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Creating a quick mobile BI demonstration

For many companies mobile BI has so many options that they don’t know where to start (and so they don’t start).

In this blog I will show you how you can quickly (in a few hours) create a good looking mobile solution that can be used to show executives the sort of solutions that can be provided with mobile BI.

What you will need (The ingredients).

SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand

SAP Interactive Analysis

SAP BusinessObjects Mobile (from the iTunes store. Has both an iPad and iPhone version. Also available on Android)

Some relevant business data in an excel spreadsheet.

Note: This demo will be using the iTunes version of the software.

The steps.

Start by creating a BuisnessObjects BI OnDemand account (if you don’t already have one).

Next download SAP Interactive Analysis (A 30 day free trial is available).

Install SAP BusinessObjects Mobile on your chosen device.

Select your data and load it into an excel spreadsheet. The data you choose should be relevant to your target audience, especially if you are trying to sell the concept to the decision makers in your organization. Keep the data reasonably simple as smart phones have only a small area for displaying your data and you don’t want the screen to look busy.

Now save your spreadsheet as a CSV (Sap Interactive Analysis won’t work with .xlsx files).

For this demo I have chosen monthly closing stock price values for two Australian mining companies. My spreadsheet therefore has 3 columns (Date/BHP share price/Rio Tinto share price). For your demo you might like to include Date/Budget/Actual


Run the Interactive analysis program. You will now see a blank canvas with 10 options in the menu bar.Select file, new and you will now see a “New Document” window. Select Other data source then press “Next>>”.

From the “Select a data source” window you will need to use the “Browse” button to find and select your file.


From here just press next unless you specifically need to change something (such as the data separator or First row contains column names).

Next you will see a “Create Query” Window. Here you can change the field names, and define the fields as either Dimensions , Details or Measures. Make sure your field names reflect the data in each column. You will also want to keep the names as short as possible so that they fit on the mobile device. When you have finished press “RunQuery” at the top right of the window.

Create Query.PNG

You Should now see the main report design screen. Somewhere around the middle you will see your data presented in columns along with a report title. Because the final destination for this report is a mobile device I select the report title and delete it.

Note: The next step can be skipped if you don’t want to create new variables. Simply browse down to the section “Creating a Graph”.

For ease of use on the final report (in this example) I will show how to create new calculated columns. I am doing this to reduce the date to CCYY/MM instead of the full date stamp shown above.

Select the “Data” menu option at the top of the screen then select “Variables”. You should now see the “Variable Editor” window.

I then use the following formulas to create my required CCYY/MM variable. The square brackets [ ] indicate a variable name.

YearNum =Year([Date])
MonthNum =MonthNumberOfYear([Date])
YYYYMM =([YearNum]*100) + [MonthNum]


After you define each variable press OK. This will take you back to the main report editor. To add the second and third variables repeat the above steps.

Now select the first column of your report. Right click it and select remove column. You should now have a 2 column, 1row report.


To insert the new YYYY/MM date right click the first column and select “Insert column to the left.

You will now have an empty column. From the “Data” tab on the left drag the YYYYMMfield and drop it on the blue column heading of your report. You will now have a screen similar to the one below.


To format the date simply right click the first date and select “Format Number”. Select “Number” then use the entries from the screen below.


You will now have a nicely formated date and we can now create our graph.

Creating a Graph

Right click in the middle of your table and select “Turn To”. You will now have a choice of various styles of Tables and graphs. For  this example I will select a simple line graph. Once you select your required style press “OK”.


I now have what looks like a pretty ordinary chart. Ignore the temptation to resize or modify the report as I have found from experience that this can result in data that will not display on your mobile device! Once it reaches your device the data will be re rendered and will be much more presentable.

You now need to save your report. From the “File” menu select “Save as”. Choose “Web Intelligence Document (.WID)”. In this case I will call the report “SCNBlog.wid” and I will save it to my desktop. If you plan to create a lot of these reports then youu will probably want to collect them all in a specific folder.


You can now close the SAP Interactive Analysis program.

SAP Business Objects BI OnDemand

Start your web browser and head over to SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand

Under your “My Stuff” folder select the “Reports Folder”. If your a new user this will be empty.


Select the green “Add New” button at the top right and choose “Upload Report”.

On the left choose “Web Intelligence Reports” then on the right you will need to brose to your .wid file and enter a name for your report. Now press the “Add Report” button.


All you need to do now is right click the report (in your “Reports” folder), and select “Enable Mobile Access”. Your report is now ready to be viewed on your mobile device.


Access from your mobile device.

From your device start the SAP BI mobile app.

Select settings then in the “Choose a Connection” section select “BI OnDemand”.

The Connection Details will already be loaded so move down to the “Authentication Details” section.

Enter your User Name for your BI OnDemand account and if desired you can also enter and save your password (handy if you don’t want to time out during a presentation).

Now press done (Top right).

When asked “Do you want to connect to BI OnDemand Connection?” press “Yes”

Once you have logged in select the “Server button” on the top left of your screen. This will load up a list of all the reports available for you to select. Select your report and it will download to your device.

You now have your first mobile BI report ready to demonstrate and all within a couple of hours.

The report below was emailed from BI on demand using my iphone.


If you have any questions about this blog feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

I would like to thank all of those who have encouraged me on this my first blog.

I would especially like to thank Tony de Thomasis for running a great class (BCO6181 – ERP Applications) at Vic Uni.

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  • Excellent blog post and I hope you continue to share your experiences

    I hope others will try out what you've shown here.

    Great work!



  • This is a fantastic blog. I like how the instructions are simple and clear and screen shots are always helpful. I will be testing it out the first chance I get. Thank you for sharing. Another great example of how BCO6181 inspires students to take that initiative and write about their experiences and findings.

  • I have read many articles about SAP delivers analytics on mobile devices by offering a wide range of mobile applications and underlying infrastructure, but have not particulary seen a real scenario. It was interesting to find out how SAP brings BI platform on mobile from your demo in BCO6181 last Wednesday. Great work!

  • Hi Nick,

    I could not get details from you in class (I could not find "enable mobile access") but now with this blog I have done it.

    Thanks for very nice and clear instructions.



  • Hi Nicholas, I did try this demo before since it is extremely fast result,but unfortunately, ondemand rich client version is old and it gives error message since we use the latest rich client V14.0.0.0 It seems that ondemand site has not been still updated. Do you  have any solution for this? I could only use this for explorer. (even explorer on ipad is not as fancy as the latest version) cheers

    • Hi Muzaffer, what error message are you receiving? If its the one about data not being able to be displayed on the device then you need to make your chart less complex. I found that if you try to do anything fancy with the report in interactive analysis then I would often get an error on my iphone/ipad.



      • thank you Nicholas. In fact, I did just simple try and failed. The message on demand site exactly is " This document requires Web Intelligence and cannot be opened by the current Web Intelligence version (WIS 30674) (ERROR INF) ". When I upload the reports, it gives this message. I thought that my rich client version is higher than  ondemand site!..Consequently, mobile on ipad cannot open the report. It gives the same message on ondemand website and ipad.....somehow, ondemand BO is outdated? I also see explorer is old version too, it works but it is not as fancy as regular-demo when we  use custom excel etc..any idea?

        • Hi Muzaffer, the only thing I can now suggest is that you download the free version of Interactive analysis and see if that solves your problem. This particular blog was written as the result of some research I did for one of my university classes so I can't claim to be an expert (yet) on the products used. Regards, Nick.

  • Hi Nicholas,

    This is a fantastic blog and walkthrough of using the free (or at least) trial tools available by SAP.

    Not many people are aware of the 30-day trial of Interactive Analysis (also known as Web Intelligence), but you've put it to great use here.

    Thanks very much for sharing this! 🙂

    Kind regards,


  • This is brilliant. I am relatively new to BI and I am about to start a BI implementation project. I will definitely use this example.

    Thank you,