In the SAP Business Information Warehouse (BW), BEx (Business Explorer) is the reporting tool used to work with data in the BW database.
The BEx suite consists of the following tools:
- BEx Query Designer
- BEx Report Designer
- BEx Web Application Designer (WAD)
- BEx Web Analyzer (Web-based tool)
- BEx Analyzer (Excel-based tool)
The BEx Query Designer is the main tool for designing queries and generating data to analyze with an InfoProvider (i.e., InfoCube).
The BEx Report Designer takes the output from the Query Designer — a query definition — and transforming it by changing fonts, text, row/column heights, colors,etc. It also allows a designer to insert text, graphics, charts, headers, and footers. The result is a formatted report that is highly optimized for printing or for using in a presentation.
The BEx WAD is another standalone tool that a report designer can use to build reporting applications that are optimized for the Web.
The BEx Web Analyzer is an ad hoc analysis tool that is browser-based and provides zero footprints in terms of desktop application software because it requires no specific installation to use.
The BEx Analyzer is integrated with Microsoft Excel and is accessible by installing the SAP Graphical User Interface (GUI) add-on for BI. Data is embedded into Microsoft Excel workbooks providing users with drag-and-drop capabilities to drill down and filter the data using SAP BI OLAP functions.
Features and Differences between BEx Reports and WEBI
Standard Reporting Functionality such as the following is supported by both tools although done in different ways:
- Row totals / Subtotals
- Text Variable
- Exceptions or Alerting
- Multiple tabs
- Broadcasting or Scheduling
- Drill down
- Downloading reports
- Applying Filters
Comparison between WEBI and BEx:
- WEBI offers more advanced Ad-hoc reporting capabilities with Drag-and-drop capability and a more streamlined user experience
- WEBI is web browser based, BEx advanced features are available on the desktop only
- WEBI has more advanced formula/variable definition capability
- WEBI has the ability to link to other reports
- WEBI has interactive graphing capabilities and drill-down
- WEBI allows for document sharing (send-to-inbox), change tracking and annotations.
- BEx has native portal and SAP Web GUI integration
- BEx relies only on SAP security
- BEx ahs limited formatting and display capabilities
- BEx is not ideal for Dashboards or formatted reporting; as well as Ad-hoc reports requiring high levels of interactivity
Business Objects 4.0 New standard for BI
- BICS (Business Intelligence Consumer Services) – This layer allows for easier connections to SAP’s front-end BI tools, such as SAP Crystal Reports, Dashboards and Web Intelligence, that replace the BEx front-end tools such as Report Designer.
- Direct dimensional access to BEx Queries and BW Cubes – No need to create a Universe
Crystal Report BW Query Options
- Crystal has four ways of connection to SAP Data Sources
Using MDX Driver to connect directly to BW Cubes and Queries
- One advantage of these drivers is that they allow business users to report off predefined views of our SAP data. Tables and fields are first logically grouped by an SAP content expert into queries, InfoSets, and so on. We then make these data sources accessible to users who are designing reports with Crystal Reports.
Web Intelligence BW Query Options
- WEBI uses BICS as a datasource to directly connect to BW Cube or Query
- Can also use an Universe (UNV) created in the Universe Design tool
- Can also use an Universe (UNX) created in the Information Design tool
SAP Dashboards BW Query Options
- Can be pointed directly at BW via BICS
BusinessObjects Analysis BW Query Options
- SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for OLAP (formerly Voyager) can connect to BW Cubes for OLAP Analysis (WEB and Excel versions) via BICS