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Last month, Ingo Hilgefort, SAP Mentor Initiative, provided a lecture to the Student BI club session regarding BusinessObjects Analysis clients.

The following is the agenda:

Introducing BusinessObjects Analysis Clients
–    Right tool for the Right Job
–    Analysis in BI 4.0
–    Analysis Clients High-Level Roadmap
What is BusinessObjects Analysis?
–    Analysis, Edition for Office
–    Analysis, Edition for OLAP
–    Analysis Studio

Right tool for the Right Job

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Figure 1 The Right Tool for the Job (Source: SAP)

 

Ingo provided a brief overview of each client shown in Figure 1 and he talked about Analysis, MS Office Edition being the premium successor to BEx Analyzer.

SAP BusinessObjects Analysis Suite in BI 4.0

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Figure 2 Analysis Clients in BI 4.0 (Source: SAP)

On the far left in Figure 2, the BEx Web Application Designer (WAD), is a tool for building your own custom BI application and your typical BEx Web Templates.  Analysis, Edition for OLAP, is for the Power User.  Web Intelligence is for the business user, less technical oriented user who does not necessary require a full multi-dimensional workflow,  SAP BusinessObjects Explorer is “Google” on top of data, searching for data, using common language and common words.

 

Analysis Clients High-Level Roadmap

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Figure 3 – Analysis Roadmap after 4.0 (Source: SAP)

As part of the next version after the SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 release, “Analysis Studio” (name subject to change) will be the successor to the Web Application Designer for those who would like develop custom applications.   

Comparing with Figure 2, note that Analysis for OLAP (aka “Analysis, Edition for OLAP) is not displayed.  Ingo said to think of Analysis Studio as your toolkit, and Analysis for OLAP as an application of that toolkit which will be delivered by SAP as an multi-dimensional client tool.

Analysis, Edition for MS Office (aka “Analysis for Office”)

BEx Analyzer will be around and is still supported but it is in a maintenance mode.  As a result of feedback from BEx Analyzer customers, SAP wanted to improve the user interface.  One of the important requirements from customers was also the integration into Microsoft PowerPoint

You can use multiple data sources now inside Analysis for Office, such as obtain data from human resources, finance, and sales all in one worksheet.

 

Analysis for Office provides a new user experience.  Analysis Office  used in Microsoft Office 2007 is leveraging the typical ribbon inside the Office environment.  SAP didn’t create their own charting as they are using what Excel already offers.  It is analytical as you can have multiple sheets in one workbook.  It has live integration into PowerPoint. 

Analysis also supports the new concept of  interoperability as part of the SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 release.  For example you could have an Analysis view/worksheet and share it with Web Intelligence using the open result set with Web Intelligence.

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Figure 4 Scenario 1 Client/Server Deployment (Source: SAP)

 

We have 2 options to deploy Analysis, MS Edition for Office. The option displayed in Figure 4 is a “thick client”.  On the client side you install Analysis for Office for Excel and PowerPoint and the connections to BW are made at the client.  You are not sharing connections so as a result if you create spreadsheets you cannot share them.

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Figure 5 Scenario 2 BI Platform (Source: SAP)

 

Figure 5 brings in SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise as the BI platform, where you can share your workbooks and PowerPoint inside the BusinessObjects platform and share the connections to BW.

Some prerequisites for this option are Windows XP or higher, MS Office 2003 or higher, BW 7.0 SP23 or higher.  Optionally, it will work on BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 or BI Platform 4.0.

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Figure 6 Roadmap, Analysis for Office (Source: SAP)

Figure 6 shows that version 1.0 has been released and version 1.1 will be released soon with some enhancements:

1)    Integration with Planning and leverage write-back capability
2)    Integration with HANA (now known as “In-Memory” computing)

Version 1.2 is planned for Q3 / Q4 2011 with a tighter integration towards SAP HANA.  After that, it is planned for Analysis to “talk” to additional 3rd party data source such as Microsoft Analysis Services, and have batch publishing functionality such as receiving PPT as an e-mail.

SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, OLAP Edition (aka “Analysis for OLAP”)

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Figure 7 Analysis OLAP, OLAP Edition (Source: SAP)

 

As shown in Figure 7, SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, OLAP Edition, is the “web” flavor of Analysis replacing Voyager as a multi-dimensional client from the classic SAP BusinessObjects world and being a successor to the BEx Web Analyzer from SAP.  Analysis for OLAP has a new user experience, whereas the BEx Web Analyzer was a table in the Web.   Analysis for OLAP offers analytical power user capabilities such as the Office version but in a pure web environment.

 

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Figure 8 Analysis for OLAP High Level Architecture (Source: SAP)

 

As Figure 8 shows it is the web version, known as Analysis, OLAP Edition.  It has no client server version.  You need the SAP BusinessObjects platform to have the web environment.  You have your connection, share it with the other tools, and you are able to run connections against BW or Microsoft Analysis Services (MSAS).

The client computer needs IE 7 or 8 or Firefox 3.5, Safari 4.  OLAP is BW 7.0 (SP23 or higher, MSAS 2005 or higher.  For BI platform you need version 4.0.

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Figure 9 Analysis, OLAP Edition (Source: SAP)

Figure 9 shows the first release is Analysis OLAP 4.0 and includes a multidimensional workflow.  Version 4.1 is planned for Q3 2011 to leverage more functionality of BW such as planning, budgeting and improve performance with MS Analysis Service.  In 2012 and beyond Analysis OLAP will integrate with SAP HANA.

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Figure 10 Analysis Studio (Source: SAP)

Figure 10 shows Analysis Studio, the successor of the Web Application Designer (WAD).  It is targeted as a “what you see is what you get” development environment, provideing templates from WAD and an environment to build BI applications.  In the short-term, to develop analytic and planning BW applications, you should use BEx WAD and SAP BusinessObjects Analysis OLAP, and then later start using Analysis Studio, available later this year (planned, Q3 2011).

 

Brief Demo of Analysis for Office version:

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Figure 11 Analysis for Office Navigation Panel (Source: SAP)

 

Starting with Office, Analysis using Excel, Figure 11 shows the navigation panel is like the Excel pivot table so it is intuitive.  You can navigate in the result set or navigate within the navigation panel.

Because it is a multidimensional workflow, the data is always “live”.  However if you need to navigate a few steps you can “pause” the “refresh” using the button, which is a way to pause the interaction with the backend. Conditional formatting highlights the numbers based on conditions.  You can also apply the conditions based on different measures.

Ingo demonstrated how to Filter by Measure dynamically.  For example, you select top 10 products, remove product, and add country, it will show the top 10 countries.  You can create a slide with live data in PowerPoint to share, not analyze, using the fit to slide functionality – e.g. 3 rows per slide and split the slides.

Demo of Analysis for OLAP Version:

Ingo demonstrated the tab based navigation which is geared towards the Power User audience.  You use the Analyze tab for calculations and the insert tab for formatting. The AutoUpdate button works like like Pause-Refresh button in Analysis for Office.  Conditional Formatting in Analysis for OLAP has a preview feature while the Office version does not.  You can zoom into a graph if you have a large volume of data, called “Scope of Analysis”.

Question & Answer:

 

Q: For Version 1.1 Analysis for Office, do we need BI 4.0?
A: No

Q: When will variants be available in Analysis for Office?
A:  Possibly sometime next year

Q: When will Universities have access to Analysis for Office?
A: Checking into that…

A later question that I received by e-mail is does Analysis for Office have an “edit Query” button to let you edit the query like BEx Analyzer does?  It does not.

 

What Did I Learn?

For me it helps to take a step back and see the big picture of the SAP BusinessObjects Analysis Suite as I have been using the SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Office 1.0 version for a few months now.   It helps to see the overall picture of the suite and the roadmap to see where it is going in the future.

 

Do you want to learn more?

On Monday, April 18th at 4:00 pm Eastern time Ingo Hilgefort will provide a SAP Mentor Monday: BusinessObjects 4.0 Technical Session webcast which is open to everyone.  Mark your calendar for this today. 

 

You can also join Ingo in person on Sunday, May 15th, as he will be teaching ASUG Pre-Conference session BusinessObjects  BI 4.0 Tools – In a Single Day.  The cost is $495 ASUG members and $595 non-members.  Seating/registration is limited.

 

We invite you to join us at ASUG Annual Conference in May in Orlando, FL and check out the Agenda Builder for the following SAP BusinessObjects Analysis sessions:

  • Latest News and Road Map for the SAP BusinessObjects Analysis Portfolio
  • SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, Edition for Microsoft Office: Your Premium Alternative to SAP BusinessObjects Explorer Analyzer
  • ASUG Influence: BusinessObjects Analysis

We look forward to seeing you online or in person in May in Orlando.

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