SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 : What’s New
SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 release was aimed at improvising in both Admin as well as User perspective. As communicated earlier in multiple forums and also with the recent release announcement blog SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 Now Available by Steve McHugh, with all these, you might have an overview by now on what to expect from BI 4.3 release. In this blog you will get to see more detailed introduction of those new feature enhancements and innovations delivered with this release.
The most important point you need to know before going into the feature enhancements and innovations, is that SAP continues to invest into the on-premise BI Suite. And the same is even conveyed in the keynote of “SAP BusinessObjects BI VIRTUAL TOUR“. In case if you miss the keynote you can watch on-demand the same along with other Presentations and Demos here.
If you want to refer any time the full maintenance schedule of SAP BusinessObjects, including Patch releases, you can find the same here. And to decide on the suitable update paths across the BI 4.x releases refer bi-upports document.
Let’s come to what is delivered in BI 4.3, as announced during the BETA release, and as mentioned above the key themes for the BI 4.3 were and will continue to be “Improved User Experience“, “Enhanced Enterprise Readiness” and “Hybrid Connectivity“.
Let’s start with Enhanced User Experience…
BI Next Generation Launch Pad (Fiorified BI Launchpad):
For any System or Platform to be successful, taking care of User needs is utmost important, with the same thoughts as mentioned above, User Experience in BI 4.3 release was completely revamped and making it foundation for the future innovations as well for the upcoming releases.
As you aware SAP introduced Fiorified BI Launchpad with BI 4.2 SP04 release with limited functionality when compared to the Classic BI Launchpad. From there, continued to improvise and innovate on the same in phases to make it par with the Classic BI Launchpad over the subsequent service pack releases. And shipped both the launchpads with the package as Classic one being the default Launchpad with the /BOE/BI context and the Fiorified one with the /BOE/BILaunchpad context.
But now with the BI 4.3 release, as almost all the features and functionalities of Classic Launchpad were implemented in the Fiorified BI Launchpad that makes the Classic Launchpad redundant hence Classic BI Launchpad has been deprecated and not shipped with the package.
Thus making the Fiorified BI Launchpad work with the default url context /BOE/BI, this will be the case for both Fresh deployments or Update of existing deployments to BI 4.3. That means when you launch the following url http://<localhost>:<port>/BOE/BI/ will lead to the Fiorified BI Launchpad login page:
Once login to the Launchpad, you will notice lot of change from 4.2 version with this release, Landing experience is completely revamped with respect to the look and feel as well as usability perspective.
Before proceeding to further one Important Note for the IT and BI Administrators, especially the people are dealing with Web Application deployment… Please be aware that “BI Next Generation Launch Pad (Fiorified BI Launchpad)” does not use Apache Struts. i.e. the application running with the following context /BOE/BI does not use Struts.
And even the OpenDocument application as well enhanced to consume the Fiori interface like in BI Launchpad and does not use Struts.
Note: You can observe the following points through the above two pictures
- When the session is not available or the SSO is not configured, earlier OpenDocument versions, used to redirect to …/BOE/OpenDocument/logonNoSso.jsp… now it is replaced with …/OpenDocument/opendoc/UI5logon.jsp… any custom development made based on the earlier url need to be revisited after the BI 4.3.x update.
- Now the Documents will open in the Unified Document Viewer like in BI Launchpad and not only that, you would have noticed that Details panel will not be available while viewing the documents.
So what is the benefit, now that both the end user facing applications i.e. BI Launchpad and Open Document does not use Struts, hence Administrators can now comfortably customize the deployment of BOE Web Application that with two different instances of the same one enabled only with /BI and /OpenDocument based on the requirement to make it externally available, and other for accessing the Central Management Console, i.e. /CMC for internal consumption. This way you can control or secure your deployment against the vulnerability threats reported with Apache Struts.
Please refer the following Note for information on Apache Struts in SAP BusinessObjects 2364904.
You can watch the following video “What’s New In SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 – What’s New in the Fiorified BI Launch Pad” available at SAP Analytics Channel to get a quick overview on BI Launchpad in BI 4.3.
Let’s see those enhancements in detail….
In Home Page order of displaying the tiles are rearranged according to the customer feedback got through the multiple forums, all sections are organized well by minimizing the list to limit to most recent ones and introduced an option to view full list for each section, for example to view the full list of Favorites, click on the “View All Favorites“.
Similar to the All Reports (All Documents) page where you can view them either in “List View(Default)” or “Tile View”, you can view “All Favorites“, “All Recent Documents” and “All Recently Run” as well in either List View or Tile View. For example, in the following picture you can see that “All Recent Documents” are showcased in Tile View.
Folder navigation is enhanced with quite few useful changes with respect to navigation and metadata, description of the folder can be now directly available without the need for going to Properties window.
You can create Sub Folder, Publication (You can refer below Publication section for more details), Hyperlink object. And also, can upload local document.
Now Hyperlink creation will support even “https” url as well, with this support you can even create hyperlink for your favorite SAP Analytics Cloud Story and mark it Favorite so that it will be listed in the Home Page under Favorites section. In this way you can access both your one premise as well cloud stories from one location. For security reasons, the hyperlinks created with “https” will not be opened inside the Launchpad and will be opened new window.
As we know we can upload local document (like Word or PDF) to the repository as an Agnostic document, BI 4.3 comes with an enhancement for this functionality as “Replace File” option. This option will be available in “Organize” sub menu of the “Contextual Menu” on the previously uploaded document.
You can now copy as shortcut, any document and paste the shortcut in the desired location, with “Copy Shortcut” and “Paste Shortcut” options under Organize sub menu of Contextual menu.
In Applications section in Home Page, you can find the tile related to SAP Analytics Cloud with which, you can directly launch your Analytics Cloud tenant by configuring your tenant url in Central Management Console.
In CMC, under Applications page, right click on “SAP Analytics Cloud” application and select “SAP Analytics Cloud Properties” option, configure “Tenant URL”. By default, this property will be configured with the trial tenant request page of SAP Analytics Cloud.
Once the administrator changes the value of Tenant URL configured with the desired SAC tenant url:
User Notifications used to appear in banner in the Classic BI Launchpad, in NextGen BI Launchpad experience of this feature got revamped and centralized. Introduced the Notification icon in the top right corner, with count displayed next to icon representing the number of Notifications.
You can find the Currently Open Documents… list from the application drop down list as depicted below and you can close those open documents by clicking on the cross icon next to the document name to close that particular document currently opened. You can easily switch between currently open documents, while you are viewing one. Or from any page in BI Launchpad using this drop-down list.
Using the cross icon available next to the document name in this drop-down menu, you can even close the currently viewing document as well, and you will be landed back to the Home Page.
One important point you must be aware of, In BI 4.3 you can author the WebI Intelligence content in BI Launchpad, apart from just viewing which was the case in BI 4.2. When you launch the Web Intelligence application from the Applications section in Home page, you will be prompted to choose desired data source to create WebI document.
And the interface for creating Web Intelligence document is HTML 5 without the need for Java and in functionality on par with Java Report Panel of BI 4.2. And not only that, even the WebI Rich Client in BI 4.3 as well revamped with same interface like in BI Launchpad, thus by completely removing the dependency on Java.
You can get more details about WebI Intelligence side of What’ New along with Semantic Layer Enhancements in BI 4.3 from the following blog: SAP BI 4.3: What’s New In Web Intelligence and Semantic Layer by Christian AH-SOON. And the following SAP Analytics Channel videos for the quick overview of WebI – What’s New In SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 – Web Intelligence and IDT – What’s New In SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 – Information Design Tool.
By the way, you can select “Modify” option of Contextual Menu for “Web Intelligence” document, to edit the same in BI Launchpad, similarly for “Crystal Report for Enterprise” document as well to edit it in the Crystal Reports for Enterprise Client Application.
Customization of BI Launchpad
AS you know that Customization of BI Next Generation Launchpad with desired custom themes was made easy by the ThemeDesigner application, which was introduced in BI 4.2 SP07 release. For more details on the same refer the Customization and Branding section in the following blog written for BI 4.2 SP07 release What’s New by Ashok Rajashekar.
Again as you already know, customization is not just limited to look and feel, you can even customize the “Page Preferences” like what should be the landing page and which columns to be displayed for Documents and Instances Listing, now adding to these, In BI 4.3 introducing “Page Customization” to what tabs to display and what tiles to display in default Home Page.
And this customization can be done at Group level in Central Management Console via the “Fiori BI Launch Pad Preferences” option in right click menu of the User Group by the Administrator.
To apply these customizations by yourself as an end user in BI Launchpad, you need to perform the following steps:
- Login to BI Next Generation Launch Pad (Fiori BI Launchpad)
- Click on User icon in the left top corner
- Click on Gear icon to navigate to settings
- Click on “Account Preferences” section
- In “Page Preferences” tab, unselect (toggle button) “Use Administrator Provided Settings” if not already done. (Without this, you cannot change Page Preferences and Page Customization)
- Now navigate to “Page Customization” tab
- Choose which Tabs to be displayed under “Tabs to display”
- Similarly choose which tiles to be displayed under “Tiles to display”
- And click on “Save” button.
- Come back to Home page and refresh the page to get the effect of Page Customization selected.
Here is good news for, Arabic and Hebrew speaking customers, you will be glad to know that the whole UI is now Right to Left compatible starting from BI 4.3.
As you know, you can even keep the value as “Use Browser Locale” for “Preferred Viewing Locale” and “Product Locale” and set the browser language for example “Hebrew”…
And, you can personalize the BI Launch pad with the SAP Fiori themes (Belize, Belize Deep, High Contrast Black, and High Contrast White). Especially the High Contrast Black, as we all know nowadays it is becoming de facto standard for applications providing Dark Mode for various reasons and benefits it provide, here is the BI Launchpad in the same lines…
All the deliveries to you is consolidated in a single view under BI Inbox, be it Alerts, or documents sent by others or schedule instances targeted to reach BI Inbox all of these will available to you in simplified view under BI Inbox. You can search, you can view only Alerts or Documents.
Since the introduction of Fiorified BI Launchpad, one thing that is surely missing by end user community along with the authoring of content is, creation and scheduling of Publication object. Wait is no more, now you can create Publication and schedule it. With all new enhanced user experience for both Scheduling and Publication in BI 4.3.
And all options of Publication creation workflow are grouped in Three different options collections as drop down menus. You do not need to scroll down to locate any option, you can jump to any options of any of these menus from the current options page.
Coming to these three menus, out of which “General” and “Summary” menus comes with static options list, where “Report Features” menu will appear once after choosing the source document based on the type of the document with the relevant options list specific to source document type.
Once you select and fill all required options with relevant values you can either click “Save” and continue editing publication options or click on “Save and Close” to save the settings and close the publication object. And another option is simply “Close” publication object if you already saved the changes.
Similar will be the interface while Scheduling objects including publication, which is explained below under “Scheduling Enhancements” heading.
You can refer the following Note for the detailed list of enhancements in the Publication workflow: “2748669 – Is it possible to create publication in Fiorified BI Launchpad?”
Users of BI Launchpad will now surely be delighted as you can now manage your Instances all at one place similar to the interface what Administrators have in Central Management Console i.e. Instance Manager.
Instances page in BI Launchpad will allow you to filter and/or search with different criteria:
Filter by date, you can get the list of instances got created within a date range
Filter by Instance Status, i.e. either Success, Failed or Partial Success, you can select multiple values.
Filter by Instance Object Type, i.e Web Intelligence, Crystal Reports, Publication etc…
Filter by Instance Object Title
You can manage the multiple Instances at once by selecting the desired instances all at once, you can Run Now or Delete them at once.
These days, IT trend is to give more power to end user, end user are expecting more control in their hands, gone are those days where for even simple things which are not straight away related to administration and security as well need to be requested to Administrator. In the same thought process hearing the customer feedback keeping in mind both needs for improvising experience and at the same time empowering end user up to the extent possible, following scheduling enhancements were introduced in BI Launchpad.
Simplified User Experience
As mentioned above in the “Publication” heading, scheduling options are grouped into two sections, one is “General” and the other one is “Report Features”, under General menu common scheduling options are listed where Report Features section will list the options specific to content type being scheduled.
Based on the customer feedback usability related enhancement was delivered for the “Select Destinations” pop up window, will now bring up the available destinations expanded automatically so that the users can easily identify and quickly pick up the required destinations.
As mentioned above Scheduling enhancements were not only limited to user experience but also enabling options for end users to give more control to them, couple of options were introduced in this regard, one of that is “Retry Options” this functionality was earlier available only in Central Management Console for Administrators, now end users also configure these options for their schedules in BI Launchpad.
In the same lines, the other options enabled for the end user are allowing them to configure “Notifications for Schedule Status“, you can enable the notifications for Schedule status when the status is Success or Failed. You can configure the email settings or even choose job server settings for the same.
Those are mostly the list of enhancements with respect to User Experience, now let’s move on to see what the enhancements are delivered with respect to Enterprise Readiness…
Multiple destinations for Scheduling
In continuation to the above-mentioned enhanced user experience in scheduling there are couple of enhancements delivered with respect to Enterprise Readiness.
Now in BI 4.3 you do not need to create separate schedules to target it to different destinations, as it was the case in earlier versions, for the Scheduling scenario will allow only one destination a particular schedule, if the same content need to send to other destination, then you end creating separate schedule for that, thus increasing the number of schedule and increasing the load on the system, and also burden for Administrators managing the large volume of schedules for larger user(s) or user group(es).
With BI 4.3 you can select multiple destinations while scheduling, system will take care of sending it to the selected destinations.
In this regard, there the need arises for new Status type, that is when in case out of multiple destinations selected, what if delivery to a particular destination only fails and for other destinations it successfully delivered, in this case we cannot say this as a Success or Failed as some part of the task is success and the other is not, hence to represent this situation, new status called “Partial Success” has been introduced for Scheduling scenarios.
Same functionality of “Multiple Destinations while Scheduling” and “Partial Success” status will be available for Scheduling scenarios from Central Management Console as well.
Watch the following SAP Analytics Channel Video “What’s New In SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 – Schedule BI Reports To Multiple Destinations“.
New Recurrent Pattern – Business Hours
The other cool feature in scheduling is new Recurrence type “Business Hours“. In earlier versions it is only possible to select the recurrence pattern as either “particular days of the week” or “particular hours of the day”, but there is no provision to certain period of the day on each week day selected, the same is possible with the introduction of this new pattern type “Business Hours”.
This will be very handy for example where the users need to get the latest data every hour during the business hours on weekdays. Without this option, sender must schedule each one for every hour during the desired days… with this new enhancement, now with one schedule definition same need can be fulfilled in place of 8 or 9 schedules.
Like the above-mentioned enhancement this new recurrence option as well will be available to both Administrators and Users via CMC and BI Launchpad.
– Now you can create new BI Workspace in BI Launchpad
BI Workspace allows you to organize and display different BI platform content, such as Web Intelligence documents, Crystal Reports, Lumira Documents, Modules, Hyperlinks and other agnostic content like Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word, Excel etc. BI Workspace allows you to view, analyze and manage complex data effectively with high visibility of your organization in one view.
In BI 4.3 the enhancements with respect to BI Workspace are as follows:
- Opendoc link of BI Workspace object launches it in Fiorified BI Launchpad
- You can also view and edit the BI Workspaces created in previous versions BI 4.2 or BI 4.1
- Enriched Text Module through which you can have Rich formatted text including hyperlinks thus avoids the need for Web page module hence it is unsupported in BI 4.3
- Content Linking is enhanced to allow the dynamic communication between Web Intelligence documents and Crystal Reports Modules not just limited to same tab of BI Workspace, but also to sub tab as well.
For more details about the BI Workspace enhancements and functional improvements and also to know about which components or modules are not supported in BI 4.3, refer BI Workspaces User Guide.
And refer the SAP Analytics Channel video “What’s New In SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 – What’s New in the Fiorified BI Launch Pad“.
STS to multiple SAP entitlement systems (same system, different clients)
This enhancement is related to the following scenario:
- 2 SAP Entitlement Systems with same BW SystemID but different ClientIDs
- An enterprise user with alias assigned from these 2 SAP Entitlement Systems
- 2 OLAP connections with same BW Systems ID but different ClientIDs (same as SAP Entitlement Systems), both in SSO mode with BOE STS (Security Token Service)
- With this enterprise user, only one of OLAP connection works.
- Note: This was a limitation earlier.
Note: Refer note “2417365 – STS doesn’t work when SSO to one SAP system has multi clients” to know more about the above mentioned scenario.
With BI 4.3 related functionality is enhanced to handle the above mentioned situation, and now the user with multiple SAP alias where these alias are of different SAP entitlement systems having same SystemID but different ClientIDs, SSO via STS for those OLAP connections with same system id but different client id will work seamlessly without any error, for all connections.
As depicted in the above picture, similarly there will be two OLAP connections to that ERP system with same SystemID and but ClientID as 800 and 900 respectively and both are SSO enabled via STS. Earlier SSO for only one connection, which is related to the entitlement system first in the list only used to work, but now with the required functional enhancement this situation is handled and now with BI 4.3 SSO with STS for those two connections works perfectly fine.
- This enhancement address the Influence site (Idea space) entry 135145 – BOE SSO to embedded BW in S/4HANA.
- This enhancement was delivered even to the BI 4.2 line and will be available from BI 4.2 SP08 onwards.
Enhanced Credential Mapping
– Ability to store multiple Database Credentials differentiated by Data Source Reference
Credential Mapping functionality exists in BI platform from long back and is very useful in scenarios where you want an alternative to the SSO2DB while getting the Data from your Reporting Data Resources.
As BI platform allows you to store your Database Credentials pertaining to the BI User in the corresponding User Properties, thus by giving ability to use these credentials stored in User properties in your reporting DB connections for both Relational as well as OLAP.
Using Credential Mapping functionality, you can avoid SSO2DB i.e. Kerberos SSO as this will work during the Scheduling when the scheduling configured to run in future or even in case of recurring schedules. As SSO impersonation will not be possible when the user session is not available, for this scenarios Credential Mapping is the alternative as the DB Credentials are safely saved under corresponding User properties of BI User account, hence these saved credentials can be used and the schedules configured for future will work seamlessly.
That was existing functionality in earlier versions of BI, and very useful and handy in the scenarios mentioned above, but there raised certain limitations in this existing functionality with the increasing need of infrastructure and technological trends in IT, Analytics/Business Intelligence.
The two main problems with the existing functionality of Credential Mapping are as follows:
- There is no provision to save multiple sets of Database Credentials
- As you know these days the Data is available in multiple sources and the BI requirements are increasing thus the need for accessing data from different sources became de facto standard for any BI developer or BI user building or querying the BI data.
- And most of the times, the credentials for those different data sources will be different, at least in case of Password, due to different password criteria restrictions with different DB vendors.
- There is no provision for BI User to save these DB Credentials by themselves into their user properties without depending on BI Administrator.
- As with the above-mentioned implementation only BI Administrators having accessing to CMC and with rights to modify User properties only can save or edit the Database Credentials, this is also blocking in enterprises concerning the personal data privacy.
So, to address these concerns we enhanced Credential Mapping functionality in BI 4.3, however with this Enhanced Credential Mapping in BI 4.3 only the first limitation is addressed.
And the second limitation related to enabling BI User to save DB Credentials will be addressed in the Future releases.
That means with the Enhanced mode of Credential Mapping now you can store multiple sets of Database Credentials using a newly introduced concept named “Data Source Reference“.
What is Data Source Reference?
A data source reference acts a variable that an administrator creates in the BI platform to save unique set of database credentials for each user.
How Enhanced Credential Mapping works?
An administrator creates a data source reference in the BI platform. This data source reference is then used in the user properties where the administrator defines one set of the database credentials against it. This data source reference is then used as part of Credential Mapping, which is a mode of authentication available in the Connections. An administrator gets an option to select the data source reference of their choice when Credential Mapping is selected as the mode of authentication. In a similar way, an administrator can create multiple data source references if they’ve multiple databases connecting to the BI platform and define unique credentials for each user.
This Enhanced Credential Mapping mode is supported by all BI Clients which are previously supporting the Credential Mapping functionality, i.e. Web Intelligence, Crystal Reports, Crystal Reports for Enterprise and Analysis OLAP.
Note: This Enhanced Credential Mapping will address partly the request captured in the following Influence (Ideaspace) entry “100574 – DBuser/DBpass exposed to the InfoView user interface for SSO to the DB”. As mentioned above the other part of the request related to enable User to save DB Credentials will be addressed in Future release.
For more details refer Business Intelligence Platform Administrator Guide.
And also the following SAP Analytics Channel video What’s New In SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 – Use Enhanced Credential Mapping.
And a blog with more detailed scenarios explaining about the Enhanced Credential Mapping will be coming soon.
For any Enterprise to function according to the adapted standards, Audit is one important aspect which helps in achieving that goal. BI Administrators managing BI Landscapes in any organization Auditing capabilities of BI platform is one important functionality which they rely on for certain challenges, which they encounter in their daily routine.
To support BI Administrators with more granular details, which will help them in finding the root cause of the certain issues reported from their BI users, following enhancements were incorporated into Auditing Functionality in BI 4.3:
- Capturing Authentication Type
- This will be useful when a User having multiple alias for example, aliases with SAP and Windows AD, and facing login failures sometimes and not clearly reported the details.
- In this situation BI Administrator can quickly investigate the Auditing and finds that whenever that user uses SAP alias for logging in login failure happens, but with Windows AD alias login succeeds always.
- This is because User’s SAP account is deactivated whereas Windows AD account active.
- Number of sessions consumed by a Named User
- With the introduction of maximum of 10 sessions for a given Named User at any point of time, User will not have any clue when they face a login failure and simply reports the same.
- This limit is Introduced in BI 4.1 SP10 and BI 4.2 SP04 releases
- As the Named Users are used to the habit of unlimited sessions hence, they are not bothered earlier how many sessions are opened.
- In this situation Administrators can simply query Auditing DB to find the number of sessions consumed already by that Named User and inform the User accordingly if it is already reached 10.
- As with this enhancement, during Login and Logout number sessions currently consumed by that Named User will be captured.
- Number of sessions consumed by a Named User at Tenant Level
- To track the Tenant Level limitations and help the Named User about the same.
- Number of sessions consumed by a Concurrent User at Landscape or Tenant Level
- As Concurrent Session based licensing will first come first serve basis until the total number of CSBL licenses get exhausted, and there can be chance that multiple sessions are blocked a single Concurrent User itself, thus blocking the other concurrent users.
- Same can be found out by querying the Auditing DB and find who that user and inform to release unwanted sessions.
- Capturing User details when a user switch OFF Auditing
- There are situations, where Administration will be delegated to multiple users and there can be chance that multiple Administrator users can access to the Auditing Application and if some user from that group accidentally switches OFF Auditing and did not notice that, then it is very difficult or not possible to find out which user has did it.
- With this enhancement, now Administrator can find which user of the delegated Admin group did that and can inform them to be cautious from next time onwards.
Alert when Auditing is Switched OFF
Apart from capturing the user details when a user switches off auditing in the Auditing DB, now you can configure the system to generate an Alert Email to the Administrator Group regarding the same.
To achieve the same a new CMS Metric has been introduced with name “Auditing Level” to represent the status of Auditing.
|Auditing Status||Auditing Level|
Using this Metric, you can configure Email Alert Notification through Monitoring functionality of BI platform or if you have Sol. Man. integration done for your Landscape, you can even use the same for getting the Email Alert Notification.
Support for HANA Workload Classes Implementation
HANA Workload Classes gives great flexibility and good control over the workload to HANA Administrators, as you know we can classify workloads based on user and application context information and apply configured resource limitations (related to statement memory or thread limits) or a priority value. Workload classes allow SAP HANA to influence dynamic resource consumption on the session or statement level.
This functionality of HANA Workload Classes was implemented previously for the connections made to HANA DB for the Reporting Data queries through all the BI Client applications such Web Intelligence and Crystal Reports, now with BI 4.3 same is extended to BI Platform DB connections as well for the DB connections getting established for the CMS DB, Audit DB, Commentary DB and Monitoring DB.
Following is the table listing the Workload Class id of the BI platform DBs:
|BI Platform DB||Application Id (Workload Class)|
|Central Management Server (Repository)||SAP_BIPlatform-CMS_HRA|
Automation Framework (aka BI Admin Console) is now “Workflow Assistant”
Your favorite BI Automation tool “Automation Framework” is now “Workflow Assistant” and is integrated into Central Management Console, thus by simplifying the landscape, so that you do not need to manage separate urls for this application and also simplified the architecture to make backend management and configuration easy.
Following are the important points to note in this regard:
- Automation Framework is renamed as Workflow Assistant
- Landscape Management is now the Systems tab in Workflow Assistant
- The service ActiveMQ is removed, Services Automation Framework and Agent are merged into one service called Workflow Assistant
- Separate url http://<server:port>/BOE/BIAdminConsole will no longer exists and you can access the application “Workflow Assistant” inside Central Management Console under Manage section.
- Usability enhancements
- All the above changes will reflect in the BI deployments which are freshly built or updated to BI 4.3.
- Help integrated in the Business Intelligence Platform Administrator Guide, section Workflow Assistant
All your existing automation workflows will continue to work as earlier after the update to BI 4.3 for more details you can refer the following detailed blog “SAP BI 4.3: What’s New – Automation Framework renamed as Workflow Assistant” by Thomas Jentsch.
Introducing BI Admin Studio
As mentioned in the beginning of the blog, BI 4.3 is Ux improvements were not just limited to User workflows, but also to Admin workflows. Along with enhancements mentioned above in the Enterprise Readiness category, this feature and the following couple of features are also aimed at Administrator perspective.
Let’s what is BI Admin Studio…, BI Admin Studio is a new application with Fiorified interface and is consolidation of applications namely, “BI Administrators’ Cockpit“, “Visual Difference” and “Monitoring“.
And having the capability to control the viewing based on the delegated Administrator profile using the following granular rights.
JDBC support for Monitoring DB
Monitoring DB’s default DB Derby is no more supported instead introduced the support for JDBC. The configuration will be like that of BI Commentary DB.
– supported Software Configuration Management systems
ClearCase support is stopped and introduced the support of Git with both Local and Http modes.
Promotion Management (aka Lifecycle Management) Enhancements
Following are some important and useful enhancements delivered in this area
- Rollback support for LCM CLI (Command-line Interface)
- Exclude source specific content in Promotion Management Wizard
- Performance Improvements in Promotion Management Wizard
Let’s move to Hybrid support related enhancements delivered… SAP’s Cloud first strategy enables you to move faster towards Hybrid solutions and manage assets between On Premise and Cloud based environments.
Managing Hybrid BI Users
To manage Hybrid BI Users you need the following four major components:
- SAP Cloud Identity Provisioning service
- SAP Cloud Connector
- SCIM (System for Cross-domain Identity Management) based API‘s – http://<server:port>/biprws/sbop/internal/v2/scim (Supports even https as well)
- OAuth Client
For the full details on how to configure these components and manage Hybrid BI Users refer the “Business Intelligence Platform Administrator Guide“.
And also watch the following SAP Analytics Channel Video “What’s New In SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 – Manage Hybrid BI Users“.
Publishing content to SAP Analytics Hub
– Integration with SAP Analytics Cloud
- Configure your Analytics Hub tenant to automate asset creation.
- Configure your SAP Analytics Cloud tenant to launch as an application from the BI Launchpad.
- Supports SAML configuration
- User rights to enable or disable the application.
- Only the Metadata of the BI Content will be transferred Analytics Hub
- Open Document link to the published content will be configured where the content still resides in On Premise.
First you need configure OAuth Client in your Analytics Cloud tenant…
And then configure the OAuth client on the BI platform side to build the integration between SAC and BI platform.
Finally you assign the BI content which need to be listed in Analytics Hub to “Hub Asset” Category.
And also watch the following SAP Analytics channel video “What’s New In SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 – Manage Your BI Assets With SAP Analytics Hub“.
So, Excited to see these enhancements in action…
Let’s see how to move to BI 4.3…
Good news is that, despite these huge list of enhancements, technology improvements and hybrid integrations, like the previous minor releases (BI 4.1 / BI 4.2), BI 4.3 as well an update to the existing BI 4.x deployments.
So, BI 4.3 is recommended to be performed as in-place update on top of existing BI 4.x deployments, no need to perform a “parallel installation on fresh hardware and migrate the content”.
If your BI deployment is older versions, earlier than BI 4.x, then you need to refer the following diagram for choosing the right Upgrade Path:
Please refer the Upgrade Paths section in “Business Intelligence Platform Administrator Guide” for more details.
Before moving on to the topics related to “what you need to know while you are planning for BI 4.3 update”, you need to be aware of following changes and enhancements in the Installation and Deployment area.
New License Key requirement
BI 4.3 requires “New License Key” like the same way as we did during BI 4.2 installation/update. Like during the BI 4.2, this New License Key requirement for BI 4.3 as well does not require new license or contract to request the new BI4.3 License Key.
In addition to the packages that were affected with this New License Key requirement during the BI 4.2, with the BI 4.3 BI suite release “Crystal Reports 2020 (Classic Crystal Reports client)” requires new License Key.
- For the Fresh Installation scenario, you need to enter the new license key in the License key screen.
- For the Update Installation you need to enter the new License key in CMC by removing the old license key(s) after completing the Update Installation.
- In case of updating Clustered Landscapes where multiple Intelligence nodes (nodes with CMS server) and you are planning to perform parallel patching,
- then it is required to update the Primary Node first (and need to update, at least one WebTier machine if your Primary Node does not include WebTier or need to redeploy with latest Web applications content if deployed on non-bundled Application Server)
- and update the License key by login to CMC by removing the old license key
- and then continue with the next steps of Parallel patching i.e. updating secondary nodes, processing tier and web tier.
- Refer the following Note to know how to request the new license key “2251998 – Generate a license key – ONE Support Launchpad”.
- Refer the following Note to know how to request the new license key for Crystal Reports 2020 “2906802“.
Disk Space Check
Fail early is the key aspect to be considered for any process to be successful without or with negligible/minimum loss or resources. In the same thought process and address the customer pain point introduced the new prerequisite check named “Disk Space Check“.
This is to avoid the installation failures at the far end of the installation due to not enough hard disk space or got exhausted in the due course of installation process.
And, this is to avoid the situation where after completing the installation the hard disk space left in the system is not enough for proper functioning of the BI Processes. Thus, by avoiding the unexpected errors or servers/service failures during the first hour experience.
So to address the above two situations, introduced Disk Space check, which ensures the required disk space required for successful Installation be it Fresh or Update, and this check ensure the enough breathing space after the Installation completes so as to ensure the proper functioning of BI Servers, Services and Applications.
To understand the impact and benefit of this enhancement, let us compare the BI 4.2.x update installer with BI 4.3 update installer on a same machine to see the impact and benefit of this new prerequisite check:
This functional enhancement is implemented for all the BI Suite of packages in all supported OS Platforms.
For the exact disk space requirements for both BI Server as well as Client packages, refer the Appendix section in BI 4.3 PAM.
As you can see in the scenario, BI 4.3 Update is blocked due to not enough disk space, and there can be chance that the disk space can be freed up in case if you have performed multiple updates to your BI Packages and if those packages have intermediate obsolete versions which can be safely removed thus, by getting the required disk space, i believe is something gives the great relief for the IT/BI Administrators managing the BI Landscapes.
But the catch here is, to remove those obsolete intermediate versions of BI packages is not easy and very time consuming if you follow the traditional uninstallation process (which need to be performed in Last in First Out order).
What if, if you have a solution, with which you can perform the removal of obsolete intermediate versions of all BI packages in a machine all at once that to in a comparatively very less time, I believe this is something BI/IT Administrators would love to use…
Introducing SAP BUsinessObjects ONE Uninstaller, is an interactive lightweight command line tool, written in java as an executable jar. Using this tool, you can optimize the footprint of BI packages installed in your BI system. This tool enables the removal of redundant/obsolete intermediate versions like Service Pack(s) and Patch(es) without following traditional uninstallation process.
This tool can be executed in machines with the earlier versions of BI 4.x as well, BI System need not be on BI 4.3 level. Supported on all platforms on which BI Suite of packages are supported.
For complete details along with some use cases, refer my blog “All you need to know about the SAP BusinessObjects ONE Uninstaller“.
To download this tool, refer the following note “2846512 – What is the SAP BusinessObjects ONE Uninstaller and How to Use it?”.
Refer the SAP Analytics Channel Video “What’s New In SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 – How to free up disk space using ONE Uninstaller“.
Silent Installation Enhancements
Does your organization have large number of end users having any of SAP BusinessObjects BI suite of client packages in their personal systems? Wondering how to simplify IT tickets to modify, repair or remove these package(s) or patch(es)…
Do you manage multiple BI platform landscapes spanned on multiple nodes each running different BI System in a clustered environment and looking to modify or repair BI platform packages and its add-ons remotely?
Gone are those days where BI / IT Administrators managing the BI Client packages in the end user systems by attending personally at their desk to address modify or repair requests of BI packages.
From SAP BusinessObjects BI platform 4.3 release onwards, administrators can remotely address such requests with the introduction of Silent Installation Enhancements.
For complete details along with some use cases, refer my blog “Silent Installation Enhancements introduced in BI 4.3“.
Refer the SAP Analytics Channel Video “What’s New In SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 – Use the Silent Mode To Manage Installations Remotely“.
Are you ready for BI 4.3 update…
Now is the time you need to aware of certain points… and plan accordingly.
Deprecated Products and Features
A few products and features have been deprecated in BI 4.3 release. Applications such as SAP BusinessObjects Explorer and SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards are deprecated in BI 4.3.
An Install screen similar to what is shown below will be prompted to the user performing BI 4.3 update for all those BI packages which are impacted with the deprecation activities, to collect the consent to review the impact of these deprecations and agree to perform prescribed steps in the following note “2801797 – What all products and features have been deprecated in SAP BusinessObjects BI platform 4.3?”.
And similarly, at the end of the installation in the post install screen as well the message about the same will be displayed.
So, Let’s see the list of Products and Features got deprecated in BI 4.3:
- SAP BusinessObjects Explorer – due to Adobe Flash EOL by end of 2020, refer 2679783.
- SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards– due to Adobe Flash EOL by end of 2020, refer 2579982.
- SAP BusinessObjects Widgets – due to Adobe Flash EOL by end of 2020, refer 2729987.
- Query as a Web Service Designer – authoring of DaaWS/QaaWS will no longer be provided through client application, but by public REST APIs
- Upgrade Management Tool – As XI 3.1 EOL already over.
- Report Conversion Tool – As Desktop Intelligence is EOL happened long back
- Classic BI Launchpad – replaced by Fiorified BI Launchpad
- DeskI Compatibility Pack – Desktop Intelligence is EOL happened long back
- Discussion – replaced by BI commentary.
- SAP Streamwork – replaced by SAP Jam, however with the BI 4.3 release Fiori Launchpad does not implemented the SAP Jam collaboration interface.
- WebI Java Report Panel & DHTML viewer – replaced with Fiorified designer
- Crystal Reports Java Applet Viewer – Java applet is no longer supported since Java 9. And Starting 20190101, Oracle no longer provide free updates to Oracle JVM 8.
- Crystal Presentation Design – As Dashboards are no longer supported.
- PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel & Oracle EBS authentication (maintenance only) – no new versions will be certified. refer note 2776738.
Explorer and Dashboards related servers will be deleted automatically with the BI 4.3 Update on your existing BI Landscapes.
Script to delete deprecated content from BI platform repository after the update of BI 4.3.x
Once the BI 4.3 update happens on an existing BI Landscape, following content types will be treated as Agnostic documents and will be available for your future reference. As recommended once you re-built the explorations and dashboards in SAP Analytics Cloud, and you are confirmed that these content types in BI 4.3 repository is no longer needed, then you can execute the script available in 2914654, to delete all the deprecated content types. Please review the note thoroughly before execution.
|Document Type (Display Name)||SI_KIND|
|DeskI document (Desktop Intelligence)||FullClient|
|Dashboards Object (BI 4.x format)||XL.XcelsiusEnterprise|
|Xcelsius Object (XI 3.x format)||Xcelsius|
|Information Space (Explorer)||DataDiscovery|
|Exploration View Set (Explorer)||DataDiscoveryAlbum|
As all the Products and Features mentioned in the above list of Deprecated Products and Features will be removed automatically with Update Installation of BI platform and/or BI platform Client packages, and will not be installed through the Fresh Installation. However same is not the case with Explorer binaries, as these are not part of either BI platform or Client packages, but as a separate package and that package is not getting shipped for the BI 4.3 release.
Hence these Explorer binaries will be left behind in the installation directory, to address this situation and make the removal of Explorer footprint under installation directory, a tool named “ExplorerRemover” has been delivered to make the removal of binaries seamless and with minimal effort. Refer the note “2930751 – What is ExplorerRemover Tool and how to use it?”, for more details.
BI Servers and BI Clients are now 64 bits
Along with deprecated products and features information, this is something important and useful enhancement, which is much needed to catch up with technological advancements as following:
- Major vendors like Microsoft are moving to 64bit, e.g. Unlike Office 2016, Office 2019 will install 64bit by default
- DB Vendors started try to stop shipping 32bit connectors, E.g. Teradata, SAP IQ, HP Vertica
- Some TP does not provide 32bit version, e.g. NWRFC doesn’t support 32bit AIX and Solaris
- More and more customers are now on 64bit Windows; (Because 32bit Windows can only support maximum 4GB RAM)
As we know, that most of the servers and services are already 64bit, but now with the BI 4.3 most of other servers and client applications as well made 64 bits:
- Crystal Reports 2020 server
- CRSE (RAS standalone)
- Crystal Reports 2020 designer + BVM
- Crystal Reports 4 Enterprise and Crystal Report Viewer
- Web Intelligence Rich Client
- Information Design Tool
- Universe Design Tool
In this process “Connection Server 32 bit” is not more shipped with BI packages as Connection Server 64 bit already exists.
But certain client packages like “Live Office“, “User Management Client” and “BusinessObjects Runtime 32 bit” will continue to be 32 bit and can be installed and updated on 32-bit Operating System.
- As a result, Setup framework used across the BI suite of packages will still be 32 bit so as to support the above mentioned packages installation.
Following client packages will no longer be installed on 32 bit operating systems and also cannot be updated to BI 4.3 level, as both Fresh and Update Installers of these packages will now have the 64bit Operating System prerequisite check and will be blocked if launched on 32 bit OS platforms:
- SAP BusinessObjects BI platform Client Tools
- SAP Crystal Server Client Tools 2020
- SAP Crystal Reports 2020
- SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise
- SAP Crystal Reports 2020 viewer
- SAP Crystal Reports Server 2020, OEM Edition
- SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence
Please refer the BI platform 4.3 Architecture diagram, updated according to the above mentioned changes.
So, getting ready to download your favorite BI packages…, by the way I believe, you’re already aware of the point that, starting BI 4.2 SP06 Patch 1 release onwards BI package installers are ONE Installers, that means same package can be used for both Fresh as well as Update Installation scenarios. Please refer note 2671301 for more details.
Refer SAP BusinessObjects BI Suite 4.3 What’s New here.
Refer SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4.3 Release Restrictions here.
If you’re using SAP Lumira Server for BI Platform 2.2 or 2.3, please refer to SAP Note 2903302 (Lumira Server 2.X support on SAP BI Platform 4.3).
Refer SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform, help portal for whole list of help guides.
Planning to move your SAP BusinessObjects Landscape to Cloud, refer the following blog by Jonathan Freeland – Moving SAP BusinessObjects to the Cloud with SAP BusinessObjects Private Cloud Edition and SAP Analytics Cloud.
Looking for further enhancements in BI Platform, delivered in BI 4.3 SP01, following blog provides the summary of same.
Happy to announce the release of next Support Pack in BI 4.3 series, excited to see What’s New in the same, refer SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 SP02 : What’s New.
Happy Installing, Updating and Configuring.