may help improve performance when working with large amounts of data.

 

Filter Hierarchy in Display Panel

 

In the display panel, you have the option to filter based on hierarchy only - if you select this, your hierarchy turns into a flat presentation.

rightclickusehierarchyforfilteronly.jpg

 

When it is clicked on, the hierarchy in the cross tab is turned into a "flat presentation"

2rightclick.jpg

 

 

 

 

But then you can filter by the hierarchy or the leaves of the hierarchy:

3filter.jpg

 

 

Hands On Experience

Next week at BI 2013 in Amsterdam, SAP Mentor Ingo Hilgefort will be providing hands-on sessions for the Analysis Suite, including Analysis Office.  I attended this myself at BI2013 in Las Vegas in March and these sessions were quite popular with great feedback.  I recommend attending these sessions if you are attending.

In my blog last Friday, I discussed installation steps and briefly just some of the new features.  In this blog, I will review some of the other new features that came with this release, which was GA last Friday.

 

We have seen many questions regarding Analysis Office 1.4 - please review the Product Availability Matrix. Analysis Office 1.4 32 bit and 64 bit supports MS Office 2013.

 

Waterfall Charts

In the past, Analysis Office supported charts in Excel.  Now it is offering two types of Waterfall Charts:

1waterfall.jpg

 

The first type of Waterfall Chart shows up as follows:

2waterfall.jpg

 

Here is an example of a pivoted Waterfall Chart:

3waterfall.jpg

 

Reset Data Source

In the previous blog, you saw you can launch the BEx Query Designer.

 

If you make some changes to the crosstab using the Display Panel, you can use Reset Data Source to set the query back to the initial state of the BEx query.

 

This is a right-click from the context menu, and select Reset Data Source

4resetdatasource.jpg

 

Selecting Reset Data Source will reset it back to the initial navigation state of the BEx Query.

 

Note you can also make this setting to reset on opening from the Display panel:

5resetdatasource.jpg

 

Read Access Mode

 

Select a characteristic ("aka Member") and select Members > Access Mode

6readaccess.jpg

 

 

You can select only those values with posted data as shown above.

 

If you show values in Master Data you will see everything, even those without any transactions posted against them.

 

Note in the User Settings the "Allow Access Mode to be Changed" option must be turned on:

7readaccess.jpg

 

 

More to come.

Last month SAP covered what is new with Analysis Office here.  Today is it generally available, according to the PAM.   This morning I was able to install it on my machine.

 

The install file is only 79.2 MB and installation is fairly easy.

1install.jpg

 

When you get to this screen you need to click the Enable 1.4 Features checkbox.

 

2installsuccess.jpg

 

Once you install you see the success.

 

Go to the Settings Tab to enable some new features:

3figenable.jpg

 

I can enable the launch query designer button and Create Web Application (launch Design Studio)

 

Note to BEx launch query designer you need to install the latest SAP Gui patch for 730; otherwise it is greyed out.

 

4querydesigner.jpg

 

After clicking "Launch Query Designer" you can then launch the BEx Query Designer:

5bexquerydesigner.jpg

 

More to come in future  - read access mode, reset data source, etc.  Watch the BusinessObjects Analysis Office space.

We had an ASUG Analysis Influence Council at ASUG Annual Conference where attendees learned how the ASUG Analysis Influence Council influenced SAP:

 

Features influenced by the ASUG Analysis Influence Council

Analysis Office

1) Converting BEx 3.5 workbooks

2) Variants

3) Launch BEx Query Designer (coming in 1.4 release)

 

1alex.jpg

Picture of SAP's Alexander Peter by Joyce Butler

 

Analysis OLAP - features where ASUG Analysis Influence Council provided input

1) new prompt dialog

2) custom grouping

3) mobility for Analysis OLAP

 

 

We also learned that the broadcasting feature will come to Analysis Office through a BI4.1 feature pack later this year.  The planned release for Analysis Office 1.4 is early June.

 

Ian McAlpine said that the ASUG Analysis Influence Council "feedback is highly prized and valued to SAP."

 

BEx Quo Vadis Community Lounge

Right after this session there was an ASUG Community Lounge session titled "BEx Quo Vadis" or "BEx where are you going".  We had a similar community lounge at last year's conference but no one showed up.  I was quite skeptical about doing it again, but Lee Lewis insisted and fortunately Joyce Butler and SAP's Eric Schemer agreed to do it.

 

 

We had a great turnout this year, and special thanks goes to Lee, Joyce and Amy Finke of ASUG Headquarters.  Amy redesigned the lounge areas, which were called "theatres", which was a huge improvement.

2pic.jpg

Photo by Danny Pancratz

 

Oftentimes people hear that "BEx is going away" - this is not the case for the BEx Query Designer.

 

An attendee asked "what are the gaps between Analysis Office and BEx Workbooks?"  Alex said he felt document integration and broadcasting were still two missing features.

 

SAP also said that "BEx query designer remains core modeling tool for BW".  "We are not replacing BEx Query Designer" says SAP in BEx Quo Vadis session. 

 

Here is a link to a vine video where Alex discusses Analysis Office.  Also Jie Deng answered questions about placing Design Studio applications on the Enterprise Portal (minimum version required is 7.3) - here is the link to the vine video.

 

Thanks to all who attended and thanks to SAP's Alex Peter, Jie Deng and Ian McAlpine for their support of ASUG.

Alexander Peter, Product Owner for Analysis Office, provided this webcast to ASUG yesterday.

 

Since the discussion covers future versions, this is subject to change.

1abex.jpg

 

 

Figure 1: Source: SAP

 

Figure 1 shows that BEx tools are in maintenance mode.  There is not an immediate need to go off BEx clients but no new innovation.

Innovation comes with the Analysis clients.

 

Content with BEx Analyzer – conversion support exists today in Analysis Office.

 

1whatsnewaoffice14.jpg

Figure 2: Source: SAP

 

Analysis 1.4 release is smaller than 1.3 as SAP focused on improving performance.  SAP launched a performance project to review performance challenges from end to end. 

 

Alex said there are two collective notes to help you identify things on backend to streamline communication between server and client.

 

Main feature was broadcasting on BI Platform, another gap for BEx Analyzer– for legal reasons can’t release GA .  SAP chose the BI platform to use the scheduling features.  Broadcasting is planned for Q3.

 

GA for 1.4 is planned for May.

 

SAP has enchanced interoperability with Design Studio – in 1.3 you could copy a data source and insert it in Design Studio.  Now it is extended to be an automatic transformation to Design Studio – crosstab, chart, and components into an iPad application.  The scenario is to have a prototyping tool in Analysis Office and can use it to prototype a dashboard.

 

Strengthen BI platform support – if you store it in Launchpad ad start it from the Launchpad – before only Excel opens.  It didn’t know about Analysis Office workbook.  SSO wasn’t honored.  Now solved in with Analysis Office 1.4 and BI4.1 platform

 

Waterfall charts not available in native Excel so they have added them to the toolbar in Analysis Office 1.4.

 

With the ASUG Influence Council, SAP prioritized features.  After broadcasting query designer was a the top. 

 

You can open the Query Designer from Analysis Office 1.4 .  You can reset data source to query designer

 

With the read mode feature you can change from reading from the cube or the master data.

 

Time-dependent hierarchy at the given key date is now available in 1.4.

 

Data refresh – before 1.4, when press refresh, render cross tabs but not show the latest data – re-rendered data – had to leave Excel and open it again.  With 1.4 have a real data refresh.

 

They have added a member selector for mass data

 

 

2aofficeroadmap.jpg

Figure 3: Source: SAP

 

Figure 3 was not covered during the webcast, but it gives you an overall direction.  Today is version 1.3, planned innovation is Analysis Office 1.4.

 

 

Subset of Q&A:

________________________________________________________________

Q: Will AA 1.4 allow us to create or design Queries in BW?

A: The Query Designer remains the tool to create queries in BW.‑

________________________________________________________________

Q: Will AA 1.4 finally have LogOn / LogOff button?

A: No plan for a logoff button... but I am aware that AA can hold onto connections for an extended period so this issue is being investigated.‑

________________________________________________________________

Q: is it possible to connect to Essbase cubes directly?

A: Not from Analysis Office‑

A: ... but Yes with Analysis OLAP‑

Q: is AA 1.4 compatible with BOBJ 4 SP5?

A: It is platform independent‑

________________________________________________________________

 

Q: What is the comparability of AA 1.4? We are on BI 7.0 and BOBJ XI3.1 sp 3.

A: It is platform independent - there are some features dependent on BW version but overall it is platform independent.‑

________________________________

 

 

ASUG Annual Conference

Alex is presenting at ASUG Annual Conference regarding the ASUG Influence Council.  Below is a list of other ASUG Analysis-related sessions for the conference:

 

Session IDTitle
301Deep-dive into Analysis for OLAP, the next generation tool for web-based multidimensional analysis.
305What’s new with Analysis Office & OLAP?
308Customize the Look and Feel of BW Reports in SAP BusinessObjects Analysis (Office) by Using API Calls
4210Influence SAP - ASUG SAP BusinessObjects Analysis Office/OLAP Influence Council
      CL32BEx Quo Vadis - "Where is BEx Going"
312Moving Beyond BEx: Strategies for Unlocking the Value in Your BW Data with BI 4

The ASUG BI Analysis Special Interest Group launched an ASUG Influence Council for the BusinessObjects Analysis Suite two years ago, initially focusing on BusinessObjects Analysis, Edition for Office, as BusinessObjects Analysis, Edition for OLAP shipped with BI4 platform.

 

SAP’s Alexander Peter has served as our SAP Point of Contact to this council and ASUG Volunteer Joyce Butler leads the council. 

 

The Influence Council was promoted during an ASUG kick-off webcast two years ago. Interest was high as Analysis Office is the “premium successor” to BEx Analyzer.


 

How did ASUG council members influence SAP?  See below on features that are generally available that ASUG influence council members influenced:


 

BEx Workbook Conversions:

 

Analysis menu in File ribbon > Convert BEx workbook

1convert.png


Not just BEx 7.x workbooks but also ASUG members influenced the decision to look at converting BEx 3.5 workbooks.

 


 

 

BW Workspaces:

 

ASUG Influence Council members influenced BW workspaces as well.  What are workspaces?  SAP describes them asBW Workspace is a dedicated area in SAP BW for a specific department to upload local data and combine it with central data"

2workspaces.png

Source: SAP

 

For more details watch Alex’s TechEd online session at http://www.sapvirtualevents.com/teched/sessiondetails.aspx?sId=3420

 

Prompting/Variants

 

Council members gave feedback into features such as prompting and variants, which became part of the 1.3 latest release:

3promptsvariants.png

Council members also influenced prompting features such cutting and pasting from the clipboard into the prompts.

 

 

Additional improvements include better PowerPoint integration for Analysis Office with SAP teams visiting council member customer sites.

 

Questions about ASUG Influence?  Email influence@asug.com


When should I move from BEx Analyzer to Analysis?  These are questions frequently asked at conferences. 

 

I attended this Analysis webcast last Thursday provided by Nick Wall, SAP.  He shared some suggestions about why/how you should adopt BusinessObjects Analysis.

 

On the agenda:

  • What is BusinessObjects Analysis?
  • Why you should adopt SAP BusinessObjects Analysis
  • How you can adopt SAP BusinessObjects Analysis

 

 

What is it?  Why should you consider adopting?  How adopt?

 

1fig.png

Figure 1: Source  SAP

 

What is Analysis? Analysis OLAP allows you to query OLAP data, develop analytical applications, develop additional capabilities and it has 3 clients:

 

  1. Analysis Edition for MS Office – add in to Office that allows you to do analytical multi-dimensional analysis – can be used standalone…premium alternative to BEX Analyzer
  2. Analysis Edition for OLAP – web-based – business analysts can run their own analysis private or share via BI platform – successor to Voyager
  3. Design Studio – coming Q4 – premium alternative to BEx Web Application Designer – power users to create OLAP dashboards – enabled for mobile support –deploy on desktop or mobile devices

 

 

Analysis MS Office offers a familiar environment, add-in to Excel, and extends your Analysis with Excel. It has API calls.  You can create Excel formulas in Excel and extend via API calls.

 

You can combine datasources via BW or HANA to build analysis and it offers user interface customization via ribbons and menus.  You can also take Analysis in Excel and export into PowerPoint, and it is a live image, or go via BEx query into PowerPoint.  It is a live object;  you are not cutting and pasting.

 

Nick suggested using Microsoft Analysis for PowerPoint to build a board report

 

Why should you consider adopting?  How adopt?  That is what Nick covered in this webcast.

 

2fig.png

Figure 2: Source: SAP

 

Figure 2 shows that Analysis OLAP is the successor to Voyager

 

Analysis OLAP has the common look and feel of products across BI Suite

 

It connects to BW, HANA, EPM solutions, MSAS

 

It calls those information sources into a single view so you can share with others

 

It offers interoperability with other tools using Analysis Views with multidimensional analysis, save that result view as Analysis view, connect to BI platform and share that with other tools – share with wide user community such as Crystal Reports for Enterprise or Web Intelligence users.

 

3fig.png

Figure 3: Source: SAP

 

Figure 3 shows  how you can use Analysis to use new BI tools without disrupting current environment

 

It has a direct connection to BEx queries; there is no need to edit or migrate them

 

It supports 3.5 BEx queries and 7.x

 

BEx Query Designer will remain in place for the future; will continue to use

 

It offers automated migration of simple workbooks (1.3 version)

 

You can also run Analysis MS Edition for Office and BEx Analyzer Side by side.  You can deploy it without changing the infrastructure.  You can install Analysis for Office without uninstalling the BEx Analyzer but only one add-in can be active at a time.

 

Simpler, more intuitive to use, common interfaces across suite of products, which may allow increasing user autonomy, says Nick.  You can combine multiple data sources.

 

Nick said you can “extend the reach of your BW deployment”, reduce dependency on IT, minimize user training & support costs with Analysis.

 

 

How can you can Adopt Analysis

 

4fig.png

Figure 4: Source: SAP

 

Nick discussed best of breed tools, the right tool for the right job.  Register for the October 2nd How to Select the Right BI Tool for Your Environment to learn more.  This webcast is open to all.

 

5fig.png

Figure 5: Source: SAP

 

Figure 5 shows a high level mapping, a recommendation from SAP.  Today SAP recommends using Xcelsius for those using BEx Web Application Designer but in Q4 they recommend Design Studio (see Figure 5).

 

I asked Nick "where is Visual Intelligence" and he said it is part of the "Explorer" family.  Nick said the BEx suite has a “blank”  for Ad hoc Reporting

 

6fig.png

Figure 6: Source: SAP

 

Figure 6 shows suggestions from SAP on how to transition from BEx to Analysis

 

7fig.png

Figure 7: Source: SAP

 

Figure 7 shows a recommended phased  adoption of BI solutions for Classic BW Customers.  The slide suggests starting with Analysis for Office, then adding Analysis OLAP, Crystal Reports, and Explorer.  Lastly add Web Intelligence, the “best of breed”.

 

Hopefully many of you have seen this information before, but Figure 7 is the first time I’ve seen a recommended order of adopting BusinessObjects tools for SAP customers. 

 

 

If you are attending SAP TechEd, the following lists Analysis sessions for you to consider:

 

World Premiere of SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio

Latest Innovations in SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Microsoft Office and OLAP

Implementation of SAP BusinessObjects Analysis at Colgate-Palmolive

Road Map for SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards and SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio

ASUG Influence Council – SAP BusinessObjects Analysis Update

Road Maps for SAP BusinessObjects Analysis

Better Reporting with SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, Edition for Microsoft Office


At last week's ASUG webcast on SAP BusinessObjects Analysis Office 1.3 (now in ramp-up) updates for SAP Hana support with Analysis Office 1.3 were reviewed.  Since then I have received several questions so a summary of this part of the webcast is reviewed below:

 

1fig.png

Figure 1: Source: SAP

 

Figure 1 shows you can use the BI Platform from BusinessObjects or use the ODBC driver

 

Procedures are different with 64 bit – is the Office version 32 bit or 64 bit and then you have to choose the right version of the ODBC driver

 

2fig.png

Figure 2: Source: SAP

 

Figure 2 shows the steps to define the SAP Hana connection in BI4, using the IDT

 

3fig.png

Figure 3: Source: SAP

 

Figures 3-5 shows connecting via the Local ODBC driver

 

4fig.png

 

 

Figure 4: Source: SAP

 

5fig.png

Figure 5: Source: SAP

 

 

SAP Analysis Office started supporting Hana in version 1.2 and could access analytic and calculation views

 

6fig.png

Figure 6: Source: SAP

 

New in Analysis Office 1.3 is the support of hierarchies, prompts, and password change with SAP Hana.

 

7fig.png

Figure 7: Source: SAP

 

Figure 7 shows variables in SAP Hana and the properties you specify, that are reflected in Analysis Office – e.g. mandatory or multiple variables.

 

8fig.png

Figure 8: Source: SAP

 

Figure 8 shows how the SAP Hana settings impact Analysis Office prompts screen

 

Ranges, single value, interval, multiple entries are shown above in Figure 8.

 

9fig.png

Figure 9: Source: SAP

 

Figure 9 shows hierarchies in SAP Hana

 

You can open the Analytic view; opening the logical view allows you to select the hierarchies

 

10fig.png

Figure 10: Source: SAP

 

Hana supports 2 types of hierarchies.  One is the Level hierarchy where you specify several characteristics in Hana and a specific order – such as Continent, Country, City ID in Figure 10.

 

Another type is the parent child – one dimension ID and for each ID you have a Parent ID – shown in the right of Figure 10 where manager ID is the parent.

 

 

Related Links:

SAP Help for Analysis Office 1.3:

http://help.sap.com/boaoffice13

 

See the SAP Hana Development Center for access to SAP Hana Developer licenses:

http://scn.sap.com/community/developer-center/hana

Last week SAP provided an ASUG webcast on Analysis Office 1.3 which is now in ramp-up.  Below I am focusing only on converting BEx Workbooks to Analysis Office and I am also including the webcast’s question & answer to share with everyone.

 

1figworkbook.png

Figure 1: Source: SAP

 

In this webcast, SAP said the workbook conversion is not a tool for mass migration

 

It takes into account the filter and navigation state of data sources

 

It is not an item-centric approach; some components not converted such as navigation pane/block as Analysis has the Design panel

 

There is a detailed log created if you enable it – what is converted/not

 

2fig.png

Figure 2: Source: SAP

 

Figure 2 shows what is a convertible object and what is not convertible.

 

Buttons are not converted due to Ribbon concept in Analysis Office.

 

3fig.PNG

Figure 3: Source: SAP

 

Figure 3 shows the conversion options and possible settings

 

Recommendation is to show the log in an invisible sheet so you get an idea what is happening.

4fig.png

 

Figure 4

 

Figure 4 shows an actual conversion of a BEx Workbook to Analysis Office.  You can see on the bottom of Figure 4 that the navigation pane is not convertible.

 

 

Related posts:

BusinessObjects Analysis Office 1.3 Your First Steps and New Features

 

BusinessObjects Analysis Office 1.3 – Does it have Report to Report Interface

 

 

Below is the Q&A from last week’s webcast.

 

Question & Answer from ASUG Webcast on Analysis Office 1.3

 

Q: Is there a size limit on the file that can be uploaded (reference to BW workspaces)

A: Have not specified a size limit; validate with customer scenarios

________________________________________________________________

 

 

Q: Are there any performance/functionality differences between accessing HANA via JDBC and ODBC

A: There is detail information on the connections at http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/boexir4/en/xi4_data_acs_en.pdf

________________________________________________________________

 

 

Q: I want to schedule the analysis workbook

A: it is planned ... most probably in a 2013 release

________________________________________________________________

 

Q: any updates on Dynamic Parameter from Web Intelligence or Crystal  to Analysis workbook

A: Have RRI support as sender. The next release should also cover the receiver side.

________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

Q: Is there a variable to choose which hierarchy to be used?

A: sure, you can use hierarchy variables.

________________________________________________________________

 

Q: Is it possible to apply a OSS note and get this functionality of Saving workbooks on SAP Netweaver system instead of upgrading the whole system to SP11....?

A: unfortunately not

________________________________________________________________

 

Q: Can we refresh individual worksheets instead of the complete workbook?

A: sure, you can refresh individual data sources. Context menu -> Refresh

________________________________________________________________

 

Q: Can BEx workbook be converted to Analysis for Office document if BEx workbook have multiple queries on multiple tabs?

A: yes, conversion also works with several data sources

________________________________________________________________

 

 

Q: Have you seen these workspace upload features used to deploy a planning/budgeting solution, where users upload updates to their budget numbers periodically?

A: no, planning is typically more than just entering new values … it is about planning functions etc. … we’re currently discussing extending that functionality to planning some time, but that is not yet confirmed yet …

________________________________________________________________

 

Q: Is it possible to refresh the workbook which is transported to another system

A: Yes

________________________________________________________________

 

Q: Can we use "Calculation" functionality for Analysis for Office on top of HANA?

A: yes, some calculations are supported ...

________________________________________________________________

 

Q: Will BEx conversion to Analysis for Office document support BEx structures?

A: Sure, they are part of the query/data source, not of the workbook

________________________________________________________________

 

 

Q: Any body know if there is a way of integrating an analysis in MS Word. Is it possible to embed a presentation containing an analysis? Is Live office the only alternative? ( but seems there are some limitations currently if report is using BICS connection)

 

A: no Word integration at this point in time … planned, but currently not with highest priority.

 

 

My thanks to SAP's Alexander Peter and Tobias Kaufmann for this webcast.

Yesterday I showed how to convert a simple BEx 7.0 Analyzer Workbook.  Today I am trying to convert a BEx 3.5 Workbook into Analysis Office

 

Converting BEx Workbooks

 

1fig.png

 

Figure 1

 

I click on Convert BEx Workbook button

 

2fi.png

Figure 2

 

I locate the BEx 3.5 workbook and open as shown in Figure 2

 

3fig.png

Figure 3

 

Figure 3 shows the opened 3.5 BEx workbook in Analysis Office

 

Report to Report Interface

 

The Report to Report Interface, sometimes called by SAP as "Insight to Action", was available before in BEx Workbooks and now it is available in Analysis Office.  The typical scenario is to have a summary report and drill into the detail using the report to report interface.

 

First you have to set this up on the backend of BW using transaction RSBBS (there are plenty of SCN community contributions that already cover the RSBBS steps).

 

4fig.png

Figure 4

 

Figure 4 shows the sender receiver set up in RSBBS.

 

In this example, I will start with a summary report in Analysis Office and drill into the ticket detail:

 

5fig.png

 

Figure 5

 

Figure 5 is a summary report of open incidents.  I select right click (context menu) on FI-GL tickets, then Go to Message List (receiver report in Figure 4)

 

6fig.png

Figure 6

 

Figure 6 shows the report I jumped to, showing the detail of the FI-GL incident tickets.

 

Figures 5 and 6 show how the "RRI" interface works in Analysis Office.

 

There are more features in Analysis Office 1.3 which is in ramp-up covered here.  It will now support HANA hierarchies, prompts and BW 730 workspaces.

BusinessObjects Analysis Office 1.3 is now in ramp-up.  I installed it recently and it gives you these features at installation:

 

1fig.png

Figure 1

 

As Figure 1 shows you have the option to go back to 1.2 or earlier version.  Analysis Office can be installed on 32 bit or 64 bit software systems.

 

3fig.png

Figure 2

 

Notice in this screen what is new - Variants, which are saved selection criteria are now included in Analysis Office 1.3.  These can be global or user-specific.

 

So now you can use variants with your Analysis Office workbooks.

 

4FIG.png

Figure 3

 

Notice in Figure 3 you can now save your workbook to SAP Netweaver (your BW system) and open the workbook from Netweaver.  Additionally you can now convert the BEx Workbooks.

 

You can still save your workbook to the BI platform, which you may want to consider doing to take advantage of Analysis Views where Analysis can be used as a data source to Crystal Reports for Enterprise or Web Intelligence.

 

5FIG.png

Figure 4

 

Figure 4 shows saving the Analysis Workbook to the BW platform

 

6fig.png

Figure 5

 

Figure 5 shows the user settings.  You could say your preferred platform is the BI platform or BW.

 

Converting a simple BEx workbook:

 

7fig.png

Figure 6

 

Figure 6 shows a BEx Analyzer Workbook

 

8fig.png

 

Figure 7

Click the Convert BEx Workbook button in Figure 7 to start converting the BEx workbook

 

9fig.png

Figure 8

 

Figure 8 is the BEx Workbook to convert.

 

11fig.png

 

Figure 9

 

Figure 9 shows the BEx workbook in Analysis Office.

 

I will write more as I learn about it.

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