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Recently the new key topic BI Data Modeling and Frontend Design was introduced at the SDN’s Business Intelligence page. This page collects guides, best practices, and tools used by the teams that develop SAP Business Content to ensure consistent BI data models and reporting interfaces, easier maintenance, and compliance with applicable standards.

The BI Data Modeling part of this topic page illustrates the BI data staging aspects as consistent metadata and data flow models across all conceptual layers of the data warehouse. In the Frontend Design section you find a collection of documents that will help you design and implement user interfaces for the collected BI data using standard UI pattern and guidelines.

BI Data Modeling

The guides of this section describe how to model BI metadata (for example Multi-Dimensional structures like InfoCubes) and data flows (for example the layer architecture of a Data Warehouse). These guides are structured nearly the same way: You will start with some general do’s and dont’s and learn about the theoretical background for the particular topics. The theory is then illustrated by explicit use cases, BI data modeling patterns, or staging scenarios. The guides conclude with advice on performance considerations for the respective topic.

Frontend Design

The guides of this section describe how to design BI Queries and how to define BI Web Reports (especially pattern-based Web reports using the BI Template Wizard) on top of BI data. The guides provide information and recommendations for BI Content developers on how to use the available features in the area of Frontend design. At the moment mainly the pattern-based Web Templates are described that can be easily created using the BI Template Wizard. They ensure a consistent reporting layout across all applications and low maintenance. Also the BI Patterns are compliant with the accessibility standards.

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  1. Jayant Menon
    During the migration process problems have been reported for this blog. The blog content may look corrupt due to not supported HTML code on this platform. Please adjust the blog content manually before moving it to an official community.
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  2. A. Broeken
    I think the Blog “BI Data Modeling and Frontend Design Guides” is a valuable one for everyone who has to implement a Data Warehouse from an architectural point of view (Enterprise Data Warehouse; CIF). It would be great if this Blog could also provide practical guidelines for how to identify, select and (re)use Business Content components (roles, queries, infoproviders, infoobjects etc..)in a such a way that the implementation a) fits within the overall architecture and b) satifies the customers needs.

    As we all know the Business Content of today is the result of evolutionary process that started in 1998 and initially was driven by the Data Mart approach of Ralph Kimball. Over time SAP changed the architectural possibilities towards CIF and in the same time new application areas like CRM, SRM and so on were introduced. These architectural changes as well as the new applications led to lots of changed and new Business Content components. Not all components have been implemented with the EDW Design Guidelines in mind. It would be very helpfull if SAP would be provide guidelines for identifying, selecting and using the right components.

    Regards

    Albert Broeken

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    1. Richard Putz Post author
      Hello Albert,

      Thank you very much for your valuable comment. Indeed, we are preparing a architectural guideline, where we present informations when to use which data acquisition model (e.g. standard staging, near-realtime data acquisition, virtual providers) as well as a decision tree for the frontend end tools provided by SAP NetWeaver BI.

      This architectural guidelines will also be published within the BI part of SDN.

      Best regards,
      Richard

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    2. Richard Putz Post author
      Hello Albert,

      Thank you very much for your valuable comment. Indeed, we are preparing a architectural guideline, where we present informations when to use which data acquisition model (e.g. standard staging, near-realtime data acquisition, virtual providers) as well as a decision tree for the frontend end tools provided by SAP NetWeaver BI.

      This architectural guidelines will also be published within the BI part of SDN.

      Best regards,
      Richard

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      1. Jozsef Zérczi
        Maybe it is possible to include some of these guidelines in the Best Practices documentation. The documents are useful, but they miss the finishing touch in providing a solution in line with the architectural guidelines.
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      2. A. Broeken
        Thanks Richard for your quick response.

        To be sure that we understand each other correctly. When you talk about data acquisition models and decision trees for selection the right front end tools I think more in the direction of design principles, methods, technology etc that fits within an architectural vision on implementing an EDW. Of course this can be very helpful in facilitating a development proces that is provides results with high quality in minimal time. My request was more related to guidelines for identifying, selecting the right Business Content components and next to that the way how to use/enhance these components within the architecture vision and design principles menation before.

        Jus a simple example:
        A company wants one view on the customer (CRM, 1-to-1 marketing, mass customazation, cross selling, upselling name it). The SAP landscape consists of different R/3 systems (one per Product Line, so the same customer exists several times in different roles sold to, ship to and suppliers), one CRM system (with of course Business Partners suspects,prospects, leads, contactpersons and customers) and a SRM system (with business partners etc).

        The business partners of the company at the demand side can be the same as on the supply side. So kicking at your supplier can cost you a customer.

        As you know BI Business Content contains a lot of InfoObjects that is related to the concepts mentioned above. But which one does semantically match with the way the company’s real world and how do we ensure that we can create the one customer view (compalation of different concepts) or do we really have to wait till the moment we have sorted out our master data management issues.

        The example above sounds extreme, but there are people who believe that implementing an EDW is just a matter of activating Business Content and claim that this is the recommended approach by SAP. I am not convinced in the contrary I can not imagine that such an approach is recommended by SAP. So Guidelines for using BC within an EDW context is in my opinion a must.

        Regards

        Albert

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        1. G.T.P.F. Cheung
          This is quite an interesting issue Albert raises. In my experience, Business Content certainly has its value but mostly in DataSources, Transfer Rules and InfoSources. The further downstream (Update Rules / Cubes / Queries etc.) you go, the less re-usable BC becomes.

          Especially of you look at older BC, these contain typical examples of silo data marts to which the same source data is extracted multiple times. Not entirely what is propagated in an EDW.

          IMHO what is of utmost importance is a business data model for the EDW containing unambiguous definitions of business entities.

          My 2 cents,
          Glenn

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