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Working with Business Content in SAP Analytics Cloud


In this blog post, you will learn how to import, work with, and effectively use SAP Analytics Cloud content.


Business Content is a great resource to help kick-start your story-telling journey with SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC). Today, the Content Network in SAC hosts over 70 content packages delivered by SAP (Business Content) and over 60 content packages delivered by our partners (3rd Party Content). With over 35k downloads from the Content Network by over 3k customers, SAC Business Content and 3rd Party Content sure is perceived as a real value-driver for our customers that accelerates their Analytics content creation and consumption workflow and differentiates SAP Analytics from the rest.

For more details on the SAP Analytics Cloud content and complete list of all Industry and Lines  of Business Content delivered, please also check our blog post and the detailed documentation

While we have seen great interest and traction for SAP Analytics Cloud content, we also receive several queries from customers and partners about how they can work with content packages after importing them from the repository. In this blog, I will try to explain simply how you can work with different content packages after importing them to your systems.

SAP Analytics Cloud content typically comes with 2 connection types: Live and Data Acquisition (Import).

For more details on Live vs Data Acquisition, please refer this blog post.

Irrespective of which connection type a content package is based on, the way you import the content from the Content Network remains the same.


Covered in this Blog Post:


Importing Analytics Content from the Content Network

SAP Analytics Cloud content (Business Content and 3rd Party Content) is available in the Content Network in SAP Analytics Cloud.

  1. From the main menu, select Browse > Content Network.
  2. Choose Business Content tile (for SAP-delivered content) or 3rd Party Content tile (for Partner-delivered content)
  3. Select desired package.
  4. Review the package overview, description, contents and deployment options.
  5. Choose “Import”.

Please also check the official documentation or view the video.

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How do you know the data connectivity that a content package is based on?

You can usually find the data connectivity details on the Overview page of the package that talks about the package description:

Another simple way to identify the datasource details of a package is by referencing the Content Inventory excel. This is a great resource which is embedded within the roll-out slide deck to quickly filter the content packages by data source/connection types.

In the link that hosts the roll-out slide deck, ensure to enable the Sidebar to be able to view the Content Inventory excel attachment.

You can quickly browse the Content Inventory Excel to understand the connection type, backend data source details, among many other details: For example – dependent packages for any given package, if the package uses planning capabilities, smart features, Geo maps or R-visualizations.

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Working with Content Packages based on Data Acquisition (Import) connectivity

The content that comes with Data Acquisition is ready to run with sample data – so you could start browsing stories and digital boardroom content immediately after importing them. The usage of models based on data acquisition facilitates the consumption of the content, because it enables the delivery of sample data. Thus, the content based on these models is ready to run without any additional effort and no additional systems are required yet. However, this is not to be mistaken as a recommendation for productive use: Please analyze if a live connection is available and suitable for your business scenario and use the same instead. You would need to import data from your source systems and make the necessary mappings and data transformations as specified in the documentation, before you can use the content productively.

When you import a package based on data acquisition, you would notice the “Connection” in the list of objects to be imported in the “Import Options” tab when you click on any content package in the repository.

For the purpose of this blog, let me walk you through an example of importing “SAP Human Resources – SuccessFactors” package from the repository.

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Where can you find the contents of the package after importing them?

After you have successfully imported a content package from the Content Network, you would see all the artefacts of the package in corresponding folders in your system.

In case of Business Content,

  • All Stories, Digital Boardrooms, can be found in: Files > Public > SAP Content > “Name_of_the_package”
  • All Models, can be found in: Files > Public > Models

It is always recommended to copy the files of a content package (Models, Stories, Digital Boardrooms) to a different folder and not continue to work on them in the same folders that they were downloaded into from the Content Network. This is to prevent any accidental loss of modifications/customizations made on the content during a re-import from the Content Network.

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How can you clear sample data from the models?

After having successfully imported the content, you can now open and view the Digital Boardrooms or stories. This will give you a good overview and a first understanding of what is included in the content.

If you find that SAP Content fits you immediately, you may want to clear the sample master and transactional data and then load your own data afterwards to start using the content productively.

To clear sample data from the model, perform the following:

  1. Go to Main Menu > Browse > Files > Public > Models
  2. Select a model in the Modeler list by clicking on it.
  3. Select Delete Facts icon (the eraser icon) on the toolbar.
  4. The complete list of dimensions in the model is displayed in a dialog. You can choose to clear data from the entire model or from individual dimension members.
  5. After making your selection, select OK to continue. This displays a verification prompt that you must confirm to complete the operation.

This would clear all/selected sample data from the models. And you can now proceed with loading your own data to the models.

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How to load data into existing models?

Once you’ve cleared sample data from the model, you can import your own data into the model. You can import data from File or various other sources. It is recommended that you follow the official documentation and import data from the same sources as mentioned in the documentation, so you would have data mapped correctly to all dimensions/measures in the model.

To import data into existing model, perform the following:

  1. Go to Main Menu > Browse > Files > Public > Models
  2. Select the Model and Open it.
  3. Switch the Data Management Tab.
  4. Choose “Import Data” under draft sources.
  5. Choose to import data from a file/datasource, as specified in the documentation and based on your backend.
  6. Browse to locate your file/connect to appropriate datasource, and choose “Import”.
  7. After importing, you will see the source listed under draft sources. Open it.
  8. In the Card view of the “Layout”, carefully verify if the field names in the source are correctly mapped to the dimension/measure members in the model.

If the field names in the source are the same as those in the model, it will be mapped automatically. If not, you may need to link them manually. Sometimes, there may be errors in automatic mapping – in such cases, you need to manually unmap the fields and re-map it to the correct field.

In this example, “FTE” field in source is incorrectly mapped to “User” field in the model. We need to fix it before completing the import.

8.a. Choose “x” mark on the corresponding card field you want to unmap.

8.b. You will now notice that “FTE” is unmapped and listed under available fields to map.

8.c. Use “Drag and Drop” to map the available fields to the corresponding correct fields in the model.

8.d. If you notice that, any of the fields in the model are missing from your source, you can map it to “#” for Unassigned.

 

Repeat the exercise until all the fields in the model are mapped correctly. Once the mapping exercise is complete and correct, choose “Finish Mapping”.

 

Some points to note:

  • Please note that after you’ve made all the changes, if you ever wish to re-import the same content package or a newer version of the same package from the repository, the system provides the option to “Overwrite objects and data”. This option will update existing objects by replacing the object version in your system with the version in the content package. This option is potentially dangerous, because it can result in irretrievable loss of custom enhancements and also customer data. This option has to be handled with care: When selecting the “Overwrite objects and data” option, the system provides the information which objects will be overwritten. Please check the list carefully. Objects may be delivered in several content packages, especially but not only if you choose industry content packages. The package you wish to download can thus have unintended side-effects, accidentally overwriting objects you were not aware of. If in doubt, do not use the “Overwrite objects and data” option.
  • We do not guarantee the backward compatibility of updated content. The content available in Analytics Content Network is forward compatible. For example, the Business content updated and exported in version 2020.08 can be downloaded by any SAC version 2020.08 and above

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Working with Content Packages based on Live Data Connectivity

When you import a content package based on live data connectivity, it comes with no sample data, i.e you would need to establish a connection to your backend system in order to view the visualizations in the stories/digital boardroom. You would need to create live data connections to on-premise or cloud systems, based on the details of the package as mentioned in the documentation. Data is “live”, meaning that when you open the story in SAP Analytics Cloud after creating the necessary connection, changes made to the data in the source system are reflected immediately.

When you click on such packages in the Content Network, you would not see any “Connection” listed in the Content list in the “Import Options” tab of the package.

When you first try to import a package based on live connection, you would get several warnings against the models in the package in the Import summary: “The model will not be usable due to a missing live connection “Connection_Name”.

You would first need to establish a connection to your backend with the same name as specified in the warning, also in the documentation.

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Creating a Live connection:

On the  Connection page, you create and maintain datasource system connections. Here, you must create a connection to the backend with the same Connection name as mentioned in the documentation.

Refer these links to understand in detail about the steps and necessary prerequisites to create live connections:

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How to verify if the Package based on live connection is ready to use?

In order to verify if the all the necessary connections to the backend are rightly created with the correct names, re-import the package from the Content Network.

This time, Import will be successful without any warnings corresponding to the models.

After having successfully imported the content, you can now open the Digital Boardrooms or stories and immediately start visualizing the data from your source systems, and changes to the data in the source system can be visualized in real-time on the stories.

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How to get support for Business Content?

While SAP is not legally obligated to support Business Content, we always try to do our best to support you with any queries you may have regarding Business Content in general or specific issues you may face while importing SAP Analytics Cloud Content.

Please drop an email to sap_analytics_cloud_content@sap.com, and our team will try to help you.

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9 Comments
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    • The xls file can be an extract/data export from any supported SAC datasources. xls file is just used for an example here – you could always try exploring the wide range of Live and Data acquisition connectivity options available to get your data into SAC.

       

      Thanks,

      Malavikha

  • Hi,

     

    The content looks beatiful, but we are stuck on how to get the data available from the OP S4-system. How do we get all the views/providers/queries into the system? We cannot find anyhting that looks like it.

    Br,

    Espen Leknes

  • Hi,

    Thanks for the answer, but it is not the connection to the ERP that is the issue. it is the content in ERP – CDS-views, queries etc. Where do we find those?

     

    Espen

    • Hi Espen Leknes

      nice to hear from you!

      • For SAC LIVE connection, it’s CDS Views containing the annotation @Analytics.query: true that will appear in SAP Analytics Cloud

      • For SAC Import connection – because it uses the oData service, it’s the CDS that are marked as ‘External API’.

      the above steps (Add the annotation for Analytics.query = True, Changed the API-state to released ) needs to be done on a per view basis in the Eclipse studio.

      additionally, I’ve had some customers who’ve needed to do extra maintenance for the OData bit in transaction /IWFND/MAINT_SERVICE.

      After that, you should be able to find these queries using the view browser, filtering by Released = YES and Category = Query.

      As a final proof point, you also test that this type of query runs OK in the embedded BW of the S/4HANA system using ABAP transaction RSRT.

      If you still can’t find anything sensible or the queries are erroring, then please make sure you are searching for the SAC consumable queries with the prefix it with “2C” … so 2CCMATSTOCKTIMESER as an example. (CMATSTOCKTIMESER will fail in SAC with a DDL error, the 2CC version will not)

      Best of luck!

      Cheers,

      H

  • HI,

    Good to see you too!

     

    That was a rather helpful answer.

    What about older systems? Is there a means to bring in these data sources to older systems? E.g. older S/4 or ERP on HANA-systems? Given that new standard content comes out all the time, most customers will be further back.

     

    Espen

     

     

    • Hi Espen Leknes

      i agree the SAC packages come out frequently, but as far as I’m aware they are loosely-coupled with the S/4 versions.

      For example, i don’t think you’ll see a BC package which states ‘you need to be on S/4HANA version 2011’ or whatever the latest release is.

      that being said – the SAC models that are shipped will expect that certain Views and Fields be present in the backend system, so i guess you’ll need to do some analysis to see if you’ll be able to fit-to-standard or not?

      but no, I’m not personally aware of customers using SAC BC templates against ERP 6 or Business Suite on HANA.

      Regards, H