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The report from Day 2 of SAP BI4 Elite Enablement taking place in Vancouver, BC.

(For reference make sure to check out the original announcement of the BI4 Elite Enablement class and my post summing up the Day 1 notes.)

 

Day two looked like it was going to be even more intense than the first…

The morning started off being all about Mobile BI. 

Donnie McMilliam presented information covering the overview, server installation, and server configuration.  Mobility changes the game – take it from a comic book addict.  However, do note the difference between making something “portable” versus truly “mobile.”  BI mobility should be no different – we should be doing more than making it portable, not just available on mobile devices.

There are multiple apps.  SAP BusinessObjects Mobile and SAP BusinessObjects Explorer.  BO Mobile is to deliver existing content, explorer is (as the name suggests) for search and exploration of data.  Long term some of the capabilities of explorer may be brought into the mobile app, but for now they are two separate applications.

Business Objects Mobile is proud of its constant innovation with 5 releases/updates this year with 1 remaining.  The first exercise covered setting up categories.  The purpose of this was to be able to set up a method to classify reports as Mobile. It allows you to flag that you want available for mobile as you do not want all reports available on a mobile device.  (Remember – mobile vs portable.)

There is a category option called “confidential.”  Any reports in this category will never be persistent on a device.  This alleviates the concern of data persisting on a device and potentially being accessible by others.  Reports can be in more than one category such as “Mobile Designed” and “Confidential.” 

Deployment, it is easy to set up the connection on one iPad and use the sharing feature to send the connection information via email to general users.  Naturally they will still need to fill in the user name and password, but all of the other connection information will be populated for the user in the SAP BusinessObjects Mobile application.

After the mobile BI we moved into one of the hotly debated topics in side discussions – BI4 Maintenance Strategy.

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This was presented by Seroj Parmar. There has been quite a lot of debate in the group about the fast pace of patch releases.  (For example, at my company we are on BI4.0 SP2, just testing out SP4 Patch 5, to find out that Patch 6 just came out and SP5 is supposedly due next week.)  Should be a very interesting presentation…

Seroj started with pointing out they want to know what is working and what is not working with the support model.

 

BI4
Maintenance Cycle:

  • Minor release every 18-24 months
  • Support Pack every 3-4 months
  • Critical Patch around every 3 weeks

There was discussion on whether or not there were any best practices or suggested method of testing releases.  SAP doesn’t offer a specific testing method, but does provide the release notes to indicate where additional testing may be needed.  A request was made to provide something like OSS notes for Business Objects, but this didn’t sound likely due to the inherent differences between the ECC and BO systems.  Key takeaway for SAP from the customer/partner base is that while getting fixes out quick is nice conceptually, there is no way to keep production systems on the latest versions on such a tight cycle.  Regression testing alone dictates that we would never be on the latest version.  This means we either need easier ways of upgrading (which sounds like it is planned) or more forward looking information to help plan upgrades.

Next up we had Ingo Hilgefort starting the BW deep dives. 

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We started with User Authentication and Single Sign On.  Different authentication methods were discussed, SSO, SNC, and STS.  STS being the BI4 successor to the XI3.1 SNC.  We will have to be looking into this new Netweaver SSO.  This is a fairly recent addition to the SAP lineup.   We wrapped up the presentation with a hands-on lab in which we set up SAP SSO authentication.

The afternoon continued building on that foundation with setting up OLAP connections, Relational Universe for SAP BW, and creating an ERP based Universe.  Something that is being looked at for 4.1 is being able to build right on the ERP ABAP dictionary giving direct table access.  No guarantee on this, but is being looked into.

Netweaver 7.3 – Hyperprovider. Going to have to look into this as well.  The last presentation of the day covered BI4 LCM & CTS+ Configuration.  The day ended with a Q&A session covering LCM and Auditing as the main topics.

It should also be noted that as a participate in the class, we have a Q & A activity set up utilizing SAP Streamwork.  It has been quite effective as a “Parking Lot” to note various questions that can be researched and answered later.  I personally was hoping to see StreamWork a bit more, so while the usage is limited in this case, still gains me additional exposure to the product.

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The evening wrapped up with a great reception with our SAP hosts.  It was great to have this social time to interact with other customers and the SAP staff to discuss a variety of topics in a relaxed environment.  A big thanks to SAP for hosting such a fun event!

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Hopefully you find the information presented useful for your own purposes, perhaps even deciding whether or not to try to attend future events like this.  There are a few of us sharing information as we can.  If you are interested, a few of those tweeting from the SAP BI4 Elite Enablement event are: @olorinpc, @jenskoerner, @racheljfloyd, @tpowlas, @Rajeevkapur_08, @jmsrpp, @brighttony.  Let us know what you think of the coverage!

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