This topic is discussed couple of times in Blog/questions. Here I am writing based on the project experience. When/how BICS or UNX is useful and Pros & Cons of each.
SAP BI 4.X Connectivity for SAP BW:
Benefits of Business Intelligence Consumer Services (BICS):
SAP introduced BICS from BI 4.0 release. Web intelligence can connect directly to BEx queries by skipping extra universe layer through BICS connectivity.
Benefits of using BICS :
•Direct connection to BW Bex Queries.
•Data Source that heavily use Restricted/calculated Key figures, Structure, Variables etc.
•Re-use of BEx Queries just by a single click.
•BW Hierarchies support in webi reporting.
•Good for summary reporting.
•Full support for exception aggregation and zero suppression
•No need of manually maintaining /creating universes. Any changes in BEx query will reflect in the web intelligence without any click.
Known limitations -BICS
Below are few limitations of using BICS which we have observed with our experience:
•WebI query filters has limitations on BEx object attributes
•OR condition between the prompts is not supported
•Matches Pattern in Prompt has limitations
•Data Objects from BEx query as an input for filters
•Using result from another query as an input to another query
•No direct support for Is Null and Not Null
•Cannot apply filters on Key-Figures
•No connection to Infoprovider
Note :We have some workarounds to apply the above features in the report but major disadvantage is to apply them on a larger set of data as data at the report level as restriction at query level is not possible without these functions.
Benefits of Universe (UNX)
IDT tool of SAP BO enables connectivity to BW elements (DSO/Cube/Multi-Provider/Info Object) and enables the capability of Adhoc reporting.
Benefits of using UNX:
•Combine data from different sources (SAP or non-SAP)
•Helps in deep dive for detail reporting.
•Large reports with more number of records.
•To use More features of Query Filters.
•Using different ways of Joining queries of two data providers
•To use filters on measures at the query level.
•Universe level prompt or variable
Known Limitation –Universe (UNX)
Below are few limitations of using UNX which we have observed with our experience:
•BW hierarchies and node variable hierarchies are not supported in universe.
•Maximum 33 connections are possible in the single Data Foundation Layer. According to this build the data foundation. Connection mapping is 1:1 with DSO/Cube/Multi-provider.
•Universe on SAP BW follow the JCO connector connectivity. Universe connection timeout is based on the SAP BW gateway timeout parameter. Default gateway timeout in BW is 30 minutes. According to the timeout settings need to align the reporting requirement.
•Limited functions in the universe with SAP BW connectivity. In some cases need to shift the changes in Webi report. (Ex Date functions) which could effect report performance.
•There is no direct function in the Business layer to calculate data for MTD,YTD,QTD, similar to customer exit functionality in BEx queries though workaround is possible for this.
•There is a limitation on the number of queries which can run in parallel.10 queries can run in paraellel on one data source.
•No connection to BEx queries via UNX.
Point of View