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BI reporting on SAP Solution Manager data

Reflecting on past thoughts

I remember about three years back when i was involved  in a Solution Manager upgrade/implementation project, I advised a consultant from a Solution Manager consulting firm to dig into custom BW reporting on top of Solution Manager. In retrospect it’s always nice to see advice was actually good advice. More and more customers are reporting on Solution Manager data nowadays so he should have had a head start on that by now already.

Revisiting reporting options

Not so long ago, I needed to do the same since we proposed at customer side to automate some statistical reporting which was generated in a manual fashion still. In the past I had done some discovery of potential options and some work on specific reporting (availability through ccmsping in a custom SLR for example) but not yet utilized custom queries. So I started again by looking at what’s possible nowadays, some releases further down the road.


My first idea was to use custom queries in SLR (Service Level Reporting) in Solution Manager but that didn’t work out as well as I had hoped. It’s too restrictive and too slow to make quick adjustments and generate a result. Since I don’t have a publishing platform (BusinessObjects, portal, …) at hand at this customer on short notice I had to reside to an alternative option. You can see in above screenshot that it did work but you cannot build really advanced queries or anything so in the end it didn’t have the requirements I was looking for.


In the end, I ended up using the Bex Query Designer and Bex Query Analyzer. Why? AnalysisOffice requires a specific license which is not in place.

I’ve played around with AnalysisOffice during ASUG preconference (at SAPPHIRENOW just recently) and it’s indeed better / more interesting then Bex Query Analyzer.

Combining Bex Query Designer, Bex Query Analyzer and Microsoft Office, I was able to generate a PDF based report which meets the requirements of the customer in terms of reporting on KPI’s. As a next step I will be looking at publishing options and leveraging the BI suite (Web Intelligence or alikes …). You can read some related posts as I leveraged learning hub, read about that here and I tried out BW connectivity to SAP well which you can read about here.

Some challenges along the way:

  • The exception in Bex Query Designer is hard to leverage for building the graph in Excel. So I resorted to a calculated key figure matching the exception value so I have another column in Excel which can be used to build the graph.
  • I used an offset function to define the area where the data resides to have the graph dynamically build depending on the available data ~ some months are longer than other months and reporting on the previous month means you need a dynamic graph
  • Performance wasn’t optimal ~ I leverage a number of Bex SAP notes to change some parameter settings to optimize the loading time and I also set the query refresh to single dataproviders in order not to be forced to refresh the whole workbook each time
    • I need to look into this further and potentially leverage caching as a way to speed things up further or try to use aggregation up front
  • Figuring out what’s what isn’t too easy, especially if you don’t have a BW background 🙂 so I spent some time on figuring out the key figures and how SAP calculated them to come to a specific result. helped to some extent on the infoproviders and key figure description info (you need to know in what something is expressed also for example so check the content first ~ms versus second for example makes a big difference 😉 ).

In the end, it has been super interesting already to work this out and I look forward to do more around BI reporting on SAP Solution Manager based data. SAP Solution Manager 7.2 is approaching and as it approaches, I’ll be checking what options we’ve got available there for custom reporting.

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  • Hello Tom,

    great blog!

    There are so many opened/not yet realized issues for BI reporting within Solution Manager especially for system monitoring, e.g. :

    - Customizing of SLR report/extent of SLR report with MAI content.
    I am asking why there is no successor for ST_SER software component 701_2010_1. The design of SLR is out of date.

    - also EWA report should be more flexible and it should be possible to customize them (at least some areas and to add some additional content)

    - a very important issue is a daily system reporting

    Also the BEX Tools within Solution Manager are out of date and should be replaced with state of the art technology.

    Perphaps you can ask SAP for one of more issues above...

    Thank you!

    • Hi Alex

      SLR hasn't been further developed and I don't expect to see further development in all honesty.

      MAI content is more or less available in "Dashboard Factory" but that is only restricted available for MaxAttention customers ~ reference: Dashboard Factory - Solution Manager - SCN Wiki and it requires SolMan 7.1 SP13 as a prerequisite.

      EWA's have given me a couple of headaches before already 🙂 since you're basically not in control as you mention, you have to cope with what SAP changes. I've had to explain this many times already at customer side. MAI is also much more complex from a technical point of view compared to the previous architecture so there are more missing data issues in general and there is more maintenance effort required to keep everything up to date and have all data available (especially in larger environments where lots of changes happen to the system landscape).

      For the last pointer, it's possible to leverage the recent BI Suite products on top of SAP Solution Manager as long as data gets pulled into the BI part (or a seperate BI) but then your customer needs licensing for those which unfortunately not all of my customers have got. Lots of customers are leveraging SolMan data in BusinessObjects Web Intelligence for example.

      I  believe we'll see significant improvements in SolMan 7.2 becasue you can leverage new functionality and technology (Netweaver stack 7.40) there to create things like Fiori apps, dashboards with KPI tiles and much more. If you then put SAP HANA underneath you get even more functionality.

      SAP Lumira is also interesting but doesn't have sufficient functionality just yet to make it useable at customer side for data discovery on top of SAP Solution Manager. You can read about a small test I did here: Checking out SAP Lumira BW Query connectivity

      If you look at where SAP is going with future applications, analytics become super important (SAPPHIRENOW keynotes where filled with analytics on top of applications) so it's definitely an area where I'll be focusing on in the near future as well.

      Kind regards


      • Hello Tom,

        many thanks for your answer!

        You told that a lot of (your) customers are leveraging SolMan data in BusinessObjects Web Intelligence.

        Can you please create a blog for this topic/issue of course without any customer related data?

        We use for example Solman 7.1 mainly for Application Operations (MAI) and see a lot of requierement to extend the standard BI/BO Reporting of Solman 7.1.

        The central requirement is for example to automatically generate daily reports for our customers.

        It will be great to hear from you....

        Thank you!

        • Hi Alex

          Your welcome.

          What would you like to read about in that blog post exactly? How to figure out what data is available and how to expose it or (so make a beginning)?

          In the near future, active dashboards most likely become more interesting than static reporting so in terms of BI tooling, Design Studio and SAP Lumira for example are more compelling to me at the moment versus Web Intelligence. I can hardly wait to start playing around on SolMan 7.2 on HANA 🙂 .

          I can really advice you to read through The In-Memory Revolution - How SAP HANA Enables Business of the Future | Springer book from  Hasso Plattner & Bernd Leukert (and many more SAP employees who contributed to it). The importance of analytics is really showcased there, it's going to be of greater importantance even than it is today.



          • Hello Tom,

            of great interest is to know which BI enhancements on top of Solman (your) customers implement and how to make a beginning? May be it is possible to make some screenshots in order to see those BI enhancements?

            Thank you!