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With Xcelsius 2008 Service Pack 02 combined with SAP NetWeaver BW you can now connect Xcelsius directly to SAP NetWeaver BW and I thought I provide some more details on how this connectivity works and what kind of meta-data it offers based on your SAP BW system.

First of all you need to fulfill the following technical pre-requisites:

  • SAP NetWeaver BW 7.01 (SAP enhancement package 01), Service Pack 05
  • SAP BusinessObjects Xcelsius Enterprise 2008 Service Pack 02
  • SAP Frontend 7.x installed on the client with BI Add-Ons

In addition, this new connectivity is based on the BI Consumer Services. Therefore, you need to have the BI ABAP and BI Java stacks deployed. You can find further details  in note 917950 and 937697.

Most of you are familiar with the image shown below outlining all the different options how to connect Xcelsius to your SAP landscape.

 

This image does also include the new connectivity option where you can connect Xcelsius directly to your SAP NetWeaver BW system.

When you leverage this new connectivity you can expect Xcelsius to leverage the existing meta-data from your BW query. The here shown table outlines how Xcelsius will leverage the meta-data:

   

       

           

           

       

       

           

           

       

       

           

           

       

       

           

           

       

       

           

           

       

       

           

           

       

       

           

           

       

       

           

           

       

       

           

           

       

   

           

SAP NetWeaver BW query element

           

           

Xcelsius 2008

           

           

Characteristic

           

           

Each characteristic in the actual dataset is retrieved based on the settings (such as the key and short, medium, and long texts) in the SAP NetWeaver BW query. In addition, each characteristic is also available with a list of members that you can use for filtering or providing a list of values for variables.

           

           

Hierarchies

           

           

Each level of the hierarchy is presented as a column in the data set. The depth of the hierarchy depends on the configured number of levels in the BEx Query Designer.

           

           

Key figures

           

           

Each key figure can be shown as a plain numeric value or as a formatted value based on the user preferences. This choice can be made for each SAP NetWeaver BW connection configured in the Xcelsius Designer Data Manager.

           

           

Calculated and  restricted Key figures

           

           

Each calculated or restricted key figure is treated like a regular key figure. The user does not have access to the underlying definition in the Xcelsius Designer.

           

           

Filter

           

           

Filters are applied to the underlying query. The user has access to the configured filter values and can use those values for display purposes. The user can also set additional filter values for characteristics from the underlying SAP NetWeaver BW query during the runtime of the Xcelsius object.

           

           

Navigational attributes

           

           

Navigational attributes are treated the same as a characteristic.

           

           

Display attribute

           

           

Display attributes can be used for a list of values and can become part of the overall dataset. In the actual data set, a display attribute can only be shown with the actual characteristic.

           

           

Variables

           

           

Variables from the SAP NetWeaver BW query are transferred to Xcelsius as part of the connection. They are shown as variables in the Input Values area of the SAP NetWeaver BW connection settings.

           

In the next couple of steps I will use an example query and explain how the elements are made available to you in the Xcelsius Data Manager. My sample SAP NetWeaver BW query is based on the SAP NetWeaver Demo model InfoProvider 0D_NW_M01.

Our BW query contains three characteristics and two keyfigures and we also included a variable for characteristic Country.

Now to connect Xcelsius to the BW query:

  1. In the Xcelsius Designer us the menu Data > Connections
  2. Use the Add button and select the option SAP NetWeaver BW
  3. Click on the button Browse. You will be asked to logon to the SAP system and can then select the BW query.
  4. After you connect to the BW query all the elements are shown in the Input and Output Values.

The Input area includes:

  • Filters
  • Variables

The Output area includes:

  • Variables
  • Characteristics
  • Information about the BW query
  • Static Filter information
  • Error Messages

The variables are listed in the Input and Output area. In the Input area you actually can send values to be used by those variables and in the Output area you can receive the list of members (F4 help).

If we start with the Characteristic information in the Output area – here for characteristic Country, we can see that for each characteristic we also have been provided with fields which we can use to create lists of members. This is helpful when we build selectors in Xcelsius so that we can retrieve the list of members and the data from the same connection.

In the Variables area of the Output we also retrieve additional information such as the label or display string and we also retrieve the necessary fields to create a list of members. This might now initially look strange as this seems to provide the same information as the characteristics area, but remember that you might have variables in your BW query without actually including the characteristic into the BW query (example: a restricted keyfigure filtered by Calendar Month without referencing calendar month in the query).

The Static Filter area in the Output Area provides you the information about all the filters which already have been created in the underlying BW query so that you can display this information as part of your dashboard and the user then can identify all configured restrictions.

The Information area provides access to more detailed information about the SAP NetWeaver BW query. You might be familiar with these items from the BEx Analyzer tool, where they are called BEx Textelements.

The Messages are allows you to include upcoming error messages and display this information as part of your dashboard.

After finishing with the Definitions tab, click the Data Preview tab. Here you can preview the data as well as rearrange the elements from the SAP NetWeaver BW query to form the data structure for your Xcelsius dashboard.

The initial view in the Data Preview will be based on the placement of the characteristics in the BW query, but the real power of the Data Preview is that you can re-arrange the elements as you need them. This functionality is really helpful as you can now have a single BW query re-used several times but for each connection in Xcelsius this single BW query might provide a different level of aggregation as you can define the actual to be retrieved data set in the Data Preview tab.

In addition, the Data Preview shows you which elements from the characteristics are available for your query.The new Xcelsius connectivity uses the display settings from the underlying SAP NetWeaver BW query. So the Data Preview tab also shows you how many columns to expect for each characteristic.

All the changes you do will have an impact on the actual data being returned. The data being returned is also in the Output values and named Cross Tab Data. The Cross-Tab Data element represents basically the data set you configure in the Data Preview Tab.

Now it is really important to also understand the actual structure of the returned data.

The image above shows a data set returned to Xcelsius based on two keyfigures and a single characteristic. As you will notice the first row includes labels and the second row includes the Unit information for the keyfigures. In our example the last row includes the overall result. The overall result is something you can configure to be shown or hidden for each characteristic in the Display Settings in the BW query.

 

In addition to the direct connectivity with SAP NetWeaver BW, the integration with Xcelsius offers a translation capability to prepare your dashboards for a global audience. This functionality allows you to push the used strings from your dashboard into the translation system of your SAP landscape. At runtime, the system uses the translated strings.

When you go to the menu SAP > Translation Settings you can add definitions of text strings in your spreadsheet and those text strings will then be transferred to the SAP system and can be translation with transaction SE63.

After you published your Xcelsius dashboard to the SAP NetWeaver BW system (menu SAP > Publish) and also translated all the strings, those strings will then at runtime be made available to the Xcelsius dashboard when you view it (menu SAP > Launch).

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20 Comments

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  1. Witalij Rudnicki
    Hi Ingo. Thank you for sharing this info.

    Quick question about tech. pre-requisites. You mentioned “SAP Frontend 7.x installed on the client with BI Add-Ons”. Is it required to establish connectivity from Xcelsius, or just to be able to work with BEx Queries? Thank you.

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    1. Simon Turnbull
      Ingo
      I assume the BI client shown in your diagram shown on the ECC box is there because ECC has a netweaver stack with BW installed (if you wish)
      Is this the case or are you hinting at some of the Sapphire HassoDB future state diagrams we have seen?
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  2. Andrew Barker
    Hi Ingo,

    Great blog but can you elaborate on how you translate the strings exactly in SE63. When I go there I just see “Initial Screen: Standard Translation Environment” and do not know how to proceed.

    Thanks,
    Andrew

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    1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
      Hi,

      you define the cells for translation in Xcelsius and then when you save the dashboard to BW the strings are saved and you can use transaction SE63 to translate them and at runtime they will be shown in the correct language

      ingo

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  3. Paolo Ferrera
    Hi Ingo,
    this is very helpful.
    If we already have SAP BI Licences for our end users, do we (or our customers) need to buy an Xcelsius or BO licence or only an XCelsius  development licence is needed?

    regards,
    Paolo

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    1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
      Hello Sandra,

      when you use the direct connection to SAP BW then there is no need for the SAP Integration Kit but if you want to leverage items like Live Office or Query as a Web Service as a source for Xcelsius then you will require the SAP Integration Kit.

      regards
      Ingo Hilgefort

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  4. Emiliano Castelli Vila
    Hello, thanks for the info.
    Can you tell us what happens with analysis authorizations when using Xcelsius?
    For example: If I use a Query with a variable of type Authorization (with or without user entry).

    Thanks again

    Emiliano

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      1. Emiliano Castelli Vila
        Ingo, Thanks for the reply.
        Let me add a cup of questions:
        * What about conditions are thet transfered to Xcelsius, can they be deactivated at runtime?, for example: I have a condition of type Top x (beeing ‘x’ an user entry variable).
        * The same applyed for exceptions
        * How are structures transfered? The same as hierarchies? What if I’m using cell editor?

        Thank again and again and again!

        Emiliano

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        1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
          Hi,

          Conditions are supported
          Exceptions – you can use the alerting in Xcelsius
          Structures will be shown as one entry with each structure element becoming a row in the dataset.

          I would suggest to post those kind of questions in to the forums as it is much easier to follow

          Ingo

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  5. Benedikt Wenzel
    Hi,

    thank you for the great blog!
    Unfortunatally I can’t get the integration work as you described. There is a “COM-Exception” pop up everytime I try to select a query. I am using SAP Gui 7.2. Could this be the problem? Does this Connection to BW only work with 7.1?

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  6. Michael Weimer
    Right now we are using one BEx query, which has about 20 key figures and characteristics for Org unit and Location.  We have multiple QaaWS hitting a single BEx query.  Each QaaWS has unique filters leverages a subset of the overall BEx query.  We do this because each is a a different granular level.

    It doesnt seem that I can do the same with BICS connection.  Here is what we are doing:   

    1) First QaaWS is used to fetch all the Org Units and fills a dropdown box.  This QaaWS has a key figure called Quantity which is part of the query.  This returns 1000 Org Unit rows, which are provided to user for on demand filtering from BW.
    2) Second QaaWS is designed to return only 5 of the 20 key Figures.  This fetch returns a single row of data matching the Org Unit selection
    3) Third QaaWS is designed to return location along with the other 15 key figures.  There are 1000 locations. 

    As you can see, each fetch is at a different granular level and also uses different key figures (subset of the 20).

    What I have described is a much much smaller example of what we are doing, however it looks like we do not have ability to select only specific key figures for each connection, and required to always display all. 

    The only other option I see to have this work the same, is to rearchitect the solution with separate bex queries.  Am I missing something on ability to select specific key figures and not all of them every time? 

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    1. Ingo Hilgefort Post author
      hi,

      for sure you can achieve the same with the BICS Connection:

      – You can have multiple connection pointing to a single query in the same way

      – using the BICS connection there is no need to setup separate connection for the list of values for prompts or filtering as you can use those as part of the connection already

      – you can use the Data Preview to decide which elements of the BEx Query is supposed to be returned to Xcelsius

      so overall the BICS direct connectivity not only is more flexible compared to QaaWS but it also removes the middle layer of having to create the QaaWS web service and Universe and having to transport those objects.

      regards
      Ingo Hilgefort

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  7. Ravi Kishore

    hi Ingo Hilgefort,

    Great post.I did the same process as described by you and i met the system requirements also,but i am unable to see the input and output objects. Besides, it is not giving any error. Please help me on this.

    Awaiting reply.

    regards,

    Ravi kishore.

    (0) 

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