SAP BI 7.0. For more information, please visit the Business Intelligence Homepage.
The article provides an insight to Information Broadcasting and its significance in industry. It provides an overview of the various broadcasting options available and illustrates the broadcasting of a report to users via e-mail.
Author: Debashish Pattnaik
Company: Tata Technologies Ltd
Created on: 12 March 2012
Debashish Pattnaik is working with Tata Technologies Ltd as a SAP Functional Consultant. Debashish has got a work experience in SAP Business Intelligence and SAP ABAP.
The basic idea of information broadcasting is to make BI reports available to a wide spectrum of users. This allows the distribution of BI information via various channels in different formats to the right people at the right time. A broadcast can be configured to run
- Only Once(immediate)
- On a scheduled basis (every day, week, month)
- During specific times defined by the administrator
- When an event occurs (i.e., when an exception occurs)
- As part of a process chain
The sales users want to track the weekly sales growth. They may wish to receive the sales data on Monday morning. The data can be broadcasted to the users via mail based on authorizations; plant wise, sales organization wise, etc.
Broadcasting Report Through Mail – Steps
Step 1: Go to Query -> Publish and choose BEx Broadcaster. It opens the portal link for broadcast settings.
Step 2: As the portal is accessed through BEx Query designer, the object type is automatically selected as query.
Otherwise different options are available to be chosen from.
Step 3: To start with, click on the button “Create New Setting”. The setting screen appears as shown in the screenshot below.
Step 4: Change the description to suit your Broadcast setting purpose. You can also select the distribution type from the available options. Other available options are:
a) Broadcast to the Portal :
b) Broadcast to the Printer:
c) Broadcast E-Mail(Bursting):
d) Broadcast according to Exceptions:
e) Broadcast (Multi Channel)
f) Precalculate Value set
g) Fill OLAP Cache
h) Fill MDX Cache
- Broadcast E-mail(Bursting): This is used to broadcast user-specific information based on attribute values in the master data using the distribution list in BI. The system can control the information so that users only see data related to them.
- Broadcast According to Exceptions: Sends an exception report only when an exception occurs in the report. Exception needs to be defined in the BEx Query designer. Reports are sent when a particular alert level occurs.
- Broadcast(Multi Channel): The same broadcast setting on a BI object can be broadcasted through multiple channels(Broadcast by E-Mail, to Portal, or to Printer).
- Precalculate Value Set: This is mainly used when targeted groups are analyzed. A variable of type Precalculated value sets is filled with values for characteristic values in the background.
- Fill OLAP Cache: You can precalculate queries and fill the OLAP cache with generated data to reduce the time needed to access the data.
- Fill MDX Cache: It precalculates the BEx queries in background that can be used as data providers for other applications(Ex: Crystal Reports). This distribution type improves the performance of Crystal Reports. The query broadcaster precalculates as MDX result sets and fills the MDX cache. The MDX result sets can be called up using the OLAP BAPI.
This document concentrates only on E-mail broadcasting option.
Step 5: The E-Mail broadcasting can be done in various output formats which includes MHTML, XML, HTML, Online Links to Current Data and PDF.
The output format HTML enables that components of HTML page are generated by the system in individual files. Recipients can navigate between different filter views of the query. The MHTML output format generates a HTML page with all the components (HTML, style sheet, pictures, etc.) in one file. Recipients cannot navigate in the generated file.
When the “As Zip File” checkbox is checked, it’s ensured that it’s the most secure method for protecting the access to your data. However, the recipient must have online access to your system, a username, and password.
The recipient may not see the same as what you believe you sent, since the data may have been refreshed since you sent the broadcast. To view the latest data, an e-mail could be sent with the link back to the online source (requires recipients to log on to see the content).
Step 6: Now, the recipients of the mail have to be defined. Recipients can be mentioned in various ways:
- User: BI user names of the recipients can be filled in manually or using the selection icon.
- User in Role: BI roles can be entered manually or filled in using the selection options available. All users assigned to the particular role mentioned will receive the mail.
- Email Addresses: Individual email ids can be entered. For distribution lists, the smtp address for the particular distribution list must be entered. You can get the smtp address from the properties of the distribution list in Microsoft Outlook.
- Authorization user: If the broadcast is scheduled for later execution (background processing), the system generates the document with the settings according to the specified user. In case, the current user wants to execute it immediately, the document produced takes the authorization setting of the current user.
- User-Specific: If the broadcast is scheduled for background processing, this option enables the personal settings (language, date format, etc.) of the user specified in the User field. If the broadcast is to be executed immediately, the system generates the document using the settings for the current user.
Step 7: Subject and body of the email can be framed through the Texts tab. Even the importance setting of the mail can be chosen from the drop down list.
Step 8: In the general precalculation tab, following features are available:
Portal Theme: The theme to be used can be specified by selecting one from the available list. The theme defines the appearance of control elements, font size, colors of the precalculated BI object.
Only Upon Data Change: Once this is checked it ensures that the document is distributed only in case the document has been changed since the last distribution.
Excel 2000 Format: This option appears only when the output format is chosen as XML (MS Excel). If this is selected, the system creates the document in Microsoft Excel 2000 format. Otherwise, Microsoft Excel 2003 format is created by default.
Variable Assignment: Values can be assigned to the query’s input-ready variables (variables defined during query creation). The query is precalculated using these variable values. These variable values are set whenever an online link is opened.
When the option “Online Links to Current Data” is chosen as output format, we can find a “General Link Generation” tab instead of “General Precalculation” as was available earlier with other output formats. The “Ignore” button is preselected which indicates no variable assignment for the query. Values to variable can be assigned by selecting the “Determine here” option. The assigned values of the variable are appended to the url of the online link. The query is started with these variable values whenever this link is opened.