This blog gives an overview and some design tips for designing Dashboards using the BEx query for Beginners.
As we all know that the today's requirement for using BEx in Dashboards is steeply increasing and also SAP have made better integration of BEx with Business Objects Dashboards.
It is suggested that we follow a Process in designing Dashboards which will give us the better control and also reduces the unnecessary rework.
- First, getting the Proper Requirements from the Client/Customer is very essential. If not, you will have to rework in design, logic and also creating unnecessary frustration.
- Freezing the requirements is the first step in the Process and should be given the highest priority. So, it gives us proper direction to get ahead.
But being a beginner, the probability of interacting with the Customer/Client is low.
First, we need to understand the Connection between Business Warehouse(BW) and Business Objects DashBoards.
BW - Business Warehouse
CMS - Central Management Server
DB - DashBoard
OLAP - Online Analytical Processing
U1,U2,U3,U4 - Users
RC - Relative Connection
CMS is Central Management Server and the heart of SAP Business Objects Enterprise System which includes User Authentication, CMS
Database, access rights etc.
We can create a dashboard in the local Workstation but if we want to publish it in the server then we need to have a user(Named or Concurrent) in the CMS .
A user is created in the CMS by the Administrator. Users are given different access levels. For Example, a beginner is given access to only few folders in the CMS whereas Admin will have full access.
A Session will connect a User to the CMS server by just logging in using the credentials. We can create a Session in IDT( Information Design Tool) or UDT
(Universe Design Tool). Once the session is created and opened, it will display all your Connections, Universes and files that are under your access levels in the IDT.
Now, we need to create a connection between BW server and CMS server to access the Query. So, we will create the connection in IDT as OLAP connection
through BICS client. BICS interface is the only connectivity to SAP BW from SAP Business Objects.
To connect to other data sources, we shall use the Relational Connection.
Finally, Publish the connection in the Repository so that when you add the query in the DashBoard, you will see this connection and so you can use it.
Finally, User is created by the Admin and session is opened in the IDT. An OLAP connection is also established between BW server and CMS through BICS which will interact with the BEx query.
The below screen shot gives us the simple Process in designing the Dashboards. It starts with 'FREEZE THE DESIGN' . In future, the customer may come with some new requirements so cycle starts again.
Before we open the Dashboards in our Workstation, it is better that we start designing on a sheet of paper. This makes us to analyze many parameters like
- Placement of Components
- Types of Charts
- Layout Designing
- Building the Logic for KPI's
- Where to use Dynamic Visibility for displaying different KPI's
- How to use less Mouse clicks/operations
- Less Navigation, More Data Visibility (etc..)
Once we have made an analysis of the design, then we shall go ahead in designing on screen. Because, designing on a sheet of paper gives us clear idea of
everything we need on DashBoard. This method of Designing on sheet of paper will make us confident because we are mentally prepared about the design.
Now, it's time to show our creativity on the screen.
User Experience is very Important in dashboards as the Customer expects a pleasant feeling in using it.
Everyone of us are creative and to make the end user addictive to our dashboard, then we shall understand some science behind the User Experience.
Check out the below link about the "Cognition & Intrinsic User Experience"
We know to add and edit the query but understanding the importance of Filter option is essential.
- Bex queries may have mandatory fields in the selection screen. So, it's a best practice to use filters to extract only the required data from BW to dashboards which will significantly reduces the load and provides faster performance.
- Preview the result and in the final screen try to uncheck "Refresh the query before components are loaded".
- After you uncheck this option, it will load all your components first and then refreshes the query so that the end user will not wait with the empty/white screen.
- Now carefully bind the data to the excel and take snapshot to check the incoming data.
- Use different colors in the Excel sheet to indicate Incoming Data from Query, data mapped to some components etc... and at the same time use less colors to avoid complexity.
- Give the description of each color in the excel Sheet so that the other user can understand your purpose.
- Use description for individual/Group of cells which are used in the query so that any user can understand your excel sheet.
- Don't perform complex calculations in the Excel sheet as it degrades the performance.
Most of the errors come from incorrect linking of the components so I suggest you to remember the below three points.
Take a component and
- Get clear with the Source and Destination of the Component. Map them. If the component has to be interactive, then do the required settings for it.
- Identify the dependent components of it and do the settings as required.
- Snapshot it and check the data.
After all the components are properly mapped, then preview the data.
You can select any of the two options depending upon your needs as it gives us perfect sizing and the perfect look on the screen.
- View ----> Canvas Sizing ------> Fit canvas to components
- View ----> Canvas Sizing ------> Fit canvas to window
The dashboard can be previewed in different formats.
Then save it to the Repository and also locally in the available formats.
- SWF (Flash) file is very useful as you can view the dashboard on the fly in your Internet Browser as you don't need the SAP Dashboards to be installed in your computer.
- If you want your dashboard to be run only in the Desktop, then choose
File ------> Save Platform as -------> Dashboard Object as desktop only
- If you want your dashboard to be run both in the Desktop and mobile, then choose
File ------> Save Platform as -------> Dashboard Object as desktop and Mobile
- Check the mobile compatibility of the components as few are not supported.
Finally, launch the 'Launch Pad' and view the Dashboard that you have created.
I felt sharing to all of you which I learnt along the way and also believe that this blog gives you some overview/idea and tips about the Dashboard.
Thank you a lot for reading this blog !!!!!