In 4.0, we have delivered a brand new unified alerting framework. This 4.0 innovation provides simple subscription-based alerting workflow and allows business users to be notified in real-time with context-specific information. A few weeks ago I sat down with Christina Obry, our Vancouver-based alerting expert at SAP and had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about alerting.
PL: Why is alerting so important?
CO: With today’s information overflow management by exception becomes more and more crucial. Alerts are one solution to this problem as they symbolize the proactive action of the system to raise the user’s attention when a condition that the user may need to response to occurs. In the 4.0 release we have introduced a new alert subscription framework that provides business users a consistent user experience regardless of the underlying tool and technology from which the alert is generated.
PL: What are the alert types supported in 4.0?
CO: In 4.0 we support three types of alerts:
Crystal Reports for Enterprise alerts: A report may contain multiple alerts, which are defined at report creation time within the SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise designer. The alerts itself will be evaluated at schedule time and are based on the current data contained in the report.
Event Insight alerts: SAP BusinessObjects Event Insight is a solution helps discover and understand the business impact of events across a business network. It processes large volumes of event data in real time, enabling users to discover complex patterns in seemingly unrelated events, analyze the information within their business context, and identify emerging opportunities or threats via alerts, dashboards, or reports.
Custom, File and Schedule events: Existing custom, file and schedule events can also be enabled with the alerting functionality.
PL: Tell me who will create and use alerts in organizations?
CO: Power users (aka alert creators) and alert consumers.
Power Users have great knowledge about the alert creation tools such as SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise, Event Insight or Central Management Console for custom, file and schedule events.
They are responsible for modeling alerts and publishing these alerts to the SAP BusinessObjects platform. Power users can also pre-subscribe users or user groups to an alert or override the global alert settings such as the alert notification email body.
Alert Consumers can subscribe to the alerts that are published on the BI platform. Alerts can be found in the public folder section if they belong to BI documents, via the BI launch pad search or if the user has access to Central Management Console under the Event tab. When subscribing to an alert the user has the option to specify the destination to which alert notification should be sent. For this release we support email as well as My Alerts within BI launch pad as destination.
PL: How do alert consumers subscribe to an alert?
CO: The new alerting framework provides with an easy and unified way to subscribe via the right-click menu to alerts on the BI platform. SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise alerts can be found in the public folder listing as part of the report that contains the alert(s). Also located in the public folders are Event Insight alerts. These alerts are currently the only ones that support personalized threshold values for the alert.
Figure 1: Subscribing to a Crystal report
Figure 2: Choose which alerts from a report to subscribe to
As Custom, File and Schedule events are mainly for administrative purposes a user would subscribe to them via the Central Management Console under the Event tab.
The BI launch pad search makes it easy for users to search for any alert and subscribe to the alert from within the search window. Additionally, BI launch pad provides the user with the ability to view all alerts that a user is currently subscribed.
PL: If I have subscribed to an alert, how do I receive a notification?
CO: At subscribe time the alert consumer determines how the alert notification should be received. In 4.0 we support BI launch pad as well as email as destination for an alert notification. The default homepage of BI launch pad contains an analytic that displays the 10 most recent unread alert notifications. Clicking on one of these alert notifications will open the Alert Details dialog, which gives further information about the alert. The user will be able to see the alert name, the alert message, trigger time and if the alert results from a SAP Crystal Report for Enterprise then the user is also provided with a hyperlink, which will open the report instance that triggered the alert.
Additionally the My Alerts section under the Documents tab provides the user with a list of all received alert notifications regardless of whether they have been previously viewed or not. From here the user can view the alert details, mark alert notifications as read or unread and delete alert notifications that are no longer needed.
Figure 3: Alert Notification Details
Figure 4: Viewing all received alert notifications
PL: Christina, thank you for your insight into our new 4.0 alerting capabilities.
CO: My pleasure!
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