Innovative New Visualizations using Extensions
SAP BusinessObjects is more extensible than ever thanks to recent additions to SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1. From geo-analytics to big data visualizations, organizations who are not intimidated to write code or work with a certified third party solution can reap the benefits of instant innovation.
With my team at Centigon Solutions, we have created an entire business dedicated to extending the value of SAP BusinessObjects by creating geo-analytics and connectivity. The recent release of SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1, has opened new doors with several new SDKs for visualization and analysis. Naturally, my team jumped in head-first to analyze how we could add value back to the BusinessObjects ecosystem. Hare are our findings:
New SDK in Design Studio
Design Studio is a newer product in the BI portfolio for creating professionally authored applications. Design Studio. Apps developed with design studio can be published to the browser or mobile devices. The similarities to SAP Dashboards, allowing designers to add components onto a blank canvas makes it a great platform for creating extensions. Our first crack at design studio took us down the path to explore creating a basic calendar heatmap control.
Using a basic property sheet, developers can define day, hour, and measure values to dynamically shade blocks. An information graphic like this is a great visual aid for staffing decisions for retailers or call centers based on any number of measures like sales transactions or call volume. When creating an extension for design studio, it is installed directly inside of the desktop designer, and made available alongside other components.
Extension Points is Back for Web Intelligence
SAP BusinessObjects is a Business Intelligence reporting staple with massive adoption across the SAP customer base. Several years ago, there was a widely praised BusinessObjects Labs solution called extension points that was re-introduced as a supported SDK for BI4.1 SP02. This is an exciting development, granting developers with the necessary APIs to build custom controls directly inside of a report. Since one of the most requested features is geo-visualization, I jumped at the opportunity to create a new extension to allowing our CMaps Plugin to operate as a dynamic report-driven geographic viewer.
Now within browser reports, business users can interact with reports in new ways not achievable before with standard Webi functionality. Business users can visualize custom territories, assets using the data and security from Webi. The example shown above demonstrates how a Webi report part can be displayed inside of an interactive map.
SAP BusinessObjects as a platform services over 40,000 customers globally across every industry and line of business. While SAP can’t create every feature and visual for every business need, BI4 SP02 new emphasis on openness through SDKs, has opened the doors for a new wave of visualizations and integrations that should help contribute to wider adoption of analytics.