Edited 02/03/2011: thanks to Thomas and Joerg for their comments.
Yesterday, 15th of February, was first day of the DSAG (German SAP User Group) Technology Days in Hannover. I watched the BI/BO track with the title “Use Information”.
My first track was “Update BW 7.3, HANA and roadmap” held by Jörg Hoffmeister and Heiko Schneider. Jörg stated that ramp-up for BW 7.3 is still open, and they’re lucky for customers to test BW 7.3 during ramp-up. He also introduced some features of the new release. My takeaway about BW 7.3: Semantic Partitioning is very interesting. It is customizable by Business Add-Ins, and allows you a flexible definition of semantic partitions. With the new DataFlow Migration Tool you can easily migrate your old BW 3.x data flows to new BW 7.x data flows. If something went wrong during migration, you can go back to your old data flow as often as you want. They also showed HANA 1.x and an outlook to HANA 2.x. Most of the data can be saved in HANA. They think of replacing the underlying RDMS of BW by HANA. You can save your data from BW to HANA using BO data services. But you can also save your ERP data into HANA box. To do this you should use Sybase Replication Services.
The second track was “SAP Business Objects Business Intelligence: News from Development” held by Alexander Peter and Jörg Wolf. Jörg showed that in BI 4.0 BICS will be the only interface to BW, replacing MDX and API which is used by Crystal and WebI. WebI will also use BICS and replace the need to create a universe. Technically WebI will still use a universe as interface, but this not visible to the user or developer. However, for Webi in BI4.0 you can continue to use XI3.1 OLAP universes that were built on top of BW. Hence, for Webi scenarios there is no need to do a ‘big bang’ migration of XI 3.1 universes since they can run within the BI4.0 platform (always with the ‘old’ XI 3.1 functional scope). If you want to switch your connectivity from XI 3.1 OLAP universes to the BI4.0 BICS connectivity, this is a manual process (i.e. re-wire from scratch).
Analysis, edition for Office supports all features of a BEx Query. But not all other tools! SAP is offering a check tool, which allows you to check, whether you can use the query with all features in WebI. It comprises manually setting a flag what queries should be visible in Webi plus some automatic background checks in the BEx query designer (recent patch needed) and Webi itself.
Analysis will introduce a new feature, called Analysis View. This is a saved view of the query, with all navigation steps and filters, saved by a power user and made available for other information users. This is the equivalent to saved views from BEx. BI 4.0 comes with an Information Design Tool is the sucessor of the Universe Designer (and yes, Data Federator is integrated into it to support the creation of multi-source universes without having to switch tools). However, both Universe Designer and Data Federator will also be available separately in BI 4.0 in order to support the aforementioned XI3.1 universes (for Webi, QaaWS and LiveOffice scenarios). BI 4.0 also comes with a new monitoring tool, which can be integrated into Solution Manager. This tool gives you run time information for example. WAD will be your tool-of-choice for creating web applications with queries. Analysis edition for OLAP allows to navigate and drill in data in the first version, but not to create own applications. With one of the next releases of BI 4.x, you will be able to create web applications also. Then you can create your fancy web applications with a tool called “Analysis Studio”, which will get into ramp-up in end of 2011 or maybe later in 2012. For me, the takeaway from this session. Later on WAD will be replaced with Analysis, edition of OLAP. They announced that Analysis, edition for office, 1.1 will get into ramp-up in Q1/2011. As last point they showed the integration of Crystal Reports (yes, correct, it’s the old name) and XCelsius 2008 (yes, the old version) in Business Suite WebDynpros, replacing boring ALV lists. You will have some templates which you can use for your report design.
My third track was “Status and Outlook planning applications and further roadmap” held by Detlef Wassmuth, Thomas Schultze and Peter Alexander. First Detlef showed Planning Modeler on the ABAP stack, it was great! Peter showed a screencam (live system wasn’t available unfortunately) how SAP integrated planning features into Analysis, edition for office. With the next release of Analysis, you can call your planning function in BW and e.g. distribute your plan data on products, month or whatever. Really great job and very impressive! Finally Thomas introduced SAP BO Planning and Consolidation (formerly known as Outlooksoft), based on MS SQL Server. SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation is available in two different versions: NetWeaver BW based and MS SQL Server based.
The current release is version 7.5, but in 2011 SAP will ramp-up a new version. The Business Process flows are already available in 7.5 (in both versions)
The new version will offer an integration with XCelsius, you can define a business process workflow and you can drill-through to the source system (ERP, BW or BO). SAP and non-SAP systems can be integrated with FIM – SAP BusinessObjects Financial Information Management which is based on SAP BusinessObjects Data Services, but has a business user, easy to use front end.
These are really interesting news!
Unfortunately I had to catch the train and had to leave Hannover! But there were really great news, cool new features and very interesting functions for customers.