Mani Srinivasan, Solution Manager for BusinessObjects Explorer, provided this webcast where he covered new features and a demonstration of BusinessObjects Explorer Feature Pack 3. The usual disclaimer applies, things are subject to change.
Mani explained that Explorer Feature Pack 3 is one of the most important releases for Explorer. He says they listened to the customers and ASUG members’ feedback.
Figure 1, Source: SAP
Previous versions didn’t have geo-specific data. This was one of the highest requirements they had from customers for to have maps for businesses to see how companies are doing by region. If define infospace as geo-specific and configure as a geo dimension then you will see geo specific charts.
2 kinds of mapping component are shown in Figure 1:
1) Bubble map
2) Thematic map for color coding
Figure 2, Source: SAP
Figure 2 shows the second most requested feature of BusinessObjects Explorer, a new functionality called Exploration Views. Mani said they feedback they received was how do customization of Explorer. Exploration Views allow you to analyze multiple perspectives and do side by side analysis, share with people in the organization, and allows end users to do analysis of data .
Explorer was meant to be simple and easy to use. Visual elements added including input control elements and table components. He also discussed the concept of switching seamlessly between the exploration view and actual explorer information space.
Exploration view can have a high level of KPI but if you need more detail you can drill down into it. Security is part of BusinessObjects Enterprise so you can control who creates and configures the Exploration Views. You can share the view, bookmark it, and make it ready for consumption on mobile device.
SAP Experience in App store will allow you to experience the Exploration Views.
Figure 3, Source: SAP
In the past BusinessObjects Explorer would search in time alphabetical order which is not useful. With Feature Pack 3, BusinessObjects Explorer will now sort the time dimensions as shown in Figure 3 including weekdays, months. Mani said they will allow calculations on the fly in future such as Year-To-Date or Quarter-To-Date.
Figure 4, Source: SAP
Improvements to search are shown in Figure 4.
BusinessObjects Explorer is built on concept of search; exploring the results
New feature “did you mean” if you have incorrect spelling and will interpret the results based on what it thinks is the correct query
Figure 4 shows the end user is searching for sales 2011 and BusinessObjects Explorer will suggest alternate queries. A new feature is an improved scoring algorithm.
Figure 5, Source: SAP
Added multidimensional capabilities in feature pack 3 as shown in Figure 5, showing revenue by year by quarter, with 2 measures across 2 dimensions. Mani said this is not multidimensional in the “regular” sense.
Question & Answer
Q: Can you drill past City to Address or Latitude, Longitude Level?
A: On Explorer Mobile: you can go to street level information: for Explorer server: you can go to county: city level: We will add the capability to drill even further based on locations in future releases
In the charting views, can a line color be assigned to a facility and have it as a constant assignment if filters are set to bring in more facilities or fewer facilities? So the users can look for a specific color and it will represent the same facility.
Q: Does sorting happen on fiscal year / period, ex Jan 2009, Feb 2009…your demo shows only month…
A: For time: it is month and day now: we have ways to configure the it to sort the year date combo
Q: How many dimensions?
A: up to 2 dimensions, 3 measures
Q: When have .UNV for BICS?
A: Adding support in a support pack
Q: What other mobile devices are supported?
A: IOS, working to add Android version
Q: How security control – in HANA or Explorer?
A: Leverage privileges in HANA
Q: Can you add your own maps/territories?
A: Two kinds – Explorer mobile will use GoogleMaps
Explorer Browser – add map tech component at the City level
Looking to add it to server product
Figure 6, Source: SAP
Figure 6 shows what Mani and his team demonstrated, and you can see some sample demos in the links below.
SAP BusinessObjects Explorer page: www.sdn.sap.com/irj/boc/explorer
Best practices: www.sdn.sap.com/irj/boc/bi-best-practices
Exploration Views, courtesy of Timo Elliott: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McqpKaa-4Pc&feature=player_embedded#!
Explorer On-Demand: https://bi.ondemand.com/
BusinessObjects Experience: http://itunes.apple.com/ie/app/sap-businessobjects-experience/id477127303?mt=8
I thank Mani and team for a great webcast and demonstration.