Building a Live Connection from a BusinessObjects Dashboard to IBM Cognos TM1
Recently I faced the challenging task to build a dashboard (using the BusinessObjects Dashboard Design Tool – former Xcelsius; I worked with version 4.0 SP6 for my proof of concept) on top of IBM Cognos TM1 data – specifically, I wanted to build a dashboard on top of a TM1-view. Apparently, so far the BusinessObjects BI tools do not offer a direct connectivity to TM1. This Blog-post gives a brief overview of my approach in order to build a BusinessObjects Dashboard on top of a TM1-view.
I scanned through web- sites, blogs and forums in order to find any information helping me find a way to retrieve data from TM1. Most sources that I found suggested to export TM1 data to a flat file and consume that flat file by the BusinessObjects BI tools.
Well… not really a 21st century approach, is it?!
Then I had a look at the TM1 documentation and found that TM1 has a Java API that offers the opportunity to read data directly from a TM1 cube or TM1 view. However, how does that help the Dashboard Design Tool connecting to TM1? I explored some opportunities and came up with the following scenario:
The Dashboard Design Tool has the opportunity to retrieve data from a Web Service – what if I create a Web Services that connects to TM1 and returns the data from a TM1-view? So I started coding…
I had the following TM1-View on top of a TM1-Cube – nothing too fancy but still enough to proof that I’m able to create a dashboard on top of a ‘live’-TM1 connection:
I created a Web Service which connects to the TM1-view through the Java-TM1 API and retrieves the data from the view. I simply hosted the Web Service on the web application server of my BO-BI platform ensuring that the dashboard is able to access the Web Service.
In a next step I created a new Web Service Connection in the Data Manager within the Dashboard Design Tool. I pointed the dashboard to my Web Service definition and specified the cells for the input and output values of the TM1-connection Web Service.
After that configuration step my dashboard was able to directly communicate with TM1 through my Web Service and retrieve data:
My simple proof-of-concept confirms that the BusinessObjects Dashboard Design Tool is able to directly retrieve data from TM1, some programming effort by using the TM1 Java API is necessary to create a connection to TM1 though. However, the Web Service connectivity is a great example that shows the flexibility of the Dashboard Design Tool in order to virtually connect to any data source.
SCN-Dashboards Info: http://scn.sap.com/community/businessobjects-dashboards
Dashboard Design Tool – connect to a Web Service: http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-21290
TM1 Introduction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TM1
TM1 API Documentation: http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21440270