SAP integration kit which came out after the BusinessObjects acquisition by SAP had lot of expectations and yes it came quite close to match them. Consultants new to BI-BOBJ integration arena got the initial impression that it would take significant effort and time to install it and would require lot of configuration. But if all things are in place then it takes only 30-60 minutes to install the kit.
Actually BusinessObjects has got Integration Kit for every major ERP software solutions like SAP, BAAN, PeopleSoft, Siebel, etc. What Integration Kit does is very simple- it provides BusinessObjects suite of products the connectivity to these solutions so that BOBJ products can work on the data in the respective systems.
Though Integration Kit comes with many components and functionalities here I would be discussing only the database drivers. In future I will be posting other details about SAP Integration kit in my blogs. There are six database drivers which come with the Integration Kit for SAP Solutions, which provide connectivity to the SAP data-
1) Open SQL Driver: It provides easy and direct access to the SAP transparent tables, Views, pool tables and cluster tables. It also provides connectivity to the ABAP functions and data clusters. So no more ABAP development needed for reporting off tables in ECC system. One can now easily create printer pretty reports using Crystal on top of tables or functions with quick turnaround time. This driver has got very strong utility and caters to wide range of audience.
2) Infoset Driver: One can report on the R/3 Infosets or ABAP queries through this driver. Thus as the logic is already built inside these components one can just reuse them and build a formatted report in Crystal. One should create Crystal reports on top of Infosets or Queries wherever applicable as that way Crystal doesn’t have to perform the task of collecting and filtering the data, rather it just does the formatting and display. I am not suggesting that Crystal can’t do the same but it would be more efficient this way. Also one can reuse the existing Infosets and queries reducing the development time for Crystal reports.
3) BW Query Driver: This driver is very tightly integrated with Crystal and provides the connectivity to BW queries. Though one can easily create report on the BW queries, it lacks some features which are provided in MDX Query Driver described below.
4) BW MDX Query Driver: It provides additional flexibility when one wants to report BW cubes or queries. One can create report on queries with multiple structures and can also directly access the BW cubes. I would always recommend using this driver for reporting on BW Query.
5) DSO Driver: The Data Store Objects driver allows one to report on the DSO objects directly instead of going through the queries. It is very useful as it exposes the detailed reporting layer in BW to the Crystal Reports. Though one has to be careful about using this driver if there is need for master data attributes in the report.
6) OLAP BAPI driver: This driver is used for reporting on multidimensional data in BW. For example Voyager uses this driver for multidimensional reporting on top of BW cubes. This is the only reporting tool in BOBJ suite of products which can do the multidimensional reporting hence the driver is a must for multidimensional reporting.
Please feel free to post questions on any specific driver and its utility.