Posts tagged WebI
Important update March 19th, 2012:
Official SAP Document with all new features of BI 4.0 Feature Pack 3 has been released. Download it here.
Overview page of all new FP3 features including links to webcasts on SCN click here.
A while ago, I participated in a SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 ramp-up project, before the GA status. In that specific period, there were still some bugs and missing functionality for such a major release. To specify one particular example of missing functionality, was the ability to create custom color palettes in WebIntelligence.
To resolve some open bugs and to bring quite some new features, SAP BusinessObjects has announced a feature pack for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0, called feature pack 3.
This feature pack consists of:
- BI 4.0 SP3 customer fixes
- The new product features that were to be included in the original BI 4.1 release
- Improved integration with SAP NetWeaver BW and the SAP Business Suite. Dashboards (Xcelsius) will be able to access SAP NetWeaver BW directly via Business Intelligence Consumer Service (BICS).
- Xcelsius / Dashboards graphical object binding directly to BW query without using Excel layer (wasn’t possible for BW in 4.0)
- Xcelsius / Dashboards waterfall charts (new visualisation)
- Xcelsius / Dashboards can be accessed from within BI Launchpad
- Xcelsius / Dashboards extensive hierarchy support improvements (incl hierarchical table component to visualise hierarchy)
- Web Intelligence will receive improved SAP NetWeaver BW support and chart functionality (color assignment and expand/collapse functionality). Also, users will be able to export reports as .TXT files.
- SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards will include improved tree views with visualizations of hierarchies and report-report interface (RRI) support to invoke SAP Business Suite applications.
- Crystal Reports for enterprise will have direct to data support, improved SAP NetWeaver BW support as well as a report repository available on the Web. In addition, three new chart types will be available: tree map, tag cloud and box plot.
- Updates for SAP BusinessObjects Explorer. This release introduces “exploration views,” which allows users (including business users) to create panels of analytics (boxes focusing on a given analytic) that they can move around the work area in Explorer to better view the data. In addition, Explorer will now support time and geospatial dimensions. In addition, users of the iPad version of Explorer will be able to access and work with the data offline.
- Universe access to SAP ERP in the form of InfoSets, SAP queries and ABAP functions.
- Ability to collaborate with SAP StreamWork. Users will be able to send BI documents directly from the BI LaunchPad to StreamWork for feedback and collaboration.
- Expanded mobile capabilities. Feature Pack will expand support to the BlackBerry Playbook and Android devices, while depreciating support for Symbian and Windows Mobile.
- Improved content search. Along with introducing deep indexing for Crystal Reports enterprise, Dashboards (Xcelsius) and BI Workspaces, search relevance will be improved with time (date ranges) and history options available.
- Added in-memory features. With Feature Pack 3, companies can use SAP HANA as a central management server (CMS) and auditing database. In addition, users will have single sign-on as well as analytic and calculation views available.
This feature pack will also have a ramp-up phase, of which the official nominations for participating customers will start in January 2012 (update 3/19/12: it has just started, not in January)
SAP’s planning is to make Feature Pack 3 General Available in Q1 2012 so that’s good news!
(Update 3/19//12: They didn’t make this, since it has just gone into ramp-up. No GA date available yet due to the ramp-up status)
More details can be found on:
SAP’s blog site by Nic Smith
searchsap.com by Jacquelyn Howard
Update June 2012: SAP presentation on new feautures
Update July 2012: Feature Pack 3 is now available for download on the SAP Service Marketplace
This year, SAP released BI 4.0, the largest release for the SAP BusinessObjects platform in years. Besides much tighter integration with SAP BW, there are loads of new functionalities available in more specific front-end tool areas.
Because it’s very difficult to find the one-stop-shop with an overview of only the new features, SAP has recorded several “What’s new in BI4?” video’s that specifically explain new functionalities, on a high level including screenshots.
At this moment, there are video’s available for:
- What’s new in BI launch pad 4.0
- What’s new in SAP Crystal Reports 2011
- What’s new in SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0
- What’s new in SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence 4.0
- What’s new in SAP BusinessObjects Explorer 4.0
There are also some complete new products in the BI 4.0 release. Tutorials for these new products can be explored on the following pages:
- Crystal Reports for Enterprise
- Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office
- Analysis, edition for OLAP
- information design tool
- upgrade management tool
Sometimes things are much easier then you’d expect. If you’re searching for information about all kind of new features for the new SAP BusinessObjects BI4 platform, you can stop searching right away, everything you want to know about it, is available straight from the official source: help.sap.com
Here you’ll find tons of stuff you’re probably interested in. This varies from installation manuals, administrator guides and end-user guides. It’s all nice organized and categorized so that you can find everything very easily. Most documents don’t require a SAP Community Network ID so go check it out.
A while ago, I discovered prototype of a new SAP BusinessObjects product which is called SAP BusinessObjects Exploration Views.
It is a product which could be described as a webbased ad-hoc analysis solution.
You can try it online by clicking this link.
I’m quite amazed about it’s functionality and especially it’s flexibility.
Let’s go through some of my early findings.
- It’s fully webbased
This is a great plus. Just like the SAP BO Explorer, this tool runs in your web browser by using your Flash plugin. This has great advantages for support costs, required hardware specs, scalability, etcetera. It also seems to run smoothly on tablets. This is quite interesting!
- Personalization options
You can specify the design of your “exploration view” just by dragging and dropping graphical objects, control objects (for example filter boxes) or tables to the place where you’d like to see them. For example in SAP BO Dashboards (fka Xcelsius) this can only be done by the developer of the dashboard. Not the end user. This can be a great plus. Another personalization feature is that you can change the type of visualization. By simply clicking the “change the visualization” button, you can choose from a large selection of vizualitions whilst keeping the underlying data. In SAP BO dashboards (fka Xcelsius), you need a developer for such kind of options.
- Visualization options
If you’re used to work with SAP BO Dashboards (fka Xcelsius) you will see quite some overlap in the graphical possibilities. For example the bar and line charts, pie charts and also the gauges will look familiar. There are also some default themes included and with a single click of your mouse button you transform your “exploration view” into a completely different style. One I like quite much myself is the “sketch” theme which is displayed below.
- Steep lurning curve
With only the minimal amount of training you’ll be able to set up a view to present your analysis on that difficult and complex information spaghetti. A regular internet user or which is used to working with online applications and which has some BI application experience will get very much out of this product without even a single training hour.
- Data flexibility
If you click on the “explore” button, you can set specific options for the selected object. This also includes the option to change the data to be shown (dimensions & measures). It’s even possible to set a drill by adding two dimensions (for example year and month).
- One version of the truth
You don’t work in MS Excel so data manipulation options are minimal. Executives always seem to fall in love with terms like “one version of the truth” so write this one down
Since this is only a prototype and I haven’t worked with it in a real production like scenario, I’d like to go a bit deeper into a single con, which is the overlap with other tools in the SAP BusinessObjects BI suite.
- Overlap with other tools
The SAP BusinessObjects BI suite has lots and lots of front end tools and with this “prototype” solution there comes quite some overlap with for example SAP BO Dashboards (fka Xcelsius), WebIntelligence and also the SAP BO Explorer. At the moment, it’s already hard enough to advise customers on which tool they should use for which purpose and this doesn’t really makes it easier.
If you look at SAP BO Dashboards (fka Xcelsius) it proves to have quite some overlap in features like graphs, drill downs, alerts etc . However, SAP BO dashboards is much stronger on the visualization front and has numerous options for connecting to all kinds of datasources. SAP BO Dashboard remains the dashboarding tool without a doubt.
The SAP BO explorer (which is already available) shows great overlap with this tool and one of my SAP BO buddies Xavier Hacking (@xjhacking) was wondering why these new features of SAP BO Exploration views aren’t integrated into the SAP BO explorer since they show great overlap. I think that the SAP BO explorer is the tool for finding the answer to that very important question. It lets you find the needle in the haystack. SAP BO Exploration views looks like it’s much more a combination of WebI and the, not yet released, SAP BO analysis for the web. The SAP BO explorer gives you a single driving lane to help you answer that single question where SAP BO Exploration views gives you highway with 5 driving lanes to answer multiple questions at the same time. This can result in not getting to your desired destination because you loose track of your goal. In the SAP BO Explorer, this will not happen.
There are a lot more features I could talk about (for example the clipboard or the alert option) but this post shouldn’t be too long so let’s wait and see what SAP BusinessObjects will do with this prototype. I’m quite enthousiastic about it and I’m looking forward to playing around with it a little bit more. For now, that’s all folks!
We’ve all been waiting a while for the final release date for the newest version of the SAP BusinessObjects suite but now it’s no longer a secret.
The world wide release date of SAP BI and EIM version 4 is February 23 2011.
Make sure you write it down in your agenda and register for the virtual launch event on the SAP SCN site.
31/1/2011 update: SAP Netherlands indicates that the release will be somewhere around the summer. Then what’s the meaning of this virtual launch?! Why so vague?