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I left beautiful Vancouver (it was not raining today) to go to Frankfurt for two weeks (the forecast was rain and snow). So I am sitting here in the Lufthansa plane writing my first in a series of blogs I am planning to write over the next couple of weeks.

I will focus on the current integration between SAP and Business Objects products and will try to outline some of the great options that we can offer in the BI area.

Myself – I started with Seagate Software (later Crystal Decisions) in 1999 as a Crystal Decisions trainer and moved to Walldorf to work with the development group from SAP and Business Objects on the OEM partnership between both of them. I had great 4 years in Walldorf and made some great friends (greetings to Ingo and Falko). I was given then the opportunity to move to Vancouver and in my latest role I am working on the SAP Education for Business Objects employees and partners.

So here are the topics I would like to cover in my blog series

1.       Overview on current SAP connectivity integration with the Business Objects product suite

2.       Crystal Reports and SAP BW

    a.       Creating a simple report with a SAP BW query

    b.      Using BW variables in Crystal Reports

    c.       Using hierarchies in Crystal Reports

3.       Crystal Reports and SAP R/3

    a.       Using InfoSets in Crystal Reports

    b.      Using tables and ABAP functions in Crystal Reports

4.       Web Intelligence and SAP BW

    a.       Building a universe on top of SAP BW

    b.      Using BW variables in Web Intelligence

    c.       Using hierarchies in Web Intelligence

5.       Xcelsius and SAP datasources

    a.       Creating an Xcelsius dashboard with Crystal Reports

    b.      Creating an Xcelsius dashboard with Web Intelligence

    c.       Creating an Xcelsius dashboard with web services

 

 

The idea behind all these topics is to give you a brief overview of the capabilities and to provide a quick outline of how you can use this functionality in your own environment. I will try to use existing SAP content as much as possible so that each group can follow my steps in their own system.

 

As part of my first blog I will describe the available connectivity options for the Business Objects product suite.

 

This diagram shows the available sources from SAP R/3 and SAP BW.

Depending on the tool you are using you can either use all of the shown datasource or only some of them.

In the next diagram you can see the available options for Crystal Reports. 

Crystal Reports is offering the following connectivity for SAP R/3

  • An InfoSet connection providing access to classic InfoSets and SAP queries
  • Table, cluster and ABAP function connectivity

 

Crystal Reports is offering the following connectivity for SAP BW

  • Access to SAP BW queries and SAP BW cubes
  • Direct access to SAP ODS objects

 

 

 

This diagram shows the current options for Web Intelligence.

 

 

 

Web Intelligence is offering connectivity to SAP BW queries and SAP BW cubes. As shown, Web Intelligence does not offer direct connectivity to SAP R/3 but instead works in combination with our Data Integrator product and our available Rapid Marts. In this way we can provide a data mart solution on top of SAP R/3 which then can be used in combination with Web Intelligence.

 

I hope this gave you a quick overview on the available connectivity for Crystal Reports and Web Intelligence in combination with SAP R/3 or SAP BW.

I would really appreciate suggestions for further blogs and would like to hear what is of most interest to people. I will then try to provide the information in the form of a short blog entry 

Stay tuned for more on Crystal Reports, Web Intelligence, and Xcelsius on top of SAP R/3 and SAP BW.

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  1. Marcel Salein
    Hi Ingo,

    this is a nice blog. I can’t await to know, what is possible with the BO products. One question about the connectivity you have described. Is it possible to use the input ready queries for planning application or can I use the Business Objects tools only for reporting?

    Do you know anything about the licence? Will the BO tools part of the NetWeaver licence? Or have we to pay an extra for the BO tools?

    Can you describe some examples like dashboards or planning applications built with BO tools and the SAP BI 7.0 in your next blogs?

    Thanks in advance for your efforts!

    Best Regards,
    Marcel

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    1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
      Hi Marcel,

      right now you can use the BusinessObjects tool for reporting but that doesn’t mean that this will not change.

      in terms of licensing I am not an expert and would have to point to the SAP / BusinessObjects acccount team.

      On the dashboards : I am planning to give some practical examples in my next blogs when I will focus on Xcelsius.

      In case you would like to see some specific example feel free to make a suggestion.

      Ingo

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      1. Mary Huang
        Ingo,

        The last time I came across Crystal Report was in 2003/2004 where it was being used for formatted reporting with BEx report released for OLEdb for OLAP.  Is Crystal Report able to link to BW natively now and leverage the full functionality such as hierarchy, navigational attributes, etc.

        In the roadmap, it shows Pioneer replacing Voyageur, BEx Web Analyzer and BEx Excel Analyzer.  What are the implication for BI Integrated plannig which uses input enabled layouts in BEx Excel Analyzer?

        Thanks,
        Mary

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        1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
          Hi Mary,

          Crystal Reports always had a specific interface to SAP BW – the queries only need to be release for ODBO (now called external access).

          Yes – Crystal Reports is able to leverage hierarchies – perhaps you wanna take a look at the Part 3 of my blog series where I show how easy it is to build a report with hierarchies.

          As for now the project Pioneer is in the planning phase – so I can’t tell what the implication is because the project just started.

          Ingo

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          1. Mary Huang
            Hi Ingo,

            Thanks for the reply.  Sorry I had not checked back earlier but was in Walldorf for some rampup training.

            So Crystal Report integration with BEx query is still through ODBO.    I did not know Crystal Report before that project so do not know Crystal Report via ODBO is a full set or subset of the functionalities of CR.  But I have been on a BW project (later also a planning project) where they explored using Cognos to connect as a front end to BW for reporting since business users are used to it and preferred the look and feel of Cognos.  I think we found that via ODBO, the Cognos front end only has 20-30% of the functionality of the full product.

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            1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
              hI,

              actually Crystal Reports is not using an ODBO interface to talk to SAP – its our own development on top of the OLAP BAPI Interface.

              when comparing Cognos with BusinessObjects you need to make sure to look at “comparable” tools.
              In case you looked at ReportNet you would have to look at Web Intelligence from BusinessObjects and I am pretty sure that the integration we have is covering almost 100% of what SAP BW can deliver in terms of functionality

              ingo

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    2. Anonymous
      Hi Marcel,

      There are a number of Premium packages that will be available for SAP customer to purchase.  Your SAP account manager will be able to help you out with these packages and their licensing. 

      On the technology side you can find some of the resources talking about the integrations between Business Objects and SAP on the Business Objects Area of SDN https://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/businessobjects

      There is also more detailed information about the latest Business Objects products on the Business Objects Diamond Technical Community.  http://diamond.businessobjects.com.

      Ingo and the team will be spending time going thru how all of this works over then coming weeks.

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  2. Ignacio Hernández
    Hi Ingo
    first to all welcome to the community.
    well, I remember myself using Crystal Reports in 90’s, mainly with VB applications, I think that there was not other option to world class reports in that moment, I know that the product had a big path from that moment to now (an SAP product). You could help me to know more about the history.
    Regards,
    Ignacio.
    (0) 
  3. John Skrabak
    I think there is a huge hunger for information on if/how Business Objects offerings might be incorporated into BW’s tools.  We will be completing a techical upgrade to BI 7.0 in another week.  To date, we have only used BEx Analyzer, and not done anything with web queries/dashboards etc.  I am really hoping to hear how SAP sees things unfolding.  I don’t want to spend a year trying to bring up 7.0 query functionality to then find out that SAP might be replacing some existing BW components with tools from BO. 

    – will some BO components eventually replace existing BI query tools?

    – will BO tools be made available as part of the basic licensing or will additional costs be involved?

    I recognize that some of these decisions may not be resolved for a while and I look forward to your future blogging.

    (0) 
    1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
      Hi John,

      we are also very excited about the integration between SAP and BusinessObjects.

      Right now our tools are able to leverage cubes directly and leverage the BW queries.

      There is no need for a 1-1 relationship between a report and a BW query – instead we are always trying to leverage a smaller amount of queries for a larger set of reports or dashboards.

      The query itself allows us to use functionality like the variables, calculations and structures.

      I can’t speak for the future integrations right now but will try to explain how we leverage a query or cube (and the pros and cons) when explaining the details on Crystal Reports, Web Intelligence and Xcelsius with SAP BW.

      thanks for your feedback
      Ingo

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      1. John Skrabak
        Will Xcelsius become the recommended platform to create dashboards rather than Visual Composer?

        We anticpate starting down the dashboard path later this yera and having a sense of what SAP thinks is the best tool to use, and where it will be investing it’s development efforts in the future would be great info to have.

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  4. Anonymous
    Hi Ingo,

    Thanks for the introductory blog.

    If possible, could you incorporate the following information in your coming blogs.

    1. Nomenclature differences in Business Objects/SAP BI.
    2. Information about Xcelsius, Web Intelligence and Crystal Reports (Links to any documentation will be pretty helpful).
    3. Advantages of using BO Tools (any) over SAP BI tools that will have a significant impact in SAP BI.

    Best Regards
    GS

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  5. Caroline DeLaurell
    Will the SAP BI Data Warehouse Product be replaced with a different Product from Business Objects or Business Objects only replace the front end reporting tools???  We are trying to get our minds wrapped around what the purchase means for us but have not recieved any clear data about the roadmap.

    Nice blog…..just need a little more info :o)

    Caroline

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    1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
      Hi Caroline,

      the integration is not about replacing each others product. BusinessObjects and SAP are a great combination of products.

      To give you some examples:
      – Crystal Reports accessing SAP R/3 and SAP BW system allowing you to build Enterprise reporting systems and great more layout driven reports (e.g. financial reporting)

      – Web Intelligence with SAP BW giving you a great Ad Hoc solution

      – Xcelsius allows you to build dashboards in a very simple and intuitive environment

      – BEx Analyzer giving you an environment in MSFT Excel with an OLAP style navigation

      so it is not about replacing products in each others portfolio – the combination of both companies is the exciting part.

      Ingo

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      1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
        Hi,

        with the portal for sure – we deliver iView templates and we also deliver an integration the KM part.

        To be quite honest – not a WebDynpro export but feel free to contact me and we can discuss in more details

        Ingo

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  6. Eduardo Romero
    Hi, Ingo..
    Few year ago we failed trying to integrate BP and SAP BW, most of the problems was related with connections where BO did not reach some objects like multicubes and features from cubes that BO was not able to manage (navigationa attributes..).. Now, this product was even “re built”.. It will be great to have detailed information about all this matter..
    (0) 
    1. Naga Ravi Kanth Batchu
      Hi Ingo,

      I’ve query in BI which has 0costcenter and a hierarchy assigned to that 0costcenter.

      Can you please tell me how i can use this hierarchy in my Universe/web intelligence?

      Thanks & Regards,
      Ravi

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  7. Rassie Erasmus
    Hi all.

    It is clear to me that from the Roadmap most of the SAP frontend will be replaced or included in or by the BO suite. Development on SAP BI BEX tools will all stop this year. Surely SAP and BO can come forward and suggest to Customers which road to follow. Which tools to implement and start development on.
    Why Develop a SAP BI7 portal with analytics and then migrate that to the BO System. Whould it not make more sence to use BO from the start?

    A roadmap that states which tools to use where in the Lifecycle based on their future plans.
    You dont spend over 6 Billion $ on a tool if you dont have a clear strategy of how you will implement the tools.

    Use Netveawer and SAP BW for the Backend and Master data management or Use Data Integartor. Use BEX tools for QR$A or use the BO Suite.

    We are all bound to our Business users and delivering BI to them, I dont want to train a user on BEX and BO… it will confuse the hell out of them.

    BO is miles ahead of SAP in the Frontend, why not scrap the products that complicate the Development and End User expreriance with the best tools out of the 2 Companies..?

    For SAP only developers that have never created a Universe in BO what training will be available to them to train them on the new Tools?

    Or will SAP and BO use this as an opertunity to sell a BI platfrom from BO to SAP BI users at an extra cost.
    SAP Bi is included and paid for by most Companies will this be discounted in the BO licenses fees?

    The implications for comapnies and USers are great not only in Money but in education, training and understanding of where all this is going.

    Regards
    Rassie

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    1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
      Hello Rassie,

      not sure where you get the impression that BusinessObjects tools are replacing the SAP tools.

      In the BusinessObjects area in SDN you can find the roadmap and yo uwill recognize that the report designer is replaced by Crystal Reports but that in other the tools are staying and that the BEx Analyzer tool is being combined with the BusinessObjects Voyager tool.

      This is not about replacing each others tool – this is about taking the best from both and that is already reflected in the product roadmap which is on SDN.

      Link to the roadmap:
      https://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/go/portal/prtroot/docs/library/uuid/10c3bca6-7dbc-2a10-7aa8-81d2731c7bb1

      Ingo

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      1. Rassie Erasmus
        Hi

        The roadmap states that now new development will take place on BEX Report writer or Web Analyzer.
        Think of the wheel, you had wooden wheels with metal as the tyre, then alanog came rubber and replaced the metal. Both were the same in that it guarded the wooden rim from the road surface…but rubber was just better.

        As per the roadmap Crystal will replace Report Writer.
        Xcelsius for dashboards is a far superior tool than WAD. I cant see what functionality is in Web Application Designer that will exist in Xcelsius+.
        All I am trying to get my head around is which Development route will have the least Business impact.
        Basically if the look and feel of the new tools will be more like BO then surely one should Develop any new Systems on the BO stack rather than BEX, to minimize the affects on the User comunity?

        Regards
        Rassie

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      2. Rassie Erasmus
        Hi

        The roadmap states that now new development will take place on BEX Report writer or Web Analyzer.
        Think of the wheel, you had wooden wheels with metal as the tyre, then alanog came rubber and replaced the metal. Both were the same in that it guarded the wooden rim from the road surface…but rubber was just better.

        As per the roadmap Crystal will replace Report Writer.
        Xcelsius for dashboards is a far superior tool than WAD. I cant see what functionality is in Web Application Designer that will exist in Xcelsius+.
        All I am trying to get my head around is which Development route will have the least Business impact.
        Basically if the look and feel of the new tools will be more like BO then surely one should Develop any new Systems on the BO stack rather than BEX, to minimize the affects on the User comunity?

        Regards
        Rassie

        (0) 
      3. Rassie Erasmus
        Hi

        The roadmap states that now new development will take place on BEX Report writer or Web Analyzer.
        Think of the wheel, you had wooden wheels with metal as the tyre, then alanog came rubber and replaced the metal. Both were the same in that it guarded the wooden rim from the road surface…but rubber was just better.

        As per the roadmap Crystal will replace Report Writer.
        Xcelsius for dashboards is a far superior tool than WAD. I cant see what functionality is in Web Application Designer that will exist in Xcelsius+.
        All I am trying to get my head around is which Development route will have the least Business impact.
        Basically if the look and feel of the new tools will be more like BO then surely one should Develop any new Systems on the BO stack rather than BEX, to minimize the affects on the User comunity?

        Regards
        Rassie

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      4. reddy reddy
        Hello Ingo

        At first, Our sincere gratitude for you on writing blogs(all thru 1-9) on BO.We appreciate your effort in making things simple…

        I have some basic doubts on BO…

        1.Is BO sitting on top of BW database?what is its physical location in the SAP BW architecture?

        2.Using Crystal reports, can we create a new stand alone report in BO? or do we have to depend on BW queries only?
        In that case, does a BW query have to exist prior to using Crystal Reports?

        3.Do we have any manuals or user guides on These three BO tools….Crystal reports,Web Intelligence and Desktop intelligence?

        4.Is Desktop intelligence same as Dashboard manager?

        Please clarify….

        Regards
        Reddy

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        1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
          Hi Reddy,

          1.Is BO sitting on top of BW database?what is its physical location in the SAP BW architecture?

          >> The BusinessObjects BI Tools are sitting on top of the actual BI System (not directly on top of the underlying RDBMS) and are using the BAPI to access the metadata and data.

          2.Using Crystal reports, can we create a new stand alone report in BO? or do we have to depend on BW queries only?
          In that case, does a BW query have to exist prior to using Crystal Reports?

          >> Crystal Reports is able to access BI Queries and BI Cubes but you need to understand the differences and limits when accessing the cubes.

          3.Do we have any manuals or user guides on These three BO tools….Crystal reports,Web Intelligence and Desktop intelligence?

          >> Yes. All the product documentation is available on help.sap.com under the tab BusinessObjecs

          4.Is Desktop intelligence same as Dashboard manager?

          >> No. Those a two very diferent products.

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  8. Scott Sweeny
    Hi Ingo,

    Thanks for part 1 of your blog.

    I am looking to see how Voyager and Webi link together, what are the differences and what are the advantages of having both. Maybe this could be covered in a future blog – or would be really helpful if you had answers to these at the moment.

    Much appreciated,

    Scott

    (0) 
    1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
      Hi Vitaliy,

      on help.sap.com you can find all the documentation for our software and the installation guide also include the minimum required hardware for the software.

      You would need a RDBMS system for the system database and ni terms of OS we support Windows, Sun, AIX, Linux, HP

      Ingo

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  9. Glen Spalding
    hi ingo,
    am relatively new to BI, but old hat with R3 etc.
    my question is this.
    if you require WebI to access a Cluster table ? how would you do it ?
    is it even possible ?

    thanks
    glen

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  10. J J
    what is going to be in Crystal lite? Do we still need SAP integration kit with Crystal and other BO products?

    Thanks,
    Thomas.

    (0) 
    1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
      take a look at the combined roadmap for NetWeaver BI and BusinessObjects. You should be able to get details from that and there is also a detailed FAQ in the Netweaver BI area.

      Ingo

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  11. Adrian Wyss
    Dear Ingo

    Is it possible to use a BEx Query based universe from Crystal? I try to implement such a thing… I’m able to access the BEx query direct from Crystal, I’m also able to source data from a BEx query based universe with WebI, but I get a “Logon failed!” error if I use the same universe with Crystal.

    I’m using Crystal BO XI 3.1 with Integration Kit and Crystal 2008.

    Is this a known bug or should this work in theory?

    Best regards,
    Adrian

    (0) 
    1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
      Hi Adrian,

      a OLAP Universe is not supported for Crystal Reports but you can use the connectivity from the SAP Integration Kit with Crystal Report.

      Ingo

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  12. Ashish B
    Hi Ingo,

    First of all thanks for such a good information.

    Database of SAP R/3
    Report Development – Crystal XI R2
    BO XI 3.x Enterprise
    SAP Integrtion Kit 3
    SAP GUI 6.40

    I have developed reports in Crystal XI R2. I uploaded them in BO XI 3.0 repository. But when I try view them throught Infoview it generates error- ‘An error has occurred: Servlet execution threw an exception ‘ 

    Any help please.

    Regards,
    Ashish

    (0) 
  13. archana g
    Hi Ingo,

    I’m very new to BusinessObjects. I’m with SAP CRM background. I have couple of queries which are listed below.

    Does the connectivity options you have mentioned remains the same for even SAP CRM..?

    If yes, I would like to fetch the data directly from SAP CRM tables & generate the reports in BOBJ. Ex : I want to fetch sales orders from CRM_ORDERADM_H table & generate crystal report. How do I do this..?

    I have gone through help.sap.com which focusses on configuration document for R/3 & BOBJ. Do I have to follow the same document for SAP CRM..?

    If you have any other relevant configuration document link, please do let me know.

    Kindly help me.

    Regards,

    Archana.

    (0) 
    1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
      Hi Archana,

      – the connection remains the same because it is module independent

      – in regards to the tables you could use the OpenSQL connectivity for Crystal Reports

      in case there are other questions I would suggest to open a forum entry in the SAP integration Kit forum – easier to follow up

      Ingo

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  14. Ash b
    Hi Ingo,

    I am new to BO’s concept (working on SAP BI), I just want to know from where should I start the BO’s concepts.. Can you please suggest me or send me the exact link, (It’s means highlighted doc’s) and Under Bo’s which part  is most impotent to client prospective.

    Could you please let me know the highfy documents.  

    (0) 
    1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
      (0) 
  15. Jairo Melo
    It’s very interesting, thanks for the explanation, I found it very useful.  I wonder if you will introduce a topic about the issues between BEx Query Structures and the Universe, when a key Figure changes invalidates the Universes or the BObj reports.  What should be the best practice when we wanna use a BEx Query as foundation of our Universes.
    (0) 
    1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
      Hello Jairo,

      I would suggest that you open a case in the Forums in case you facing any issue and I am sure people will provide their feedback and input.

      On the Universe change Management there have been a lot of improvements in Service Pack 02 for XI 3.1

      Ingo

      (0) 
  16. sunilkumar koneru
    Hi ,

    I am developing reports using Web Intelligence Rich Client. which these reports should be shared with various users.

    could you suggest me the possible ways to generate reports and making it accessible through web.

    It would be very helpful to me if you provide me clear information regarding this .

    regards
    Sunil

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  17. Sebastian Menzl
    Hi Ingo,

    Our SAP operations group already managed the access from Crystal to our SAP ECC60. They installed these transports:
    * Open SQL Connectivity-Transport (K900648.r21)
    * InfoSetConnectivity-Transport (K900575.r21)
    * Transport zur Sicherheitsdefinition auf Zeilenebene (K900627.r21)
    * Transport für die Clusterdefinition (K900628.r21)
    * Transport für Authentifizierungshelfer (K900578.r21)

    They did not create a new namespace because, transports did create their own namespace /CRYSTAL/.

    We also configured the roles and permissions as described in the “BusinessObjects XI Integration für
    SAP Solutions-Installations- und
    Verwaltungshandbuch”.

    Problem:
    1) When i access from Crystal to SAP via the Infoset-Driver, i do not see any Infosets.
    2) When I access from via the Tables-Driver, i do see the tables but not all of them

    Do you have any ideas ?

    Thanks a lot,
    Sebastian

    (0) 
    1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
      Hello Sebastian,
      I would suggest you enter the question into the corresponding forum for the SAP Integration Kit and I am sure you will receive an answer.

      regards
      Ingo Hilgefort

      (0) 
      1. Sebastian Menzl
        Hi Ingo,

        you saved my day. I found your answer in the forum for the SAP Integration Kit. I assigned in SAP ERP in SQ03 Transaction my Crystal User to the usergroup which owns the InfoSets, and now i can see them in Crystal !!!

        Thanks a lot,
        Sebastian

        (0) 
    1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
      Hi,
      SAP JCo is required as part of the SAP Integration Kit installation for SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise and SAP BusinessObjects Edge.

      Ingo

      (0) 
  18. Tayyab Muhammad
    Hi,
    Thanks for your useful blog.

    I am creating the OLAP universe from SASS cube 2008, all date field is converted into character object, when I change manaully character into date and create the webi report I got the error “Driver not capable”. Due to this reason I am unable to build the time hierarchy and interactive calendar on prompt pages.

    please guide me.

    (0) 

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