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I define a reporting  dashboard or cockpit very generically.

“ A highly graphical tool presenting multiple sets of related information with easy to use controls to change the look feel and/or  content as  needed by the user at run time”

With this loose definition, a lot of BW BEx and SAP Business Object tools are dashboard building tools.  With SAP Business Objects Webi,Documents  you can have multiple queries on multiple report “tabs” and include graphs and charts.  With the BW BEx analyzer or Business Objects Analysis (excel version), you can use the Excel and SAP specific features to create multi-sheet workbooks  again with fairly robust excel graphics, complete  with navigation controls, such as filter boxes and buttons to guide the user’s analysis. You can even build BI Workspaces or SAP Enterprise portal pages that  display multiple objects in windows on the same web based output.    Although by my definition, these tools build “dashboards”.  But lets call them poor man dashboards,  they lack a robust collection of graphical elements to truly make an  elegant dashboard.

I come from the BW side of the house, and have only 4yrs of exposure  to  the Business Objects dedicated dashboarding tool called, as you might guess,“DashBoards” (previously Xcelsius). On the other hand I have a long association with BW BEx’s dedicated Dash Boarding tool  called the BEx Web Application Designer (WAD for short). Each tool had its pros and cons, one was not better than the other, they were just different.  

Now fast forward to the present.  A new Dash Board building tool has poked out from the SAP developers,  it is called SAP Business Objects Design Studio.  Design Studio being positioned (I am guessing) at least soon, as a replacement for both the WAD and  Dashboards.

Again,  I love the idea of some type of dashboard presentation of data to users,  pick any tool, but before you do,  know the pros and cons  of each. As a start,  read on,  I will briefly list the features /pros/cons of each of these dedicated dashboarding tools, and give you the link to learn more about each.

BEx Web Application Designer:

PROs

CONs

·         Licensing is normally Part of the BW license

·         Handles big data sets

·         Allows planning data input.

·         No “animated transitions” It does not support Flash and HTML 5 features .

·         Only connects to BW queries./cubes

To learn more attend:  BW305 for the overview and query details and then BW306 or BW307 for detail on the actual WAD.

Business Objects Dashboards  

PROs

CONs

·         Easy to use

·         Flash based graphical transitions.

·         Connectivity to BI Platform/ BW and other sources

·         Only good for accessing a very limited number of data rows.

·         Cannot handle BW planning applications

·         IPAD Support(just recently)

To learn more attend  BOX310  Business Object Dashboards.

Business Objects Design Studio

PROs

CONs

·         Fairly easy to use

·         HTML 5 based output

·         Support for Mobil devices (IPADs so far)

·         Support for BW planning input (in coming release)

·         The focus of SAP future development

·         Connectivity is currently limited to BW and HANA,  but this area is planned for improvement very soon!

·         This is a brand new tool, so  changes and improvements will be something to keep up with!

To learn more attend  BOD310 . Business Objects Design Studio

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