Analysis for Office is our premium alternative to BEx Analyzer. But what does that mean?

A premium alternative is not a replacement. Our objective is not to create a feature-by-feature replacement of BEx Analyzer. Our objective is create the best possible Excel client for SAP NetWeaver BW and SAP HANA, and this means there will be differences between how the two products behave.

But why should customers adopt Analysis for Office? At a high level, there are 3 reasons:

1) It’s more usable

2) It’s more functional

3) It works with your existing BEx Queries and BW InfoCubes today

But what exactly do we mean by that? This blog will drill down in to the details..

First, we’ll start with major new features and functions in SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Office, compared to BEx Analyzer.

Note that the following table is not an exhaustive list of differences. There are many other differences that are too granular to mention here.

Analysis for Office Feature In BEx Analyzer? Comments
Create iOS or Web based analytic applications No One-step integration with SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio allows Analysis for Office workbooks to be consumed over the web or on iOS devices. Mobile consumption requires the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform.
Microsoft PowerPoint Integration No Add live, refreshable tables to PowerPoint
Multi-step Undo / Redo No Multi-step undo / redo of data analysis and workbook design steps. BEx Analyzer can go to the prior step, or back to the state at the start of the session.
Support for BW Workspaces No BW Workspaces allow you to securely upload personal data and combine it with data stored in BW
Support for SAP HANA No Support for connecting to SAP HANA analysis views.
Use multiple data sources from the same system No Multiple connections to the same system are supported in a single workbook – HANA views, BEx queries, and BW Infocubes.
Design Panel No The Design Panel contains the Analysis, Components, and Information tabs. These tabs are used to define analyses, view dimensions, hierarchies, and attributes, and view component properties. A layout section (columns, rows, filters) offers an alternate way of defining the layout of data without dragging selections directly onto the crosstab.
Hierarchy option: show levels No Option to hide certain levels from hierarchy display.
Set expansion direction for hierarchies on rows / columns No Parent members above/left of or below/right of child members.
Conditional Formatting (Exceptions in runtime) No
Refresh Data Sources Individually No BEx 7 requires all the data sources in a workbook to be refreshed at once. Analysis Office enables both ‘Refresh All’ and the ability to refresh specific data sources.

But when doing a comparison, that’s only half the job. We also need to critically examine the functionality in BEx Analyzer to see if it’s available in Analysis for Office. The following table shows the areas where Analysis Office offers less functionality than BEx Analyzer.

BEx Analyzer Feature In Analysis for Office? Comments
Local Formulas Partial Calculations in Analysis. Analysis supports simple calculated measures (+, -, *, /, percentage share and percentage difference). This is a subset of the formulas possible in SAP BEx Analyzer. Parity is planned for a future release.
Calculations in key figure properties Partial

Dynamic calculations on single measure in Analysis for Office. Analysis for Office supports dynamic calculations:

  • Moving minimum value
  • Moving maximum value
  • Cumulative sum
  • Cumulative sum of rounded values
  • Cumulative count of all detailed values
  • Cumulative count of all detailed values that are not zero, null, or error
  • Moving average
  • Moving average of values that are not zero, null, or error
  • Rank number
  • Olympic rank number
  • Percentage contribution (normalize against next group level result)

The following calculations are not possible in Analysis but in BEx Analyzer:

  • Perform a dynamic calculation on another dynamic calculation. In BEx Analyzer, cumulation (Cumulative Sum) was possible on other dynamic calculations.
  • Define dynamic calculations separately for totals and details.
  • Define the calculation direction (rows or columns) for dynamic calculations. The dynamic calculation in Analysis is always performed in rows AND columns directions in case of true crosstabs (dimensions on both rows and columns).
Presentation Options for Dimensions / Characteristics Partial No separate presentation options exist for hierarchy node types in Analysis Office; they are inherited from the dimensions’ presentation.
Result set access mode Partial Ability to show master data without booked data (NULL values). Not supported in Analysis directly, but can be defined in SAP BEx Query Designer.
Variable Personalization No Planned for a future release.
Favorite Filters No Planned for a future release.

Finally, here are the platform dependent features and functions that require the SAP NetWeaver platform for SAP BEx Analyzer, or the SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform for Analysis for Office:

Feature / Function Analysis for Office Comments
Report-to-report interface Yes Introduced in Analysis for Office 1.3
Distribution of workbooks / broadcasting Partial Available with a support pack on Analysis Office 1.4 and requires the BI Platform 4.1.
Precalculation of workbooks / scheduling of workspaces No
BW document integration No Can add comments to data cells and store within workspace / workbook.

As you can see Analysis for Office is clearly a premium alternative to BEx Analyzer.

To learn more, view the tutorials here or contact your SAP partner or account executive.

-Blair

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8 Comments

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  1. Tammy Powlas

    Hi Blair,

    Please help me understand your first chart.

    BEx Analyzer does handle comments (see the SAP Help) http://help.sap.com/saphelp_dm40/helpdata/en/0d/af12403dbedd5fe10000000a155106/frameset.htm

    BEx has had a Mobile feature too since 3.x days

    http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/go/portal/prtroot/docs/library/uuid/d354ab90-0201-0010-5484-8fd287c30066?QuickLink=index&overridelayout=true&22277995406660

    73x BEx mobile help:

    http://help.sap.com/saphelp_nw73/helpdata/en/f1/50583cf7388362e10000000a114084/content.htm

    BEx Analyzer 7.x does offer drag and drop too and Undo – see the SAP Help

    http://help.sap.com/saphelp_sm71_sp08/helpdata/en/ca/8d6e6493ae4a949428bbf09a1549e7/content.htm

    I recommend reviewing this and perhaps updating your blog with this information.

    Tammy

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    1. Blair Wheadon Post author

      Thanks for the comments Tammy.

      1) I’ve updated ‘comments’ to be ‘comments integrated with Microsoft Excel’ to reflect that Analysis Office uses the Excel comment feature. This is distinct from the server based comment feature which is reflected in the table at the bottom at the blog which I believe you’re referring to.

      2) I’ve replaced ‘mobile’ with iOS.

      3) I changed ‘Undo/Redo’ to ‘Multi-step undo/redo’ to more accurately reflect the better functionality in Analysis Office.

      4) I deleted the drag and drop item because it was really about improved drag and drop functionality which is captured in the Design Panel item above it.

      Regards, Blair

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    2. Chintada Shankar

      Hi Tammy,

      You document links are always helpful.

      Can you help me with any document link which will provide similar comparison between WebI and BEx Web or BEx Analyzer.

      Regards

      Shankar

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      1. Thierry AUDAS

        You will hardly find a detailed comparison between WebI and BEx Web/Analyzer as these tools serve different purposes and are complementary. Users of BEx Web/Analyzer should first look at Analysis for OLAP and Design Studio. You might like to check out the space BusinessObjects BI for SAP for more information in that regard.

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  2. Chintada Shankar

    Hi Blair,

    This is great. I was looking for this comparison.

    One question, Do Analysis for office has any options to support “Calculation before Aggregation” and “Calculation After Aggregation” .

    Regards

    Shankar

    (0) 

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