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FAQ’s on Scheduling Publications in SAP Analytics Cloud

Recently the ability to Schedule Publications of Stories and Analytic Applications has been included in SAP Analytics Cloud.  There have already been a couple of blogs on this new feature and I wanted to address a few common questions that have been raised.

https://blogs.sap.com/2020/02/20/schedule-publications-for-your-stories-and-analytics-applications-in-sap-analytics-cloud/

https://blogs.sap.com/2020/03/12/schedule-publications-in-sap-analytics-cloud/

  • Terminology

What is a Publication?

Ans:  A publication is the generated output of a story or an analytics application. Copies of the Publication are then delivered to the specified recipients.

What is a Recipient?

Ans:  Recipients who are created in the same SAC Tenant are considered as SAC users and those who are not part of that SAC Tenant are the Non-SAC users and are considered as external users. A recipient will receive the generated publication from the scheduling engine via email

What is a Distribution?

Ans:  A Distribution is where you define the story and recipients of the Scheduled Publication.  A distribution can contain many Views to personalise a story with the same or new set of recipients.

  • What are Publications?

Ans: Scheduling Publications help you to accomplish repetitive tasks such as sharing a story to a specific set of users at a specific time based on business needs.

Scheduling Publications are used to distribute automatically generated output from stories or analytics applications to both SAC and Non-SAC users on a defined periodic schedule (Week, Day Hour). A Publication can consist of one or more Distribution definitions that can personalise the story for recipients through using Bookmarks, Prompts or Variables.

  • Will all customers have access to Scheduling Publications?

Ans:  Scheduling Publications is one of the core enterprise readiness features available with SAP Analytics cloud and Customers with a minimum of 25 SAC Licenses can make use of this feature. The number of SAC licenses in a SAC tenant is the total number of BI, Planning and Concurrent Session licenses.

  • Are there any restrictions on how many Publications customers can schedule?

Ans:  There is a limit to the number of publications that can be scheduled. Customers have a maximum number of Publications that can be scheduled on an hourly basis.  The maximum is based on customer’s total number of licenses which they have and with 2020 Q2 QRC this limit is 5 % of total number of SAC licenses as Publications per hour. For example, a Customer with 125 Licenses has a maximum of 6 Publications Per Hour (5% of 125)

An updated blog on this topic can e found here

Customers No. of Licenses  Number of Publications Per Hour
Customer A 25 1
Customer B 31 2
Customer C 100 5
Customer D 101 5
Customer E 110 6
  • What happens if I over exceed my allowed number of publications per hour, Will it queue up and deliver later

Ans:  No there is no queueing mechanism for Scheduled Publications. If you exceed more publications per hour than available to you based on your licenses, then the ones exceeding the allowed limit would fail.

Customers are warned when a creating a schedule if they have reached their maximum and the Publication would fail. Customer can still create a schedule with warning to allow them to fine tune their hourly scheduling pattern based on their needs.

  • How can customers increase the number of publications per hour, can they buy separately?

Ans:  Currently, Customers can increase number of publications per hour by simply purchasing more licenses. For now, there is no other way that customers can purchase separately.

  • Is data from Live sources acquired into SAC for Publications?

Ans:  The Scheduling engine for Publications is hosted in the cloud which also means the generation of the publications and sending to different recipients happens in the cloud.   The Scheduling engine receives data from the live connection to fulfil the publication, but the data is not acquired into SAC. No data persists in the cloud.

  • Can I make use of Prompts and Variables available with my Data sources, especially on Live connections?

Ans:  Yes, when you create a Scheduled Publication you can choose the different prompts and variables that are available in the story.

  • Can I personalize a single Scheduled Publication for different users/teams for same story/analytics application?

Ans:  A Publication Distribution can contain many Views. As part of the Publication Distribution settings each View can be personalized using Global and personal bookmarks or Prompts and Variables to personalize story content for users.

  • My BW/ HANA data sources has row level authorization defined for every user, If I schedule to users, will each recipient receive individual copies based on their row level security defined.

Ans:  No. With 2020 Q2 QRC, Data authorization applied on top of publications is from schedule owner’s perspective and not from recipient perspective. Whatever data the schedule owner sees from their perspective, the same copy as publication would be sent over to the recipients.

Bursting of content is commonly used to meet this requirement and is planned in the technical roadmap.

  • Can I send my publications to Non-SAC users who are not registered as part of SAC Tenant?

Ans:  Yes, each View defined in the Distribution can be sent to a maximum of 3 – Non-SAC users. Some customers may not want their schedule owners to send any publication to a Non-SAC user and this can be disabled at a Tenant level.

  • What are the advantages are using bookmarks to personalize different publications?

Ans:   There are several advantages over using bookmarks for scheduling:

  1. When a user is scheduling a publication to many different recipients, they can see what exactly the view which is going to be sent to different recipients right by choosing the appropriate bookmarks.
  2. Bookmarks can be created not only by schedule owner but whoever has access to Global and Personal bookmarks. If one of the recipients wants specific view, they can create a Global or Personal bookmark and share the same to the schedule owner for use in the schedule
  3. When a recipient receives the email with content personalized using Bookmarks clicks on the link to open the story in SAC the recipient will open the same story with their credentials and see the live version of the story. 
  • Is Scheduling Publications available in all SAC Tenants provisioned in different SAP Data Centres?

Ans. Scheduling Publications is only available with SAC tenants provisioned by Cloud foundry based data centres. We currently do not have a plan for Neo based data centre.

  • Is page ranging also available for schedule?

Ans:  Yes, page ranging is available while Scheduling publications. Schedule owner can choose the different range of pages for different publications under the same schedule including the grid settings if the publication needs the grid page as well.

  • Will publications work on SAC stories built on BW that is in SAP HEC?

Ans: Source data systems like BW and HANA systems can be in on-premise or available in cloud as in HEC.  Configurations to these data sources are required before we schedule a story as the publication engine would need to communicate to the data source and proxy the result data for generating the publication.

  • Are there any planned enhancements of the Preview functionality on the PDF?

Ans: You can preview by opening the story and exporting to PDF manually. The view what you would find with this should be same with what we would generate the publication. The preview works at a resolution of 1080p which can be considered for checking your previews.

  • What licence is needed in order to enable Schedule publication?

Ans: A minimum of a total of 25 SAC licenses are required for using Scheduling publications. This feature is only supported in AWS based SAC tenants and NEO is not supported.

  • Who can use the scheduling function? is that an admin function or is this a self-service feature that every user can use?

Ans: Anyone can schedule a story as long as the administrators have assigned the role for scheduling publication to the user/ teams/

  • Is Scheduled Publications available for Embedded tenants?

Ans: No, Currently, it’s not available for embedded tenants.

  • How does the scheduling output look in case of Crosstabs with scrolls?  Does it just show what is displayed on the screen or will the PDF have the entire table output displayed?

Ans: Currently, cross tabs/table in a story’s responsive or a canvas page would be a screenshot view of what is visible in the page. In case, you would need to print the entire table in a pdf copy, then we would suggest you have this information with-in a grid page.  For the growing table in canvas/ responsive page, its currently a future product plan item which we have already considered.

  • is it possible to modify the owner of a publication?

Ans: Currently, this is not possible.

  • Can we schedule multiple stories to publish with a single email?

Ans: No, currently, it is not possible to schedule multiple stories with same schedule.

  • Where can we schedule the time zone e.g. EST, IST, CST,GMT?

Ans: The current time zone used for scheduling is the schedule owner browser set time zone while scheduling. All publications with-in the schedule would be sent to all recipients in the same time zone and the set time as by the schedule owner.

 

  • Which SAC Data Centres support Scheduling Publications?

Ans: Schedule publications are available in tenants which are provisioned on top of the SAP Cloud Platform Cloud Foundry environment. The list is as below:

  • AWS Europe Central (EU10)
  • AWS US East (US10)
  • AWS Brazil (BR10)
  • AWS Japan (JP10)
  • AWS Sydney (AP10)
  • AWS Singapore (AP11)
  • Ali cloud China (CN40)

Yes from the above list , The latest addition with a patch update  on the Ali Cloud data center starting the versions 2020.8.11 for QRC based tenants and for the fast track tenants , starting on 2020.11.2 and 2020.12.0. Depending upon whichever groups you belong to and the version , you would get this update on your Tenant.

Are there any Tips and Tricks?

  1. The maximum mail delivery size allowed per email including attachment is 12Mb
  2. For a story based on imported data connections, it can take up to 4-6  hours to run a schedule and for a story based on live data the time to run a schedule varies based on the complexity of the query and the time it takes to run the query on the remote system.
  3. While scheduling stories based on live connections, make sure that the Allow live data to leave my network switch is enabled from Start of the navigation path. System >> Data source >> Configuration
  4. You can also schedule a story from the Favourite menu and Featured files
  5. Prompt values defined during story design will be used for the schedule publication by default if not specified
  6. Scheduling on a live connection with basic authentication will always run with the credentials of the schedule owner that have been configured. Therefore, when a user opens a story via link, they will not get authenticated against the data source.

 

9 Comments
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  • Hi Andrew Fox ,

     

    thanks for this post and finally we also received the tenant update on the quarterly release. And of course one of my first topics to look at was the schedule options for stories based on live connection. And it seems to work. At least I can create a publication. The problem is, that i do not receive any pdf or story link by mail. When I have a look into the details of the publication in the calender i can see an error saying “The artifact couldn’t be sent to mail delivery service”. I tried it with SAC user and also just with the email address. Both for my own user.

    Are there any additional settings to be done?

    Scheduling is allowed in the system settings. Also for Non-SAC Users.In the datasource configuration live data is allowed to leave my network. And obviously as BI Admin I also have the rights to create a publiation.

    Any suggesation where I can have a look at in the settings to get the publications to the mail delivery service?

     

    Regards

    Kjell

    • Hi Kjell,

      I remember there was an intermittent issue which was fixed very recently, I suggest can you test it once again now and provide your feedback here. If issue persists,  suggest to create an support incident so that our team can take a look into your Tenant and see whats causing the  issue.

       

      Karthik

       

  • Hi,

     

    first conclusions from the support incident:

    It is not that easy to schedule publications based on live connections.

    In the connections settings for live connections advanced features have been added. For the scheduling of stories based on live connections these features have to be activated. To make use of the advanced features the Cloud Connector has to installed and configured. By this the scheduling of live stories is possible.

    So our next steps are to configure the connector and then try it again. I will keep you updated.

     

    Regards

    Kjell

  • Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for this detailed FAQ!

    I don’t find this approach of providing capacity fair. We use concurrent SAC BI licenses, much more expensive than normal SAC BI licenses. Obviously, it makes no sense to buy more concurrent licenses just in order to increase the publication capacity, as the costs will be enormous. Any plans to re-consider?

    Best Regards, Alexey

    • Thank you for your feedback Alexey.   There are no plans at present to re-consider the approach for adding more scheduled publication capacity

  • Hi everyone,

     

    I’m having the following error when I schedule my application: “We couldn’t complete the schedule publication because ExportToPDF is missing.”

    Does anybody knows what can it be? Why ExportToPdf is missing? Where can I find it?

    Regards.

    /