Analyse your data live with SAP Analytics Cloud on SAP BW on HANA & SAP BW/4HANA (Part 2)
Please note that this is “Part 2” of the blog “Analyse your data live with SAP Analytics Cloud on SAP BW on HANA & SAP BW/4HANA (Part 1)“. I strongly recommend that you read “Part 1” first, before you continue with this blog, because it shows some basics about the SAP Analytics Cloud and the live connection. In addition it shows already a few great features you should know.
As shown in the previous blog, one of the main reasons customers select SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) on SAP BW is the fact, that they can consume 1:1 the SAP BW queries with all their elements (e.g. structures, hierarchies, variables, variants, global key figures) including the underlying authorizations & roles. There is no need to change the SAP BW queries for special reporting purposes as we can leave them as is. This helps IT & Business Departments to consume all existing SAP BW content without changes – no data extraction, no data silos, just plug & play.
But let’s do a short wrap up first. Like in the first blog, you need to have a SAP BW query with all relevant key figures (measures) and characteristics (dimensions). After setting up the live connection from SAP Analytics Cloud to SAP BW, all SAP BW queries can be accessed “directly” and a “live model“can be created in SAP Analytics Cloud based on a specific SAP BW query. This model can be used to build stories with nice visualizations. To run the dashboard and to access the data you need of course the authorization for SAP BW (user and password plus underlying roles in BW). It just works plug & play.
In addition, please note that the live connection to a SAP on-premise system also covers SAP S/4HANA. Especially here you connect the same way like to an SAP BW system (e.g. SAP BW/4HANA). For further informations please have a look on the SAP Analytics Cloud product page: https://www.sapanalytics.cloud/learning/data-connections/
If we talk about the live connection from SAP Analytics to SAP BW (e.g. SAP BW/4HANA), you need to know that the data stays on-premise and will not be transferred into the cloud. It just stays where it is and that is a really great feature of SAP Analytics Cloud!
And now let’s start to continue where we stopped in the first part of this blog. I will show you now some additional features which are really powerful when used in SAP Analytics Cloud stories based on a SAP BW/4HANA live connection. In this case I have used a SAP BW/4HANA 2.0 SP4 system to leverage as much as possible from new SAC features.
In addition please have a look into SAP Note 2541557 (https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/2541557). It contains all information’s about the SAP Note Analyzer and the XML file with the notes, which “needs” to be imported into the SAP BW backend to get the best experience.
Display of images in tables based on SAP BW XXL attributes
Please note that on SAC side this is now planned for this year in Wave 2020.11. In some cases customers can create a ticket and ask if the corresponding feature toggle “TABLE_CELL_IMAGE” can be activated on their SAC tenant earlier (anyhow the beta table is already available). On the SAP BW side anything is fine and you can create your XXL-attributes with the pictures. Please note that this topic was already mentioned last year in the following SAP Blog post: https://blogs.sap.com/2019/09/23/improvements-of-bw4hana-analytical-engine-in-q3-2019-with-nw-bw-sp16-or-q1-2020-with-bw4hana-2.0-sp4/
And now let’s have a look how this look like. It is possible to logically assign XXL attributes to a BW characteristic InfoObject. Based on the MIME type selected, the system can interpret the XXL attribute as an audio file, a video file, text, or an image. XXL attributes first must be defined as an XXL InfoObject type before being available as XXL attributes for other characteristics.
You can make use of the information’s stored in an XXL attribute and use them in SAC tables – to be clearer: in my example I want to show product pictures stored in an XXL attribute which is assigned to a BW characteristic InfoObject (here product).
I will not show all relevant steps which are needed but you simply need to create an XXL attribute with the corresponding Data & Mime Type.
Next you must assign it to the relevant BW characteristic InfoObject.
Switch to the master data maintenance view for your BW characteristic InfoObject.
You can now upload your pictures to the relevant characteristic values.
In SAP Analytics Cloud you just need to add a table to your story, activate the XXL attribute and activate the “beta table” view. You will immediately see the pictures directly from SAP BW/4HANA. Start exploring your data, create some filters and the view will change. Fully dynamic. Of course, there are other options instead of uploading pictures, but this is the easiest and fastest way.
Now let’s see how this looks in SAC:
Custom ordering of measures in Tables based on a live connection
If you show tables based on SAP BW live models, often there is a need to change the order of measures. This feature can easily be accessed in the designer and works also if you want to change the order of measures based on a live model in SAC when having a SAP BW query with 2 structures.
Standard BW Query in the underlying SAC live model:
BW Query with two structures in the underlying SAC live model:
Export Story based on SAP BW Live Data to PowerPoint using story filters
With 2020.04 we’ve released the ability to export a story to Microsoft PowerPoint, allowing users to easily include stories in their presentations and streamline their workflow. Each exported story page will be one image on a PowerPoint slide. This feature has the same capabilities and limitations as exporting stories to PDF or Google Slides. But there is one interesting thing you should know about this feature – you can start a batch export by story filters. In the next example you can see, that I create a PowerPoint export and SAC should also consider my filters on the dimension distribution channel.
Linking SAP BW Variables in SAC
If your story has e.g. two models based on SAP BW queries which contains variables, you can link the SAP BW variables so that changing one variable in a model will update the data from the other model as well. In the following video we have data from two SAP BW queries, and you will see how this nice feature works.
Custom Hierarchies/Groups for SAP BW Live
Story designers want to organize members of different dimension groups. When working on a story, you can define custom hierarchies on BW dimensions. These hierarchies can be used in charts, tables, input controls, and filters. The definition of a new hierarchy always starts from the flat dimension and changing the Variables will reset all custom hierarchies.
Please note that this new feature requires BW 7.5 SP16 and notes 2865887, 2865929.
This feature has been delivered with 2020.03.
Now let’s see how this works.
Show/Hide display attributes from characteristic InfoObjects
A characteristic InfoObject in SAP BW can have display attributes which contains additional information’s. For example you can have the customer number as a characteristic and e.g. add the customer location, customer segment in the backend to this characteristic as attributes. You can usually activate attributes in the SAP BW query and they will be shown – e.g. in SAP Analysis Office. It is also possible to activate these attributes in SAP Analytic Cloud as well. In the following video you will see how I show/hide the display attributes colour and product group for the characteristic product.
Using hyperlink to e.g. SAP S/4HANA to provide more context to your end users
When creating a story in SAP Analytics Cloud, you may want to hyperlink to another story, a specific page in your story, or to a website. This can be a great way to provide more context to the message you’re trying to convey ( https://www.sapanalytics.cloud/resources-hyperlinking/ ). So far so good but did you know that you can apply selected dimension as filter when connecting to a page within your story or a different story within your SAP Analytics Cloud environment?
As mentioned above you can also create a hyperlink to an external URL, which can be any jump target – e.g. a transaction in SAP S/4HANA. And the interesting point is, that you can even pass any value provided within your SAC model in the hyperlink URL to parametrize your target application.
In the following video you can see how we use a bar in a bar chart to select a sales order and then I will jump to a SAP S/4HANA transaction to see details about this sales order. No scripting needed and anyone can make use of this great feature.
Universal Display Hierarchy (UDH) Support in SAP Analytics Cloud
Universal Display Hierarchy (UDH) is a SAP BW Query setting concept that allows two or more dimensions defined in the row or columns to be displayed hierarchically.
This is a setting that can be activated in the rows and/or columns. You can even set the default expansion level of the hierarchy display. And this is again one of the many SAP BW Query features, which is supported by SAP Analytics Cloud. In the next video you will see a SAP BW query in SAP Analytics Cloud, where the setting is activated in the rows. Now instead of showing all dimensions (characteristic) in the rows you will see this hierarchical view. By the way – this is also working with SAP BE queries using two structures.
Using SAP Analytics Cloud Search to Insight with your SAP BW live data
Search to Insight is a natural language query interface used to query data.
While working with indexed models based on acquired and SAP HANA, SAP S/4HANA, and SAP BW live data, you can query Search to Insight to get quick answers to questions and incorporate these insights into a story.
You can ask questions such as:
- Sales for a specified year or quarter.
- Sales for a region or two regions by priority.
- Compare Actuals versus Forecasted values for a specified measure in a specific time period.
The Search to Insight interface can identify and auto-complete intended dimension names, dimension values, and measure names with assisted recognition to display accurate results.
In an SAC live model you need to create an index before you can use this model in Seaech to Insights. This function can be found in the model preferences.
Bookmark the current state of a story in SAP Analytics Cloud
You can create bookmarks in SAP Analytics Cloud to save different states of a story.
For example, you have several pages in your story that have filters, input controls, or prompts applied to them. You don’t want to spend time resetting all of them each time you want to see a different scenario. You would like to open the story, see one scenario, and then quickly switch to another scenario. You can even create global bookmarks so that anyone who can view the story can also see the different scenarios.
This feature was available already last year but it works also well, when using SAP BW live models.
SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP BW Queries using 2 structures!
In part 1 of the blog I have provided a few details about how to access SAP BW queries using two structures. Even a video was shown as an example. Let me repeat at least the basics again as this is a really important topic.
Structures are objects that you define in the BW Query design environment. A structure forms the basic framework of the axes in a table (rows or columns). It consists of structural components. We differentiate between key figure structures and characteristic structures. Structural components of key figure structures are always based on the key figure selections (basic key figures, restricted key figures, and calculated key figures). Characteristic structural components cannot contain key figure selections. The setup of the structure determines the sequence and number of key figures or characteristic values in the columns and rows of the query. You can also navigate through the structures in the executed query. Additionally you can also set filters for them. If you are using two structures (for example, a key figure structure in the columns and a characteristic structure in the rows), a table with fixed cell definitions is created.
And exactly here SAP Analytics Cloud shows its powerful capabilities, as its able to read and work with BW Queries using two structures easily. Even formula collisions or hidden cells will be considered.
Anyhow one detail is important to know which I have not mentioned in the first blog. If your SAP BW query contains two structures, the cell editor becomes available. But what does this mean?
The cell definition is a useful functionality within a SAP BW Query which helps us to uniquely define each cell that is present at the intersection of two structures. The term cell for the function Defining Exception Cells should not be confused with the term cell in Microsoft Excel. The formulas or selection conditions that you define for a cell always take effect at the intersection between two structural components.
Cell-specific definitions allow you to define explicit formulas and selection conditions for cells as well as implicit cell definitions. This means that you can override implicitly created cell values. This function allows you to design much more detailed queries.
In addition, you can define cells that have no direct relationship to the structural components. These cells are not displayed and serve as containers for help selections or help formulas.
Anyhow this is all considered when having a SAP BW query with 2 structures which contains cells.
These were a few new examples and explanations and there are of course many more possibilities with SAP Analytics Cloud on SAP BW on HANA or SAP BW/4HANA. To learn more, please have a look into our strong roadmap and check our SAP Analytics Cloud product page under https://www.sapanalytics.cloud/ for more information’s & details.
As mentioned in the introduction, I plan a few SAC blogs. This one was the second.