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Customizing the Web Intelligence UI in BI 4.1

For a long while now, BusinessObjects Administrators have wanted the ability to customize the Web Intelligence (Webi) user interface. While Webi is an amazing tool for ad-hoc report development, not every organisation is going to use every feature of Webi. In the past, when I would train end-users or ad-hoc report developers, I would spend a lot of time explaining “Here are the icons for XXX, which we don’t actually use in this implementation”. And it takes more time to explain why we are not using the function then it does to just cover it (like with data tracking, for example)

With the release of the BusinessObjects BI 4.1 ramp-up, administrators can now rejoice! One of the major new features for Webi is the ability to customize the user interface based on a user group. To access this feature, login to the Central Management Console (CMC) of your BI 4.1 server and then navigate to the Users and Groups area.

Locate the group you would like to customize Webi for and on the right-click menu, select “Customization” from the right-click menu as shown below in Figure 1:

Figure 1: Customization options in the CMC in the Users and Groups area

This will open the dialog shown below in Figure 2, which is broken down into User Interface Elements (which components/icons/menus will be available to users) and Features (which are Refresh/Drill/Reading/Design/Data modes)


Figure 2: Customization options for hiding UI features/functionality

On the User Interface Elements, you can navigate through the group tree or alternately search for a particular element by typing in the box. For example, if you wanted to disable the “Send To”  function for the Finance group you could filter by typing “Send To” in the box and then the tree will be filtered for the different areas where this function appears, as shown below:


If you tick the box, this feature will be hidden—with this customization feature, all of the Webi UI elements and features are enabled by default and you will need to hide the ones you don’t want.

Once you have finished selecting the features you want to hide/disable, click “Save” to save your selection.

To test this customization, we still have the best practice of setting up an Enterprise user account (in this case, “TestFinance”) and adding it to the group in question. This will allow you to login as the test user and see that the feature/function has been hidden.

So whether you want to hide one feature, or strip Webi right back to just the basics, you are going to love the new customization feature. And to the BI 4.1 product team, well done! (Now if we could only edit BEx queries in HTML mode… 😉

Figure 3: Filtering the feature list

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