Using HANA Variables with BO tools (Pre-Feature Pack 3)
HANA provides the capability of creating variables (i.e. run time prompts) within the Modeler. One would naturally assume that these variables can be transparently accessed within various BO tools like Advanced Analysis for Office (AAO), Business Objects Explorer (BOEX), Webi (business layer) etc. Unfortunately that is not the case for any BO tool (pre-feature pack 3).
Today, HANA variables can only be used within the DATA PREVIEW tool within HANA studio. The various options/workarounds for other tools are listed below:
1) Advanced Analysis for Office (1.2): No support for HANA variables or the option to create one in the tool.
In this case, you could save AAO workbooks with the default view of only measures but no attributes in the drill-down to avoid a dump of the entire data set. The other option is to save the workbook with a high-level hard-coded filter, e.g. year = 2012 and leave it to the user to replace the default filters with the desired filters. This is the “default value” of a variable approach.
Variables are planned to be supported in Analysis Office 1.3 and Analysis OLAP SP4. Please remember that this is not an official SAP position.
2) Business Objects Explorer: No support for HANA variables or the option to create one in the tool.
One can create an Excel-based Info space to filter the contents of the HANA Info space using Explorer personalization feature.
Variables are supported in Explorer FP3 (when defining the information space) but not at run time. Availability of run time prompts may be more than a year away. Please remember that this is not an official SAP position.
3) Semantic Layer (Business Layer): No support for HANA variables however there is an option to create one in the Business Layer
In this case, you have the option of creating universe level dimension filters or derived table for calculated attributes in HANA.
The recently posted paper by Pierpaolo Vezzosi of SAP is excellent and has detailed steps on how to achieve this.
At some future point, there is the possibility that tools like Webi and Dashboards will be able to access HANA views directly without having to create semantic layer much like AAO and BOEX.