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Key Functional Deep-Dive between SAP BusinessObjects Explorer and SAC

As it was announced in a previous blog post, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer will be soon End of Life. SAP recommends to use SAP Analytics Cloud as the Go To Product to replace SAP BusinessObjects Explorer.

In this blog post, I would like to show you that SAP Analytics Cloud has all the required features to replace your current Explorer reports.

Features Comparison between SAB BusinessObject Explorer and SAP Analytics Cloud

 

SAC comes with the Explorer view mode which is a faceted view of your data. It’s the same user experience that you have with SAP BusinessObjects Explorer. To learn how to use it you can have a look at the official documentation here

1.Data connectivity
All data sources supported by BO Explorer are available in SAC

Data Source
SAP BO Explorer
SAP Analytics Cloud
SAP BusinessObjects Universe (unx) Yes Yes
SAP BusinessObjects Universe (unv) Yes Yes
SAP Hana Yes Yes
Microsoft Excel Yes Yes
SAP BW Yes Yes
and many more

In SAC there are 2 types of data connection : the Live Data Connection and the Import Data Connection. With LIve Data Connection your data stay in the source system. With the Import Data Connection  your data are replicated in SAP Analytics Cloud. Depending of your requirments, you can use either type of connection. If you don’t want to move your data, then you will use the live data connection. If you want to enrich your dataset (calculated measure, hierarchy, predicts, geolocalisation…) you will use the import data connection.

2. Comparison: Capabilities while creation of Infospaces against a story on SAC:

Capability SAP BO Explorer SAP Analytics Cloud
Grouping Facets Yes No
Filters support Yes Yes
Rename Measures & Dimensions Yes Yes
Validate Infospaces Yes Yes
Add, Subtract, Multiply & Divide two measures Yes Yes
Set Trend on custom measures Yes Yes (with Thresholds in Stories)
Display Formatting Options (Thousands, none, percentage, Currency & Scientific) Yes Yes
Scheduling support Yes (on Infospaces) Yes (at the Model level)
Security (Personalization) On individual infospaces Yes (Can be done at model level)

3. Charting Capabilities

Chart Type
Explorer
SAC
Bar Chart Yes Yes
Bar Chart with two y axes Yes No
Radar Chart Yes Yes
Multiple Radar Chart Yes No
Surface Chart Yes Yes
Tag cloud Chart Yes No
Pie Chart Yes Yes
Multiple Pie Chart Yes No
Vertcical 100% Stacked Column Chart Yes Yes
Vertcical 100% Stacked Bar Chart Yes Yes
Treemap Yes Yes
Scatter Chart Yes Yes
Bubble Chart Yes Yes
Line Chart Yes Yes
Line Chart with two Y Axis Yes Yes
Multi Bar Chart Yes No
Mutti Line Chart Yes No

4. Comparison: Capabilities Supported while exploring Infospaces against using SAC

Capability SAP BO Explorer SAP Analytics Cloud
Split View Yes Yes
Facets only view Yes No
Visualizations only view Yes Yes (Stories)
One click Filtering Yes Yes
On the fly variable creation Yes Yes
Free text search Yes Yes
Bookmarking Yes Yes
Export Visualization data as csv Yes Yes
Sorting Yes Yes
Ranking Yes Yes
Direct link to the infospaces/story (Opendoc) Yes Yes
Pass parameters in document link Yes Yes
And many more functionalities

5. Maps
With BusinessObjects Explorer you can add a Geography analysis type. You use Geography to analyze data by geographical distribution directly on a geographical location map. This type of chart can help visualize differences in cities or regions directly while visualizing the targeted country map. There are 2 types of Geo map available in Explorer : Chloropeth geomap and Bubble geomap.

SAC provides 5 types of Geo map layers relying on esri basemap ((https://www.esri.com/en-us/home).  You could have more detailed information about Maps capabilities in SAC here.

6. Bookmarks
In BO Explorer, you can save an exploration result as a bookmark. This bookmark can be loaded later or can be shared with other users.

In SAC you can also create bookmarks to save different states of a story. A bookmark can be personal (only visible by his creator) or global (visible by all users). A personal bookmark can be shared with other users.  More details here

7. Search 
In BO Explorer you can search for data in an information space . The result is highlighted in facets.

SAC supports a search by facet. Moreover SAC provides also a global search at the level of the home page called “Search to Insight”. This means that you can search for data without opening an SAC story. You can find more information here

Search by facet:

Search to Insight:
  

8. Predefined Objects
BO Explorer comes with predefined objects. The default measure “Occurrences” is one of them. It returns the number of occurrences of each distinct value in a facet.

If you want to do that in SAC you have different options :

  • You can create an imported model where you can add a column with the formula fx=1; All cells of this column will contain the value 1.

Add calculated measure:

In the Explorer view:

  • You can also create this calculated measure directly in your original data source (Hana for instance)

As you have seen SAP Analytics Cloud covers the “Explorer” scenario, but also goes beyond offering exciting new features !!

Advantages of using SAC over Explorer for similar use cases
There are a lot of new features in planning, predictive and in BI areas in SAP Analytics Cloud. Below are to name a few that could be interesting for users currently using SAP BusinessObjects Explorer.

Capability SAP BO Explorer SAP Analytics Cloud
Smart Insights (Predictive) No Yes
Smart Discovery (What if analytics, correlations and unexpected values) No Yes
Live connectivity to UNX and UNV No Yes
Linking datasets No Yes
Data enrichment capabilities while modelling No Yes
Commentary No Yes
Templates for (Stories/Views) No Yes
Planning No Yes
Analytics Designer No Yes

In addition to hundreds of other advanced capabilities (including Smart Insights, commentary, etc..) offered by SAC, below are the key advantages of using SAC over Explorer.

  • Unlike Explorer infospaces which needs to be scheduled individually, SAC model updates can be scheduled and all SAC stories based on the model will reflect the latest data. This will ensure the number of calls made to back-end system is minimal.
  • Security can be applied on Model level and hence is respected in all the stories. The need of personalization on individual info spaces can be eliminated.
  • SAC provides direct (Live) connectivity to UNX and UNV(SAP BusinessObjects universe) thereby enabling the users to see the latest data without needing to replicate/schedule the data import.
  • In addition to what Explorer supports today, SAC offers lots of other data connectivity options including (S/4HANA, BW/4HANA and other cloud Sources)
  • Getting away from Flash.

In a next blog post we will see how to use the Exploration view of SAP Analytics Cloud. So stay tuned !!

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