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Last week SAP’s Derek Wang provided an ASUG webcast on the BI Platform Roadmap, which covered today’s offerings in BI4, BI4 Feature Pack 3 and future direction.  Derek recommends checking the SAP Service Marketplace Roadmap link for official information (SMP logon required).

See steps to navigate the BI Roadmaps on SMP here by JC Raveneau.

Derek Wang is the product manager of SAP BI Platform.  His team handles the infrastructure elements of the BI suite.  Note for this blog, the legal disclaimer applies, contains future looking statements, and is subject to change

Derek said they are in the process of updating the Roadmap.  This is a preview.

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Figure 1, Source: SAP

By BI Platform they mean the underlying support to support the BI tools, repository management, admin tools, auditing, publishing

This roadmap does not include Infoview, Launchpad – ASUG has another webcast coming.

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Figure 2, Source: SAP

Figure 2 shows the roadmap in the official roadmap on Service Marketplace.  Left is what is in BI4 GA.  Middle column shows planned innovations for Feature Pack 3.  Right is the longer term future direction.

End users see enhanced search, including faceted navigation

New alerting framework allows you to manage by exception

Feature Pack 3:

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Figure 3, Source: SAP, in BI 4 Feature Pack 3

You can use SAP Hana as a CMS and therefore manage only 1 database

SSO is empowered by Active Directory and Kerberos

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Figure 4, SAP

Derek’s favorite feature for Feature Pack 3 is Insight to Action.  A dashboard may have a specific purpose, and you have  a report with a specific purpose, start a transaction – they introduced  a way to jump from Analytics to another system.  It is empowered by Report to Report Interface (RRI) already used in BW

In past embed a hyperlink in a report but this new RRI is dynamic

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Figure 5, Source: SAP

Figure 5 shows OEM enablement and also not if you are an OEM partner .  First one is about OEM packaging – change logo, brand, and selectively include feature you want.

Multitenancy speaks to need to have a single BI system to support multiple tenants and business units.  Feature pack 3 has a new tool called Tenant Management  by provisioning a new tenant or partner – adding users, folders, etc.  It is a routine process that can be automated.

CMC offers dedicated administration – only see users and folder tab but not licensing keys or authentication.  User Attributes – in the past only import user name and e-mail address – now you can choose other attributes such as geography, role, or cost center.  Use new semantic layer that can use those attributes dynamically such as a where clause, will help you simplify dynamic filtering at run time.

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Figure 6, Source: SAP

Figure 6 shows how it helps system administrations

Hot backup – back up CMS database while the system is running

Monitoring improvements include workflow enhancements

Future Direction

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Figure 7, Source: SAP

The main goal of next release is deployment process simplification.  The goal is to implement system smoothly and quickly.  They want to make the installer more user friendly and quicker – won’t be asked as many questions.  They are looking at enhancing the robustness of the installer, with the ability retry without re-installing the whole thing again – retry from the point of failure.

You will be able to change to Sybase SQL Anywhere as the default repository database  – it is not the only database you can use – you can use your database of choice.

Server management includes new server configuration tool.  Today if you want to split a server in two, it takes a number of steps. In the future want to automate where possible or guided best practice.  It will be a centralized tool. 

Software version management – how manage versions – standardize how name software and how to discover in the About area.

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Figure 8, Source: SAP

Figure 8 shows a mock-up.  On the left, shows what you do today, if you want to create a server instance to host Web Intelligence . On the right side, there will be high level choices and the system will do the steps for the product you want and set up server.  Additionally it will conclude firewall and single sign on.  They will apply similar design thinking to similar areas as well.

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Figure 9, Source: SAP

SAP is continuing to enhance in this area from Feature Pack 3. They will support of new universe in tenant management tool.  As an example, you may have a single universe, logical structure is applicable to multiple tenants but some tenants may call them differently.  SAP is looking at a tool to automate this process.

Resource management in a multitenant environment – give the administrator to proactively manage the service level

They are looking how to do this by weight – this single department can only use resource by 20%. They want to avoid situation where one single tenant manages all resources.  Looking at different services where you may want to have a VIP class to let them have more resources.  They are looking at enhancing server groups  – dedicate servers to a group of users; in current product it is difficult to do. The server can be set up to be exclusive to a particular tenant

Concurrent licenses in a multitenant – how to control this limit per tenant.

CMC will introduce concept of tenant and how to manage.   Audit database who has access to what – user group is in audit database but not easiest way to group for tenancy – looking at tenant audit ID.

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Figure 10, Source: SAP

Figure 10 shows the proposed screen with Resource Weight and Concurrent Users and how you can manage via Properties, using the familiar paradigm in CMC.

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Figure 11 shows single sign-on to SAP Hana to allow it to be more cross-platform.  NetWeaver identity management integration for multiple SAP systems – as an example, you have a new employee and need to create in multiple systems. 

Today BI tool is not integrated with identity management in SAP NetWeaver.  Future process will have more consistency.

AD/SAP authentication enhancements can be done this today but want to simplify it.  Today you do this in CMC but the process is not always simple.

Question & Answer:

Q: Previously on 3.1 , we have SP , fix pack , LA fix pack. What is feature pack 3 . How does it fit itself in the total patch lifecycle of BOBJ

A: Feature Pack 3 as I understand it is an “enhancement package” – with new features and some fixes.

Starting with 4.0 align support model with the rest of SAP

Minor releases and have support packs (every 3 months) and patches

Patches are shipped every 2 weeks

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Q: Derek spoke of multilingual support, we found that after the initial install of BOE 4, the only way to add languages is to do a total re-install. Will FP3 allow to add new languages to our BOE 4 SP2.11 version?

A: Process limitation in 4.0 install to add new language

Multi lingual feature discussed had to do with user content languages

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Q: We are planning on installing Data Services 4.0 SP2 or Information Steward 4.0 SP2, can we still use any SAP BusinessObjects FeaturePack 3 version?

A: There is a version that corresponds to FP3 and Derek will check

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Q: Does Insight to Action only support “drill” into SAP and web links?  Is it possible to create a “drill” into SQL server data?  Is this functional for people without BW?

A: In Feature Pack 3 this is only available against BW; looking at supporting non-BW sources in future

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Q: You said in the beginning there is Webcast on Mon 5/7 for Server Configuration, I cannot find in on ASUG Events Calendar

A:  The 5/7 webcast is on multi-tenancy under BI4 FP3.  The signup link is here: http://www.asug.com/EventsCalendar/EventDetails/tabid/150/EventID/2930/Default.aspx

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Q: When will FP3 be GA

A: No exact date; they are in ramp-up and when criteria is met they will be GA and will only GA when ready

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Q: Is the RRI functionality available in all BI4 tools (i.e., WEBI, Analysis OLAP, Dashboards…) as of FP3?

A: Only Crystal Reports and Dashboards in FP3

Look to expand to other tools in thefuture

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Q: When we apply FP or patch level, it overwrites custom config files. is it fixed in fp3 ?

A: Short answer: no

If follow process to custom config in special place it should not be overwritten

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Q: Is Feature Pack 3 compatible with IE9 on Windows 7?

A: Windows 7 – yes, IE9 – not yet

See the PAM – SAP is working on it and will likely come in a service pack

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Q: Currently on SP2 Patch 5 – If would like to upgrade to patch 15 – Will it include the FP 3 features?

A: No

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Q: How long does it take to install FP 3 ?

A: Depends on many factors

Ranges from 2 hours to a half day

Depends on if it is a clean system

Explorer is an add-on and a separate install

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Q: Will FP3 be a full install or will you need to install it over a base install of SP2?

A: You can do either one

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Q: When will RRI be available in the other BI tools?

A: No date but on the roadmap


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Q: We are on SP2 patch 14…if we move to FP03 now will we lose the fixes introduced in patch 14?

A: Cutoff line was 11; but they are forward fitting into the 3.x patches the best way to find out is to contact support team

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