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SAP Business Explorer (BEx) Tools

Peter Scott

Contents Acknowledgements 1

................................. ......... 2 3 3 3 5 9

3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.10 3.11

Auto-Refreshing Workbooks ................ Using Text Elements ............................. Deleting and Detaching Results ........... SAP Protection ...................................... Saving and Distributing Workbooks ..... Summary ...............................................

...................

33 34 36 37 37 38 39 39 43 44 44 48 48 49 49 50 51 52 52 53 53 53 56 57 57 58 60 62 64

Fundamentals of BW Reporting

1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4

Basics of Data Warehousing ................. Basics of BW Design ............................. Business Explorer ( BEx ) Tools .............. Summary ...............................................

........................

4 2 The BEx Query Designer

2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14

11 11 12

Creating Web Applications

4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4

BEx Web Analyzer ................................ BEx Web Analyzer Context Menu ........ Overview of the Web Application Designer ................................................ Web Application Designer Layout ....... Creating a Web Template ..................... Manual Access ...................................... Wizard Access ....................................... Creating a Web Template .....................

Overview of the BEx Query Designer ................................................ Query Designer Layout ......................... Using the BEx Query Designer Toolbar .................................................. Accessing InfoProviders ........................ Creating a Basic Query Definition ........ Restricted and Calculated Key Figures ........................................... Advanced Calculations ........................ Using Structures ................................... Creating Fixed Query Dimensions ........ Using Characteristic Variables .............. Creating Exceptions .............................. Creating Conditions .............................. Query Properties .................................. Summary ...............................................

..... 16 20 20 21 22 24 25 26 27 29 29 29 29 30 33 13 14 15

4.5

4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9

Inserting Additional DataProviders ...... Publishing Web Templates ................... Printing Web Applications ................... Summary ...............................................

........

5

Report-Report Interfacing ( RRI )

5.1 5.2 5.3

Overview ............................................. Defining Jump Targets .......................... Summary ...............................................

..........

3

Creating High Impact Workbooks

3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5

6

NetWeaver 2004s BI Overview

6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Changes to the Web Application

Overview of the BEx Analyzer .............. Integration with Microsoft Excel .......... Executing a Query ................................ Creating Custom Templates .................. Creating a Workbook with Multiple Reports ...................................

Changes to the BEx Query Designer .... Designer ( WAD ) .................................. Changes to the BEx Analyzer ................ BEx Report Designer ............................. Changes to the BEx Broadcaster ..........

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6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9

The BI Accelerator ( BIA ) ...................... Remodeling InfoCubes ......................... Visual Composer ................................... Looking Ahead ......................................

64 65 65 66

Glossary Index

........................................................

67 69

..............................................................

Acknowledgements

This book is dedicated to my parents, Don and Valorie, who have always been there to support and motivate me at every turn and to my lovely wife, Bobbi, who inspires me each and every day of my life. I love you.

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1 Fundamentals of BW Reporting

1.1

Basics of Data Warehousing

What are my year-to-date sales figures? How will my year-end look?

For many reasons, information was once nearly impossible to extract from applications. Corporate systems were unconnected, little historical information could be stored, and the data that was stored was often inaccessible. These difficulties led to the concept of a Data Warehouse ( DW ). Put simply, a data warehouse serves as a decision support environment where corporate data can be quickly summarized at different operational levels. Data warehousing is the process of choosing, migrating, cleaning, transforming, and storing data from disparate systems into one common location, whereby users can easily extract and analyze information for management decisions. A data warehouse is also commonly referred to as a: Data Mart Corporate Information Factory ( CIF ) Decision Support System ( DSS ) Business Intelligence ( BI ) Business Warehouse ( BW ) One of the largest sources of data is typically an Enterprise Resource Planning ( ERP ) system. The process of migrating data from an ERP system to a data warehouse is usually referred to as Extraction, Transformation, and Loading ( ETL ). The multidimensional analysis offered by a data warehouse, which enables DW users to analyze data trends, exceptions, and variances of interest is called Online Analytical Processing ( OLAP ). Typical OLAP is used to answer questions such as: What was my best selling product in January? What was the total company revenue for 2005? Why was I over my budget in March? All SAP BW queries are constructed via using BEx tools, which request data from the BW database. The BW database follows an ETL process to populate InfoCubes, ODS, MultiCubes, and Master Data.

1.2

Basics of BW Design

SAP Business Information Warehouse ( SAP BW ) is an end-to-end data warehousing solution that is usually built on a three-tier environment that consists of a Development ( DEV ), Test ( Quality Assurance, QA ), and Production ( PROD ) server. This three-tier configuration separates development work from a live system, and allows for sufficient testing with real data in the QA system. Enhancements are transported through a well-defined process that moves from DEV to QA for testing, and then from DEV to PROD, where BW users can access them. SAP BW has a three-tiered architecture, which consists of the following layers. Figure 1.1 summarizes the architecture. The layers of the architecture are seen below: Presentation layer Consists of the SAP Business Explorer ( BEx ) tools such as BEx Analyzer and BEx Browser. Database layer Consists of InfoCubes, Operational Data Stores ( ODS ), MultiCubes, and Master Data Objects that can be reported on. This layer also includes the Administrator Workbench. Source Systems layer Consists of ERP systems, legacy systems, text files, or another SAP BW environment.

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1

Fundamentals of BW Reporting

Business Objects

Web Query BEx Analyzer

BEx Browser BEx Browser

BEx Tools

OLAP Processor OLAP Processor

Master Master Data Data

ODS

Info Cubes

Business Information Warehouse Database

R/3 R/3

Files Files

Legacy Legacy Systems

SAP SAP BW BW

Source Systems

Figure 1.1 High-Level BW Architecture

Objects for which queries can be created against or executed on using BEx tools are collectively referred to as InfoProviders. An InfoCube, which is a type of InfoProvider, is a subset or collection of data from the BW database that has relationships, which allow users to report on many things simultaneously. You define queries with the BEx Query Designer. You can display them as a BW web report using a web browser, or view them within a Microsoft Excel Workbook with the BEx Analyzer.

BW Query Designer Tool Query Results

Many queries can be built from a single InfoProvider. A single query definition has a one-to-one relationship with its InfoProvider. The query results from a query definition are displayed on a web page, or in the BEx Analyzer. You can format and store query results with many different views, which can result in a many-to-one relationship between a query definition and the formatted query results. Figure 1.2 displays these relationships.

Formatted Results

Formatted Reports

Info Cube

Crystal

Query Result

Web Browser Formatted Web Page Web Report

Formatted Workbook # 1

Query Definition

Query Result

Workbook

Workbook

Formatted Workbook # 2 Workbook

Figure 1.2 Relationship Among InfoProvider, Query Definition, and Formatted Query Results

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1.3 Business Explorer ( BEx ) Tools

1.3

Business Explorer ( BEx ) Tools

trates how BW content can be linked with other business tools in the BEx Browser. The BEx Browser toolbar ( shown in Figure 1.4 ) contains the following icons: Exit Save Refresh Start Business Explorer Analyzer Find New Folder Delete About SAP BW Browser Help

SAP BEx reporting tools allow users to create, locate, execute, view, format, manage, schedule and precalculate reports. The primary BEx tools include: BEx Browser BEx Analyzer BEx Query Designer BEx Web Application Designer Reporting Agent Download Scheduler All the BEx tools in SAP BW are installed on a client workstation using the SAP GUI installation disc. The BEx Browser is a graphical desktop-like tool, from where you can launch queries and workbooks and categorize them into Roles, Favorites, and Folders. The BEx Browser also incorporates standard shortcut functionality, which enables you to access documents, Windows applications, Internet URLs, and SAP R/3 transactions from a single interface. The BEx Browser allows users to create folders to organize their content. Figure 1.3 illus-

Figure 1.4 BEx Browser Toolbar

You create content within the BEx Browser on the right side of the screen. Right-clicking on a blank part of the screen displays a context menu with several options. You

Figure 1.3 Linking BW Content with Other Business Tools in the BEx Browser

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1

Fundamentals of BW Reporting

can create the following links within a folder ( Figure 1.5 displays the available options ): Folder Workbook Internet Address ( URL ) SAP Transaction Document ( Word, PowerPoint ) Shortcut ( to other applications on a local PC )

ating a package of reports. The BEx Analyzer combines the power of OLAP with all the Excel functionality. You can also use Visual Basic for Applications ( VBA ). The BEx Query Designer is a standalone application that enables users to build complex query definitions without using programming. All subsequent BW reporting and analysis is based on query definitions. The BEx Query Designer is displayed in Figure 1.7. The BEx Query Designer can be launched from the Start menu of a Windows PC, or from the BEx Analyzer, the BEx Web Application Designer, or Crystal Reports. The BEx Web Application Designer ( WAD ) is a desktop application that is very similar to other web page authoring tools. For example, BEx WAD and Microsoft FrontPage, as well as Dreamweaver, are alike in that they

Figure 1.5 Adding New Content to a Folder

all enable you to use a WYSIWYG environment when launching a website. One unique feature of the WAD is that it enables you to incorporate BW data and predefined BW objects, along with standard HTML code and web design application programming interfaces ( APIs ). The Reporting Agent allows you to schedule various reporting functions in the background during non-peak times. Furthermore, you can precalculate all web templates created with the WAD. The advantage here is that it shortens the wait time for users and reduces the workload on the servers. You'll find the Reporting Agent within the Administrator Workbench. You can access it directly using the RSREP Transaction. The Reporting Agent's most commonly used functions are: Execute and Analyze Exception Reports Print Reports Precalculate Web Templates The Reporting Agent is divided into three panes: Functions pane Settings pane Scheduling pane You use the same process for all functions. The Settings pane is used to navigate through a folder structure to find a query definition. Once located, you must enter specific settings that pertain to the highlighted function ( e.g., Printing ). To establish new settings for a query, right-click on the name of the query and choose New Setting ( see Figure 1.8 ).

Each folder created for a role or user Favorites can be further customized by assigning a background symbol and color, which appear to be translucent. There are eight backgrounds and colors, each of which has a nature theme, from which to choose. To customize folder options, right-click on a folder on the right side of the BEx Browser window and select Choose symbol and color. The graphical options are displayed in Figure 1.6.

Figure 1.6 Folders Customized with Background Symbol and Color

The BEx Analyzer is the primary reporting environment for SAP BW. Most users find it very intuitive because it is integrated with Microsoft Excel. You can add Excel calculations, notes, charts and graphics to a single worksheet and insert multiple reports into a workbook, thereby cre-

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1.3 Business Explorer ( BEx ) Tools

Figure 1.7 Creating Complex Queries Without Programming

Figure 1.8 Creating New Settings with the Reporting Agent

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Fundamentals of BW Reporting

Figure 1.9 Customizing and Formatting Printouts with the Reporting Agent

Each new setting requires a Technical name and a Description. Settings also allow for some layout and distribution options. Depending on the function selected, these options vary. For example, the Print function allows a user to build a cover sheet, page header, and page footer, and design a layout template for the printed data. The printing options are shown in Figure 1.9. Once the settings are specified, they must be saved and activated. The keyboard shortcut to save changes is Ctrl+S and the shortcut to activate changes is Ctrl+F3. A green status light will confirm that a Reporting Agent setting has been saved and is now executable. The Scheduling pane is used to generate a scheduling package that will contain the details of the query setting created earlier. A technical name and description are required for each new scheduling package. You attach a Reporting Agent setting for a particular query to a scheduling package by dragging and dropping the setting from the Settings pane to the package in the Scheduling pane. To schedule a package, right-click on the name of the package and select Schedule ( see Figure 1.10 ).

Choosing a start condition that will trigger the package to be executed completes the scheduling process. You can schedule a package to run: Immediately At a specific date and time On a periodic schedule ( Daily, Monthly, Weekly ) After a particular system event After a particular job

Figure 1.10 Scheduling a Package with Specific Settings for a Query Definition

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1.4 Summary

Create a Query Definition with the Query Designer

Create a web application using the Web Application Designer and an existing Query Definition

Execute the Query and view the results in either a Web Browser or the BEx Analyzer

Schedule or pre-calculate your web application using the Reporting Agent

Download the results of your query to your PC using the Download Scheduler

Figure 1.11 BEx Tools Workflow

Once the start condition is specified, the package is saved. Scheduled packages can be monitored from the Job Overview screen. Because the Reporting Agent is part of the Administrator Workbench, you should ensure that it is not deployed to all BW users. A strategy that limits development work in the Reporting Agent to a handful of power users is preferable. Furthermore, you must ensure that the packages created with the Reporting Agent are monitored periodically for performance reasons, especially since an incorrectly defined package can run for a long time and therefore monopolize valuable system resources. You should also make certain that scheduling packages are inserted into process chains. To do this, use the Process Chain Maintenance transaction code RSPC. The BEx Download Scheduler is a desktop application that downloads, or schedules a time for the download, precalculated HTML pages, or Excel workbooks to a local PC. These pages are precalculated using the Reporting Agent. The BEx Download Scheduler tool is typically accessed from the Windows Start menu under Programs · Business Explorer · Download Scheduler. The Download Scheduler wizard helps users to find packages assigned to their user ID, and places the results of these packages into designated folders on the users' PCs. The output of the report can also be formatted for a PDA device.

The overall workflow for using all the various BEx tools is shown in Figure 1.11. The most basic reporting is accomplished by using the BEx Query Designer and the BEx Analyzer. An alternative or complimentary reporting strategy to just using the BEx Analyzer is to use webbased reporting. With web reporting, you don't have to install any software on a user's PC, which is why this alternative is known as a "zero-footprint" solution. Query designers can publish formatted, graphical reports using the BEx Web Application Designer and distribute these reports via URLs or a pre-existing intranet portal. Highend formatting can be achieved by leveraging the Reporting Agent, Download Scheduler, or via integration with Crystal Reports.

1.4

Summary

SAP BW has evolved into a full-fledged Data Warehouse. The BEx tools allow users with diverse backgrounds to effectively access data in a timely manner. Queries are defined using the BEx Query Designer and analyzed within the BEx Analyzer or BEx Web Applications. Additional formatting can be achieved with the BEx Web Application Designer or via BW's integration with Crystal Reports. The next chapter will look at the BEx Query Designer in detail.

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Index

A

Ad-Hoc Query Designer 62 Administrator Workbench 6, 9, 22, 65 Alert Framework 64 Alert levels 25 Architecture 3

Comma-separated values 41 Command wizard 60 Condition 16, 25, 26, 40 Context menu 60 Cost Center 55 Crystal Reports 6, 9, 22, 62 CSS 47 CSV 40, 41 Customize folder options 6

Fixed ranges 25 Formatting 44 Formula 20 Formula Syntax 20 Free Characteristics 12, 13, 17, 40, 43 Function 20

B

BEx Analyzer 4, 6, 9, 21, 25, 26, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 57, 60 BEx Broadcaster 42, 43 BEx Browser 5 BEx Download Scheduler 9 BEx Queries 54 BEx Query Designer 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 22, 26, 48, 57 BEx Query Designer toolbar 57 BEx Report Designer 62 BEx WAD 57 BEx Web Analyzer 39, 43, 46 BEx Web Application Designer 5, 9, 49 BEx Web Applications 9 BEx Web Report 55 BEx Workbook 30 BI Accelerator 64 Bookmark 40, 41, 43 Business applications 66 BW Browser 5 BW query analysis 57

G

Global Reference 15 Global view 37 Goto 37, 43

D

DataProvider 49, 50 Datasets 12, 33 Data trends 3 Data Warehouse 3, 9 Default values 57 Delete results 36 Design wizard 45 Detach 36 Download Scheduler Wizard 5 Dreamweaver 6 Drilldown 43

H

Hierarchy support 62 High Performance Analytics 64 HTML 44, 48

I

InfoAreas 14, 16, 54 InfoCube 3, 12, 14, 65 InfoObject 13, 17 InfoProvider 4, 14, 15, 16, 22, 42 InfoProviders 65 Information Broadcasting 40, 42 InfoSet 54 Integrated Planning 57, 60

E

E-Mail 43 Enterprise Portal. 49 Enterprise Reporting 57 Enterprise Resource Planning 3 ERP 3 ETL 3 Excel 29 Exception 16, 24, 25, 40 Excluding values 18 Export 40, 41

J

Java connectors 65 JavaScript 44 Jump Targets 37, 53, 55

C

Calculated Key Figures 15, 16, 20 Cascading Style Sheets 46, 47 Characteristic Properties 18 Characteristics 15, 18 Characteristic Value Variables 22, 24 Chart 41, 46 CKF 20

F

Favorites 6, 16, 34, 54 Filter 42, 43

K

Key Figure 15, 18, 21, 26, 40, 46 Knowledge Management 64

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Index

M

Master Data 3 Mathematical functions 20 Math functions 20 Microsoft Excel 38, 41, 60 MS Excel integration 57 MultiCubes 12, 35

Q

Query Definition 13, 15, 16, 17, 18 Query Properties 26, 43 Query views 43

T

Tabular Data 41 Technical Names 19 Template 30, 31, 32, 33 Text Elements 30, 34, 35, 40

R

Receiver 53, 55 Refresh 33, 34 Report-Report Interface 43, 53 Reporting Agent 5, 6, 8, 9 Restricted Key Figures 15, 19 Results area 39 RFK 19 RKF 19, 20 Role 16, 46, 54 RRI 53 RSBBS 53 RSRT 54

U

Unicode-compliant 57

N

Navigational Block 30, 34, 35, 36, 39, 40, 43, 46, 50 NetWeaver 2004s 57 NetWeaver Portal 65 New queries 21 Non-SAP data 66

V

Variable 22, 23, 24, 27, 42 Variable Offsets 24 Variances of interest 3 VBA 29 Visual Basic .NET 57 Visual Composer 65 Visual modeling 66

O

ODS 3, 12, 14 OLAP 3, 26, 29, 33, 36, 39, 46, 47 Operand 20

S

SAP BW Variables Wizard 23 SAP Financials 33 SAP GUI 44 SAP HR 33 SAP Protection 37, 38 Save 37 Scheduling 8 Selection 18 Sender 53, 55 Standard formatting 62 Standardized interface 65 Status of Data 30, 35, 42 Structure 15, 20, 21, 22

W

WAD 6, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 50 Web Application Designer 44 Web Applications 39 Web Browser 39 Web design 60 Web Items 45, 46, 48, 49, 50, 59 Web report 4 Web Template 6, 44, 47, 50 Workbook 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39 Worksheet 35

P

PDF based printing 57 Presentation layer 3 Printing 38, 44, 61 Process Chain 9 Processing speed 57 Properties 17, 46 Properties pane 57

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