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Introduction to SAP Business Objects Analysis, edition for OLAP

Technical Pre-Requisites

The post will provide very detailed step by step instructions and you should easily be able to follow those. This post is very practical oriented and the functionality and capabilities of SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP are being explained by using practice examples. I would recommend that you do setup your own environment for SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP so that you can follow all steps right in your own installation of the software.

Here is the list of components that you would need:

  • SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform release 4 Service Pack 04 or higher.
  • SAP Frontend release 7.20 or higher with BEx Add On.
  • SAP NetWeaver BW 7.01 or higher.

This post is based on SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 Service Pack 04.

All of the SAP BusinessObjects software can be downloaded from the SAP Service Marketplace and you can receive temporary license keys from http://service.sap.com/licensekeys.

In this post we will introduce you to SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP and provide you with a quick overview of the product. In addition we will review how SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP fits into your overall Business Intelligence (BI) landscape and which type of user audience you want to target as users of  SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP and for which type of users you might have to look for an alternative.

SAP Business Objects BI Portfolio

As you can see here the SAP Business Objects BI portfolio consists of three main categories:

  • Discovery and Analysis
  • Dashboards and Apps
  • Reporting

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Fig: SAP BusinessObjects BI Portfolio

In the category Discovery and Analysis it is about providing your business users the tools which they need to leverage the information, analyze the data, finding outliers and trends, and use from simple to advanced data visualizations.

The following are the products which are in the category Discovery and Analysis

  • Visual Intelligence
  • Explorer
  • Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office and Analysis, edition for OLAP.
  • Predictive Analysis

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Fig: Discovery and Analysis

You can also recognize, based on the actual products in this category that this category provides you with products which allows your business users to use the corporate data and build their own analytical content, as all of the products in this category are designed for a business user without always having to rely on the IT department.

In the second category – Dashboards and Apps- the SAP BusinessObjects BI portfolio provides you with products which allow your IT department to create from simple dashboards to complex BI driven applications.

In the category Dashboards and Apps you have two products:

  • SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio.
  • SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (formerly Xcelsius).

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Fig: Dashboards and Applications

in this category it is about creating interactive data visualization and sharing the information from your corporate data warehouse by using interactive controls and compelling data visualizations. The products in this category – SAP Business Objects Design Studio and SAP Business Objects Dashboards – are targeted towards an IT audience, but the content created by your IT department will be consumed by a far larger audience.

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Fig: Reporting

In the last category – Reporting – You will find crystal Reports and Web Intelligence.

In this category it is about the classic reporting tools, allowing you on the one hand to create operational, layout focused reports using Crystal Reports and on the other hand to provide your business users with a reporting environment that allows them to edit and create reports based on a common set of well-defined meta-data. With Crystal Reports you have a BI client used by your IT department and the content is – like with products in the category Dashboards and Apps – consumed by a larger audience. In the category Reporting you also have Web Intelligence, which allows you to provide your business  users a self-service driven reporting environment, so that your users are able to create and change their own reports.

In this section we reviewed the different categories of the SAP BusinessObjects BI portfolio. In the next section we will take a closer look at which role SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP plays in our overall SAP landscape.

Which role does SAP Business Objects Analysis, edition for OLAP play?

In previous sections we looked at the SAP Business Objects BI portfolio, so now we will look at SAP Business Objects Analysis, edition for OLAP in more details. How SAP Business Objects Analysis, edition for OLAP is being positioned as part of the overall SAP Business Objects Analysis Suite.

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Fig: SAP BusinessObjects Analysis Suite

In the SAP BusinessObjects Analysis Suite you have:

  • SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio.
  • SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP.
  • SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office.

SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP is being positioned as an ad-hoc OLAP client for a business analyst. In this context ad-hoc means that the business user does not have to rely on the IT department to create the workspaces or to prepare the content, but instead the business user can use SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP to create new content or change existing content and share the findings with other users.

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Fig: SAP BusinessObjects Analysis

In the figure above we can see further details about SAP Business Objects Analysis, edition for OLAP. SAP Business Objects Analysis, edition for OLAP is the premium alternative for your current Business Explorer (BEx) Web Analyzer and allows you to provide your business analyst with a web based environment for analyzing your corporate data.

When it comes to SAP NetWeaver BW, SAP Business Objects Analysis, edition for OLAP is able to leverage your existing investment in Business Explorer (BEx) queries and InfoProvider. We will discuss the details on how SAP Business Objects Analysis, edition for OLAP integrates with SAPNetWeaver BW

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Fig: SAP Business Objects Design Studio

SAP Business Objects Design Studio is the premium alternative for the SAP Web application designer and allows your IT department centrally to create BI dashboards and BI applications. SAP Business Objects Design Studio is part of the SAP SAP Business Objects Analysis Suite and completes the offering giving you three products for your different sets of requirements and user audience.

As we now better understand which role SAP Business Objects Analysis, edition for OLAP plays in the BI portfolio, we will learn more about th etarget user audience for the product in the next section.

Who is the user audience for SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP?

So far we have looked at SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP as one BI client in the overall BI portfolio, but who is the main audience for this product?  you can see that some of the BI clients in the SAP BusinessObjects BI portfolio are designed for a business user audience and some of them are designed for IT to create the initial content. This distinction between the business user and the IT department being the main target group for creating the content is very important to understand.

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Fig: Who creates the content?

The image above shows that SAP BusinessObjects Analysis – which includes SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office and SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP – is designed for the business user without having to rely on your IT department to be part of the process to create content. This does not mean that you cannot use the IT department as part of the content creation process, in fact we have seen several customers creating workspaces with SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP in a central IT team and here the team is creating corporate standard workspaces for a larger audience, but your users do not always have to rely on the IT department.

SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP is designed as an ad-hoc, self-service multi-dimensional client allowing your business users to access the corporate data, analyze the information, and share their findings.

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Fig: Who consumes the content?

Here you can see that SAP Business Objects Analysis is targeting three out of four user group: Senior Management (sometimes also referred to as Line of Business), Business Analyst, and Individual Contributor.

For the individual Contributor th erecommendation is to use SAP Business Objects Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office and not SAP Business Objects Analysis, edition for OLAP as the workflows inside the Microsoft Office Environment are better suited for the Individual Contributor. SAP Business Objects Analysis, edition for OLAP has been designed as a slef-service multi-dimensional analytical client for your business analyst (sometimes also referred to as Power User) and your senior Management/Line of business management.

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Fig: Business Analyst

In Figure you can see details on how a Business Analyst would be able to leverage SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP. SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP and SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office would allow the Business Analyst to use existing workbooks and customize them to his / her needs, but it also provides the capability to create new workbooks without having to rely on IT personal. The Business Analyst can also use SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office and SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP to share their findings by either creating workbooks for the Senior Management or by using the functionality of Analysis Views and in that way share the findings with a much larger audience and products like Web Intelligence and Crystal Reports for Enterprise.

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Fig: Senior Management

Figure shows how the Senior Management can use SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office or SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP. In the same way as the Business Analyst the Senior Management is able to analyze the information and share their findings without having to wait for the IT department to create a new workbook using the self-service aspect of SAP BusinessObjects Analysis. In addition aspects such as the ability to create presentations with live data using SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office and the integration with the planning functionality of SAP NetWeaver BW are now very relevant for this audience.

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Fig: Where is the content consumed?

So far we looked at the different persona creating the content and we looked at the persona consuming the content but sometimes it is also an important requirement that a typical content type has to be consumed either on a desktop, or in a web based client, or on a mobile device.

Figure shows exactly this distinction and you can see that SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP is a web based client without the option for a desktop or a mobile based consumption. In case the desktop based consumption becomes an important requirement then you should look at using SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office for those scenarios in combination with SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP. For the mobile consumption the recommendation is to use SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio and create for your users the mobile experience.

In addition to understanding who the main target audience is for SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP, it is also important to understand the strength and the weaknesses of the product.

This matrix shows a comparison of the products of the SAP BusinessObjects BI portfolio compared along several capabilities.  Focusing on SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP, you can see the strengths are clearly in the hierarchical reporting and self-service aspects and the weaknesses are in the area of highly formatted reporting and more layout driven reporting. The strength and

weaknesses of SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP should not surprise us, as SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP is a multi-dimensional analytical BI client focusing on the self-service aspect and on strong support of hierarchical capabilities and less on layout and print.

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Fig: Comparison Matrix

  • Highly formatted reporting refers to the ability to create a report where the actual BI client provides the designer with full control over the layout and allows the designer to create a report that looks identical on the desktop, the web, a mobile device, and when being exported. An example for this type of report is a legal report, which has to follow specific legal rules and forms.
  • Parameterized and Dynamic Layout is a report which allows the consumer of the information by simply answering a few questions – this could be in form of parameters – to influence the layout of the report. Imagine you have a report that is asking the consumer of the report if the data should be shown in form of a table or a chart or if both elements are required, and the consumer can make that choice each time the report is opened.
  • Self Service reporting refers to the category where the business user does not rely on the IT department to either create or change the report, but instead the business user has all the necessary tools to create and change the content by him – or herself. Here in the self-service reporting category it is important that the BI client provides all necessary functionality that is required by the business user to build and change reports, without having to rely on IT.
  • In the category of the hierarchical capabilities, functionality such as being able to expand a hierarchy to a specific level or to be able to leverage the hierarchy itself as part of the report and charts are important. In addition functionality such as being able to switch between hierarchies, ranking information along hierarchies and advanced functionality such as being able to skip levels of a hierarchy are also relevant in this category.
  • In the category of Data Visualization the BI clients are being compared for their ability to visualize the information in form of charts or other types of visualization, such as dashboards. Other elements that are relevant for this category are items such as interactive navigations that can be included into the visualization.
  • With Product Interoperability we are describing the ability of the BI clients to pass a given context and the data to each other, and to also pass over the context. For example SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP allows you to create a jump link navigation to Crystal Reports based content.
  • Guided Navigation refers to the ability to create not just simple content, but also to include guiding steps for the consumer of the information. Let’s assume you are the manager of the finance department and you are looking at a profitability analysis. In addition to being able to navigate in the data itself the content also provides a set of predefined steps, such as the Top and Bottom 10 products based on Production costs and a predefined navigation to show the products with the highest and lowest margin. The BI tool not only allows to show the actual content, but provides the ability to create those type of preconfigured navigations for the consumer
  • In the category Mobile Reporting we are comparing the ability to leverage the content that was created and to consume the content via a mobile device. It is also important that this category is not just purely looking at the consumption of the content but also the types of navigations and interactions that are available for the content on the mobile device.

In this section we reviewed the target audience for consuming and creating content with SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP. In addition we did compare SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP to the other SAP BusinessObjects BI clients along a set of important capabilities. In the next chapter we will learn more about the level of support of SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP when it comes to BEx queries and the connectivity to SAP NetWeaver BW.

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