This post is about the amazing capabilities of custom elements to extend data visualization in SAP BI 4.2.

As revealing the story that lies beyond data is more and more challenging, we (@Galigeo) have been working for many years to extend data visualization with maps and location intelligence ensuring smart user experience and simple technical integration.

It has been painful for a long time to extend or customize the user interface or data visualization in SAP BI.
Extension points have been a first option to integrate a visual component at the side of a Webi report that can use and interact with the same BO data.
Though the recent enhancements of extension points, it doesn’t allow a seamless visual integration and User eXperience.

We started to work and test custom elements in collaboration with SAP BI R&D team early this year.

We clearly found CE to be a promising solution to bet on.

Why? For the following reasons:

1. Self-Service User eXperience for Design

  • it offers a quasi native integration in the standard tool bar
  • it offers the same User Experience for adding a visualization component, just drag&drop, choose data and see

Let’s have a look to the following video:

Let’s have a look to the following video:

2. Seamless integration within BO data visualizations

  • custom elements are natively connect to the report data that you can refresh or filter according user control
  • you can link and define interaction between your components
  • you can add multiple CEs in the same page, report or document
  • custom elements can be shared, copied and pasted between documents

3. Seamless Administration and Exploitation

  • Custom Elements can easily be deployed as a simple webapp in BO J2EE server or on any other server
  • Configuration is done in minutes
  • Custom elements that are part of a document will be replicated with the document copy or export into another environment

4. Performances

  • Performance for data access, refresh and display are clearly better than any other data access through SDKs

These main benefits make us think that Custom Extensions in SAP BI 4.2 are really powerful and promising!

You can find more information about our mapping extension for BusinessObjects.

And it could be greater.
We propose here improvements that can make custom elements and Webi much more powerful and flexible for modern visualization:

  • Allow to add a button or menu per custom element directly in the tool bar
  • Support interaction from a custom element to filter other report elements (through JS API ?)
  • Add more flexibility to customize the CE configuration: parameters, graphic interface, data…
  • Allow to add a custom element in a BO workspace

We cannot wait to test the future SP4 and are very exiting by the new FIORI HTML5 user interface, responsive, sexy and mobile ready!

Don’t hesitate to comment or discuss around future improvements to let Webi offer the best balance between modern self-service and managed BI tool.

You can find more information about our mapping extension for BusinessObjects.

Many thanks to SAP BI R&D team and especially to Christian, Pascal and Samuel !

Cheers,
Seb

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