Poor Man’s Dashboard
Is it possible to build dashboard which performs with amazing speed running on a low budget SAP BW system? Not a small BW system but one with a 2T database size, containing data for a $5B organization. You say ofcourse SAP has tools to speed up any BW query with BWA or HANA. But should you wait till you can procure those tools? We have one working in a public sector organization using the bare bones system.
How do you do “IT”
- We built the dashboard starting page using Xcelsius to give it the “flashy” look a dashboard should have. The front page gets the data from BW query using SAP Netweaver BI connection in Xcelsius. It loads really fasy because the query is written on a data-provider with less than 50 rows of data, one for each metric in the dashboard. The data provider is loaded using APD after the nightly loads. Using Xcelsius with Netweaver BI data connection eliminates the need for Business Objects Enterprise server.
- The front page contains a gauge for each metric. The gauge is linked to the detail page for each metric.The detail page for each metric was built using Web Application designer. Using Web Templates with common look and feel for each metric lets you develop your dashboard in a modular and disttributed fashion. Yes you can call Web Templates from an Xcelsius dashboard and vice versa. By publishing the Xcelsius dashboard and metric web templates in SAP Netweaver portal the user will see the dashboard as a single seamless application.
- How do we ensure that all the pages in the dashboard perform well? For metrics based on slow running queries, yes slow running even after doing all the performance tuning magic, queries that make you wish you could afford BWA, you can use APD to build data providers with dashboard level summarized data only. APDs do a good job and can be scheduled in the nightly load process chain to refresh the dashboard data.
- Using web templates instead of Xcelsius dashboard for metric pages allow the use of flexible drag drop drill down capabilities, making the dashboard useful for a multiple levels of user experience: from Executives and casual users to business analysts.
- The dashboard can be easily upgraded / simplified when BWA or HANA becomes available by replacing APD with fast performing queries on the base InfoCubes.
Building well performing, flashy, functional dashboards with large number of KPI metrics on large amounts of SAP BW data is possible using the basic BW and Business Objects tools even without the cost of BWA, HANA and Business Objects Enterprise server. The dashboards can provide the engaging visual experience of a flash application, summary view with quick drop down filters for occasional users, and detailed drill-down and filtering options for the consummate analysts. All this for not just a small limited number of users but available concurrently to thousands of enterprise users located in different geographies. SAP BW/BOBJ makes it possible.