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Summary

  • BEx Analyzer widely used as the MS Office integration tool to analyse multidimensional data from SAP BW.
  • SAP have clearly positioned Analysis, edition for Office (AfO) as the “premium alternative” and eventual replacement to BEx Analyzer.


Purpose

  • Understand if there are any gaps in functionality.
  • Understand what benefits could be gained by adopting now.

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Note: At point of comparison, the following versions of the tools were evaluated.

  • Analysis, edition for Office 1.4 SP6 (14.6.2960)
  • BEx Analyzer 7.30 SP3 Revision 1906

Findings

➕ Intuitive UI (larger buttons, contextual information, visual cues).

➕ Current feature set is comprehensive and provides good coverage for typical BEx Analyzer users.

ℹ There are some features from BEx that are still lacking from Analysis. Those identified are planned for future releases (e.g. variable personalisation, variable history).

➕ In addition to the improved UI, there are many features that are only available in Analysis that could enable faster and smarter ways of working.

Comparison: Select a Data Source

➕ Recently used queries are immediately visible.

➕ Ability to leverage OLAP connections defined in SAP BO (e.g. HANA)

➕ Interoperability across BI platform via Analysis Views.

➕ Support for multiple data sources.

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Comparison: Prompts

➕ Toggle display of all optional prompts at once via [Display] button.

➕ Toggle display of specific optional prompts via pins.

➖ Variable Personalization.

➖ Variable History.

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Comparison: BEx Text Elements (Information)

➕ Not constrained where/how information displayed.

➕ Drag and drop dynamic text elements directly into worksheet.

➕ Info Field can be used for quick access to common elements.

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Comparison: Filters

➕ Improved UI enables users to identify filters at a glance.

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Comparison: Navigational State

➕ Improved UI facilitates faster workflows (no need to right click and access “query properties”).

➕ Quick access to attributes by expanding [+] sign.

➕ Analysis pane visible by default and can be toggled via a single click.

➕ Intuitive Columns, Rows & Background consistent with Analysis, edition for OLAP.

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Comparison: Undo/Redo

➕ Multi-step undo/redo.

➕ No longer need to undo one navigation step at a time, able to jump to a particular state.

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Other Benefits

➕ Toggle automatic refresh.

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➕ Schedule (broadcast) via BI platform.

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➕ PowerPoint publishing.

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➕ Conditional Formatting.

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➕ Save workbooks to BI platform.

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➕ Unified “Design Mode” – no need to switch between consumption and design.

➕ Support for multiple data source (e.g. multiple BEx queries in a single worksheet, combination of BW & HANA, etc)

➕ Interoperability with Design Studio (e.g. prototype a web application).


Conclusion

  • Existing users who are familiar with BEx Analyzer will find the transition to Analysis relatively smooth. With a familiar MS Office UI, comprehensive feature set and overall improved design, unlocking value out of your enterprise DWH should be made even easier.
  • Analysis specific features such as interoperability with Analysis Views, interactions with the BI platform and access to more data sources will further support our ability to leverage existing investments (BW, HANA, BO) and promote cross collaboration across the wider BI community.
  • The intuitive design will attract new users who may have required BEx in the past but were intimidated by the non friendly UI, ultimately driving broader adoption.
  • Analysis is inline with SAP’s strategic focus and will be the target for future innovations. The tool appears to be sufficiently mature (1.4 SP6) to start being used today as the replacement for BEx Analyzer.
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8 Comments

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  1. Miguel Varela

    Great comparison and info for those coming from BW/BEx.

    Do you have more examples or “use cases” of connecting Analysis for Office with other BI Tools?.

    This “Interoperability with Design Studio (e.g. prototype a web application).” is especially interesting.

    Best regards.

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    1. Taygan Rifat Post author

      Hi Miguel,

      Analysis Views is one of the key mechanisms in which Analysis for Office can work along side other tools within the BI suite.

      Analysis Views (which are simply a saved navigation state of an analysis) can be exported from Analysis for Office (as well as Analysis for OLAP) and saved within the BI platform. Once exported, tools such as Crystal Reports for Enterprise and Web Intelligence can consume Analysis Views as a data source. See interactive tutorials below for more details.

      Web Intelligence: Connect to an Analysis View

      Crystal Reports for Enterprise: Connect to an Analysis View

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  2. Harish Allachervu

    handy info ℹ

    at present in our project we are using BEx analyzer as major reporting tool.

    you are correct as BI consultant i am seeing so many bottlenecks in the analyzer when i randomly searching in SCN i come across this forum and even your blog as well. 😆

    so after reading some docs & blogs i thought to propose this tool for our client as replacement for analyzer before that i need few inputs.

    we have BW 7.3 system and all our reports are designed in Bex query designer and please note we don’t have BOBJ in our landscape.

    so can we get licence only for AO tool without having BI/BOBJ systems…?

    anticipating positive inputs!!!

    Thanks & Regards,

    Harish

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  3. Alan Berkey

    Good comparison, thanks.

    We also have BW 7.3 and are using BO on a limited basis. Users are starting to adopt  Analysis for Office for the exact reasons stated. We have many legacy BEx queries in use.

    Do you know the roadmap for the Query Designer now that an Analyzer successor has been addressed?

    Thank you,

    Alan

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    1. Torsten Wirth

      Hi Alan,

      I don’t think that any changes are planned in the next time for the old Query Designer. The Idea is to use AO agains the queries. There are some rumors about a new version of Query Designer in Eclipse (which makes sense in combination with HANA). But I have seen nothing official concerning this topic.

      Blog concerning this topic:

      http://scn.sap.com/community/business-explorer/blog/2013/09/27/future-of-bex-query-designer

      You will find the eclipse version mentioned in the roadmap for Q3/2014

      Regards,

      Torsten

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  4. Aby Aby

    Good comparison,

    thanks for that…

    Now i am working with both Analyser and Analysis.

    We are planing to replace analyser with analysis,but i found some limitations which blocks us from this replacement.

    1.I cannot drill down a report,which contains more than 65000 rows.Is there any solution for this?

    2.I cannot find a star(*) option in the variable selection.

    Your suggestions will be valuable…

    rgds,

    aby

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  5. Neal Genocchi

    Dear Taygan Rifat,

    Excellent comparison, thank you for sharing. From an End-User Experience Monitoring (EEM) perspective, what I noticed as a difference between the two is that there is no EEM support for Analysis for Office, whereas there is/was for BEx Analyzer. The reason being that Analysis for Office uses a combination of HTTP and RFC protocols. EEM itself does not support a combination of multiple protocols in the same script, therefore there is no EEM support for Analysis for Office. Once again thank you for sharing your insight into the two products.

    Regards,
    Neal

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