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What’s new in BusinessObjects Analysis Feature Pack 3 #ASUG Webcast

Ian Mayor, SAP, provided an ASUG Webcast on Analysis Feature Pack 3.  This is the whole suite, no matter what version you are on.

As usual, the disclaimer applies that things are subject to change.



What is Feature Pack 3?

Analysis Overview

Analysis, Edition for OLAP, 4.0 FP 3

Analysis, edition for MS Office 1.2

Analysis, edition for Application Design


What is Feature Pack 3?

What is BI 4 Feature Pack 3?  The webcast was originally titled BI 4.1.  When 4.0 went GA and indicated that a 4.1 release was coming; people do not want a full point release so soon after 4.0 was generally available.


At the same time need to get in critical fixes and features, hence Feature Pack 3.  It is a support package with new features, similar to an enhancement package.

Start of ramp-up is planned for Q1 next year.


Analysis Overview

What is in the BusinessObjects Analysis Suite?


Figure 1: Source: SAP


As shown at the top in Figure 1, the Analysis Suite contains MS Office, the Excel Add-in, the Premium alternative to BEx Analyzer , allowing reporting on BW and HANA.  You can build applications in Excel and PowerPoint.  It has  been out for over a year.  Version 1.2 entered ramp-up a month ago, will be generally available early next year

On the right in Figure 1, Analysis OLAP is a web based tool, zero client, similar to BEx Web in many ways.  It is fully integrated in BI 4 suite.  It supports MS SQL Server Analysis Services, BW, and in FP 3 will connect to SAP HANA.


At the bottom of Figure 1, the newest version of Analysis is Edition for Application Design, which is under development.  This is the premium alternative to BEx Web Application Designer.  It allows development of rich interactive web applications with a modern look & feel.  This is scheduled to be available in beta in Q2 next year.


Figure 2, Source: SAP


Figure 2 covers what is in Feature Pack 3 for next quarter.  Key enhancements are shown in Figure 2 and are in the three categories above.  Pivot With allows you to filter in on a given member and swap with one click. 

Focused Analysis allows you to control what you see on a chart or cross tab by highlighting sections of data in a cross tab. 

FP 3 will support display attributes in BW and display them in the cross tab.  Compact axis (like Analysis Office) –if you have multiple dimensions stacked up in rows or columns you can compact them in a virtual hierarchy you can collapse and expand, making it easier to see what is going on.


Data Source support will have direct connectivity to SAP HANA.  You can point Analysis OLAP on HANA Analytic views in HANA deployment and use those like any OLAP datasource


Figure 3: Source: SAP


Figure 3 shows new features in MS Office Analysis 1.2.  Analysis Office runs on a different release cycle from the rest of the BI suite because it works in a standalone package and has different versioning.

Currently 1.2 is in ramp-up. 

UI – usability improvements in the prompting screen; variable unmerge requested by customers – if you have multiple data sources in the same report and if those data sources had common prompt; in previous versions those prompts would be merged into a single prompt.   You may want to have one data source look at 2011 data and another source looking at 2010 data – you can do this in variable unmerge.


Copy and Paste in member selector – if you have a list of values you can copy and paste those values.

HANA support – you can store connections as HANA ODBC connections either locally or in the BOE repository. 


Improvements in application development – a rich API in Office to control cross tab via the macro language; build full analytic apps in Excel.  You can programmatically control and hide aspects of the UI.


UI Improvements in Analysis Office:



Figure 4, Source: SAP


Figure 4 shows optimizing when you have many prompts, especially with multiple data sources

You can show or hide the technical names in the prompts

You can show/hide variables individually using the pin buttons (highlighted in yellow in Figure 4)


Figure 5, Source: SAP


Figure 5 shows where you can add lines from the Prompts screen and the Action Menu shows where you can show or hide optional prompts.


Figure 6: Source, SAP


Figure 6 shows the Variable UnMerge option.  In the Design Panel – have a checkbox to Merge variables.


Figure 7: Source: SAP


If not checked, you will see two sets of prompts as shown in Figure 7 (e.g. two sets of prompts by sales organization)


Figure 8, Source: SAP


Figure 8 shows variable unmerge and you have the option to refresh the prompt for a single data source.


Figure 9, Source: SAP


Figure 9 shows a new button to paste members from the clipboard.


Figure 10, Source: SAP


Figure 10 shows an example how the copy and paste feature works.


Figure 11, Source: SAP


Figure 11 is for BW-IP with Analysis Office.


Figure 12, Source: SAP


Figure 12 shows an example of cell locking



Analysis, edition for Application Design

A look into the future for Analysis, edition for Application Design.


Figure 13, Source: SAP


As shown in Figure 13, Analysis, edition for Application Design is a new product coming in 2012; a premium alternative to Web Application Designer

A huge step forward for building web applications on top of BW and HANA; subsequent releases will focus on other OLAP data sources.  It provides a modern equipped development environment.  The applications are rendered in HTML5.  It renders nicely on desktop, iPad, and other tablets, according to Ian.


Figure 14, Source: SAP

Figure 14 is a web application opened in Analysis, edition for Application Design, design time.

What you see is what you get as you develop it.

You maintain your connection to the live data

You can see their data binding and do resizing, positioning, drag and drop.


Figure 15, Source: SAP


Development language is JavaScript.  It uses modern development such as auto-complete, drop-downs. 

Tool tips are available to tell you the data sources

One-click deployment to the web browser


I thank SAP’s Ian Mayor for this comprehensive webcast on the Analysis Suite

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