This blog covers the new features and enhancements in the SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Digital Boardroom Q4 2019 Release.
Please note that the Analytics Cloud Help documentation is updated at the same time as the upgrade to this release, so the links here may not yet reflect what is described below until after the upgrade is complete.
Make sure to Upgrade your SAP Analytics Cloud agent to the latest agent version 1.0.248 to take advantage of all the data acquisition types.
These are the data acquisition minimum requirements:
- Version 1.0.99 for SAP ERP / SQL databases
- Version 1.0.91 for SAP Universe (UNX)
- Version 1.0.233 for SAP Business Warehouse (BW)
- Version 1.0.248 for File Server
- Version 1.0.75 for all other data source types
For more information, see the SAP Analytics Cloud System Requirements and Technical Prerequisites.
SAP Analytics Cloud fully supports Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome for all activities and areas of SAP Analytics Cloud including viewing, authoring and administration.
Highlighted Feature Updates:
The features listed in the highlights section are the top feature enhancements in Q4 2019
- Administration & Infrastructure:
- Analytics Designer:
- Data Integration:
- Data Visualizations:
- Digital Boardroom:
- Smart Assist:
- Smart Predict:
Additional Feature Updates:
- Administration & Infrastructure:
- Analytics Designer:
- Tab strip widget
- Lazy loading for invisible chart widgets
- Smart Insights for table widgets
- Add comments for widgets or cells that are planning enabled
- Force line breaks in text widget
- Adjust widget size and position within the Canvas page
- Iterate over result sets based on input data
- Export application to PDF
- Align widgets
- Data Analyzer enhancements
- Data Integration:
- Data Visualization:
- Prevent viewers from removing story & widget filters
- Change axis line for Radar charts
- Multi-dimensional sorting on charts
- Prevent viewers from removing chart & geo filters
- Unrestricted drilling
- Show or hide granular chart detail options
- Increase dimension data label spacing for charts with only negative values
- Save & Leave the Story
- Restore widget or confirm deletion
- More readable charts when no data is available
- Display United Kingdom as a drillable hierarchy for geo maps
- Reduce data label collisions for charts containing lines
- Intelligent Enterprise:
- Smart Assist:
Highlighted Feature Updates:
Administration & Infrastructure
Choose to send an email when sharing files with users
With this update, you’ll have the ability to choose whether or not to send an email when sharing a File, Folder or Story with a user. This way, you can keep your colleagues up to date with what’s being shared, or you can save yourself the inevitable pain from them ignoring your email and just not bother. Either way, the power is in your hands! Changing users’ access rights to the shared file will not trigger new email notifications.
Assign copy privileges for files and folders
Administrators can now assign copy privileges for files and folders in order to prevent users from cloning information and creating unauthorized derivative work. Disabling the copy rights will remove the “Save As…” button, as well as the copy feature for files and folders. Just make sure no one tells Darth Vader that he can disable clones now…
Application designers can now define a timer to delay the trigger of a script call. This technical component has several related scripting APIs including start(delayInSecons), stop(), isRunning() and onTimeout(). This should help by making things a lot easier and more automated!
Bookmarks for Analytics Designer
You’ll now be able to capture and save the current state of your Applications using bookmarks. These are going to be available as a technical component in design time and the designer can configure what should be captured in the bookmark. These bookmarks can also be shared, edited, or deleted via the file repository and within the application using the scripting APIs.
SAP Analytics Cloud custom widget SDK
You can now create your own custom widgets with the SAP Analytics Cloud Custom Widget SDK, which will allow you to extend the predefined set of widgets provided by the Analytics Designer! For more information please visit the help section.
Export to SAP IBP
You can now export data to SAP Integrated Business Planning (IBP) directly via an IBP connection, as well as schedule export jobs regularly based on your business needs. This is part of our continued goal to realize our Collaborative Enterprise Planning vision.
Aggregation support in stories for Live Universe connections
Aggregations are now supported with Live Data Connections to Universes. These include:
- Count excluding Null
- Count excluding 0 and Null
Some might even say that these new aggregations are out of this world!
SAP Analytics Cloud will offer you recommended comparisons right in the builder panel as you create your charts. The recommendations are based on version or time and will adjust based on the chart context. In many cases there is a lot of value to be gained from comparing versions or time periods, however, not everyone knows how to create a valuable comparison.
Linked Analysis for drill levels
Who doesn’t love Linked Analysis? With this update, you’ll be able to change the hierarchy of multiple charts through Linked Analysis, as long as the charts are on the same hierarchy and level as the driver chart. Filter away!
Dynamic time filter improvements for widgets
The new dynamic time filter UI is now directly available in your builder panel. Moreover, dynamic time offset within widget filters is also available. These offsets are the first steps towards dynamic time travel, which will be coming out in Q2 of 2020; contact your account rep and see how to advance your business forward by 50 years!
Recommended comparisons based on dynamic time
When the current period is selected in charts users will have the ability to create Recommended Comparisons based on dynamic time filters. The option to create Comparisons based on version and time will still be available, giving you more flexibility to quickly analyze your data exactly the way you want!
Reset & refresh topics from the action bar
Boardroom designers will have the option to enable the refresh and reset of topics through the action bar for Boardroom Presentations. This will allow you to quickly update your data and make sure the visualizations are as relevant as possible, as well as reset any filters you’ve created, right from the touch of a button!
Enable translations of model and public dimension metadata
You can now enable translations of model and public dimension metadata, in addition to stories. The user has the option to mark a model or a dimension as ready for translation and all the relevant texts in the metadata will then be translated by a common translation service. Dit sal beslis baie mense help! (Good thing you can translate Afrikaans directly in SAP Analytics Cloud)
Table formatting enhancements
The new default template for tables will now have a white background with distinctive formatting for the header cells, particularly when you have differing versions in your table. This will make it much easier to compare actuals with budgeted and forecasted values, sort of how the different lightsaber colours let you quickly distinguish between Jedi and Sith. Although when it comes to finances, you unfortunately can’t use the force to make the red go away…
Right click for tables
The context menu options for tables are now extended by right clicking on a cell. These options include: copy, undo or redo data entry, and open history panel, among others. This should make your workflow feel more familiar and intuitive, making sure you can stay focused on the important tasks!
When you’re working on a story that’s part of a calendar task, you no longer need to switch back and forth between the Calendar and the story. A new status bar has been added to the top of the task-connected story which shows calendar information when hovered over, along with a submit, reject, and more details button.
Smart Insights enhancements
This update brings a new UI to the panel which can display up to two types of insights simultaneously along with a brand-new “How has it changed?” insight, showing how the data point varies over time. We’ve also introduced new navigation with an expand or collapse option as well as a back button at the bottom of the panel. So, if you ask, “How has it changed?” with “it” being Smart Insights, the correct answer would be “a lot”!
Additional Feature Updates:
Administration & Infrastructure
In the “My Content” page under “Content Network”, you can now use Security Settings to determine whether to list or block content shared by specified tenants. When blocking, only the specifically listen tenants will be shown, whereas when allowed, all tenants except for those listed will be shown.
Export and import translated content along with the story
When importing and exporting a story from one tenant to another, the translated content will be transferred along with the story. This will make it much faster and easier to work with different teams from around the world, no matter what languages you speak! Ѐ fantastico!
Tab strip widget
This is a new widget addition for multiple tabs in your Analytical Application. This can be used to move, show, or hide grouped widgets as one, letting you keep tabs on how your users will interact with the application.
Lazy loading for invisible chart widgets
Invisible charts will no longer be initialized at application runtime, instead being initialized once the chart is changed to visible. This will allow for faster loading times and better memory usage across the Analytical Application, and the scripting and APIs will still work even if the chart is not rendered.
Smart Insights for table widgets
When creating an analytical application, you can choose to enable Smart Insights when right clicking on a table cell. To do this, simply check the “Enable Explorer Mode” box at design time.
Add comments for widgets or cells that are planning enabled
With widgets and cells that are planning enabled, you can now enable or disable a user’s ability to leave comments. Several new API calls have been added as well, including the ability to getAllComments() or just one comment, and to removeAllComments() or just one comment. This will open many more collaborative opportunities within Analytics Designer!
Force line breaks in text widget
When using the applyText() scripting API, you’ll now be able to force line breaks using the “n” character combination. Because as Obi-Wan always says, “May the Force be with properly formatted text boxes…”
Adjust widget size and position within the Canvas page
Application designers can now set the layout of widgets as dynamic, ensuring that they adapt to different screen sizes and orientations. The position settings for widgets can include pixel-exact values, percentage values, or auto value, allowing you to customize how they are laid out. Several scripting APIs have been added as well, which can be seen below:
Iterate over result sets based on input data
The result set APIs allow designers to iterate over a table or chart dataset and retrieve a result set based on the data selection of a table or chart. If the data selection parameter is empty, it will retrieve all the values of the initial data set, alternatively, if specified, it will retrieve the designated subset of the initial dataset. More information will be available in the help section.
Export application to PDF
Applications can now be exported to PDF. Note: Only visible parts will be exported; R widgets are disabled during export; custom widgets are not supported. In order to enable PDF export, it needs to be defined as a technical component in the application. The corresponding APIs are provided.
“Great [Analytical Applications] are not born great, they grow great…”
- Don Corleone (The Godfather)
In Don’s honor, and to improve your work efficiency and design accuracy, you can now align the position of multiple widgets (such as charts, tables, images, text, etc.) when designing an analytic application. This should help ensure that your Analytical Application looks as dapper as Don while functioning as efficiently as Michael.
Data Analyzer enhancements
A host of new enhancements have arrived for Data Analyzer, extending its capabilities with a more powerful context menu, a better builder panel with navigation support, currency conversion, export to Excel and information on when the data was last updated. You might as well start singing Hakuna Matata because you’re about to have no worries for the rest of your days!*
*Only applies to days when you’ll be using Data Analyzer. Does not refer to any other worries including, but not limited to, worries caused by dog eating homework, computer deciding to update as soon as you start your online meeting, or your kid crying because you put butter on their toast after they specifically asked for butter on their toast…
Simplified authentication method for Live S/4HANA connections
For S/4HANA systems upgraded to Cloud 1908 (7.77) or OnPrem 1909 (7.54) and above, users can select “SAML Single Sign On” to create a live direct connection without having to manually add custom web content into their S/4HANA system during configuration. With all the time we saved you, you can finally read that book you’ve been putting off for three months… Spoiler alert, the main character lives happily ever after.
Share file server connections
When using the File Server, larger files will now load in the background while you work on other tasks with smaller files loading instantly. You will also be able to share connections with colleagues because as we all know, sharing is caring!
Export data to files hourly
Repeating scheduled settings for exporting to a file will now show an hourly option. If the export takes longer than an hour, SAP Analytics Cloud will wait until the next hour after the export has completed. Would you like me to repeat that?
BPC live connection enhancements
In a story created using a BPC Live Connection, the planning status of the back-end BPC query will now be synced with the status of the planning-enabled option of the table in the story. The story designer can switch on or off the planning-enabled option in the builder panel.
Import Secured File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) data sources using open connectors
You can now leverage the integration of SAP Cloud Platform (SCP) Open Connector to expose SFTP as a new import data source for users. Excel and CSV file formats are supported with up to 800K rows by 100 columns.
Characteristics as a Key figure support with BPC Live connection
Characteristics as a Key figure can now be supported in BPC Live connections, allowing users to add short comments for data being sent through this connection. I guess you could say that this is a pretty key feature for the Data Integration fans out there…
Prevent viewers from removing story & widget filters
Story designers can prevent viewers from removing story filters. The default will be set as viewers not being able to delete story filters, however they will be able to reset to the original filter value.
Change axis line for Radar charts
Axis lines in radar charts can now be modified by designers. The Axis line colour can be changed to customize the contrast between the chart, background and data points. This will be available in the Styling panel, under the Axis drop down tab.
Multi-dimensional sorting on charts
With this update, you’ll have the ability to sort charts by two or more dimensions either alphabetically or in a custom configuration with semantic meaning. These sorts can be set be both the designer and the viewer, making it easier to organize your information.
Prevent viewers from removing chart & geo filters
Story designers can now prevent viewers from deleting chart and geo filters with a new option available in the filter dialogue. Moreover, viewers may now reset the filter selection back to default if they wish.
No, SAP isn’t about to get into the oil industry, instead, we’ve released a performance enhancement where the dynamic time range applies to widget filters. It will now stay on the desired granularity even if the entire time range does not have data. So, if you have a dynamic time range for all of 2019, but data only exists until September, you’ll still be able to drill down into your existing data.
Show or hide granular chart detail options
Story designers can now choose specific elements of chart details to be displayed in their charts. Story designers can still select to show all chart details with the Show/Hide menu by selecting “All”, but designers can customize what information to display (for example only to show filter information but not model details)! Designers can also select multiple charts to show or hide chart details as a group much faster than before, so now you’ll finally have time to catch up on all those episodes of Murdoch Mysteries!
Increase dimension data label spacing for charts with only negative values
For charts with negative values exclusively, moving the right axis will expand the space next to your data labels making them easier to read. This will bring parity with positive and negative values, making the user experience more consistent across the board. Now this is what I call a positive move…
Save & Leave the Story
Story designers will now be able to quickly save and leave the story with one click when attempting to exit with unsaved changes. A dialogue box will appear that maintains the “Leave” and “Cancel” options but adds the “Save & Leave” option as well. This will help prevent accidentally losing your hard work!
Restore widget or confirm deletion
Story designers will now have the ability to restore an accidentally deleted widget. The widget can be restored from a toast that will appear on the bottom of your screen. For more information please see the help section.
More readable charts when no data is available
Administrators now have the option to choose from a preset group of specific messages within System Administration, to be displayed whenever no data is returned within a chart. The default messages will remain, unless an administrator makes a change. Moreover, story designers can now style these error messages from the styling panel to give it the look you want!
Display United Kingdom as a drillable hierarchy for geo maps
Heareth ye! heareth ye! the unit’d kingdom hast been add’d as a shapeth to the ch’ropleth lay’r combining the previous shapes of england, scotland, n’rth’rn ireland, and wales. Us’rs can still drill down into regions to showeth the four nations. Longeth liveth the queen!
Reduce data label collisions for charts containing lines
Line-based charts will display more data labels by prioritizing them based on their placement in the builder panel. You can easily see which number corresponds to which line by looking at the legend. If the topic is on the left-most side of the legend, then the matching number is the leftmost one for each data point. This will make line charts more readable and useful for quick analysis!
Display SAP BW live GrandTotal() and %GrandTotal()
For SAP BW live connections, you can now display the values for Grand Total and percentage Grand Total in tables and charts by using the provided functions. This is a Grand move towards bringing Total compatibility with SAP BW!
Improved performance in stories with SAP BW smart queries
Performance improvements are coming to stories that contain multiple charts by using SAP BW smart queries. The queries will now be combined as long as they share the same dimensions, along with a few other factors (Check here for full list).
Push default supported configurations with Microsoft Intune
Mark my Word because I’m about to make a Power(ful)Point! When you deploy the SAP Analytics Cloud App through Microsoft Intune, you can now push default supported configurations, allowing you to go deeper than the Surface. This is Excel(lent) for logging in, making it much faster to see your data when you’re away from the Office. With these Windows into your analytics on the go, you can live life on the Edge without having to worry about taking OneNote or any notes, it’s all in the palm of your hand! When it comes to SAP Analytics Cloud Mobile, the Outlook is good ?
Option to delete dimension members
With this update, you’ll now be able to quickly and easily delete all members of an existing dimension in a model. I just want to mention to remember to save for retention the dimension members that you don’t want to dismember or submit to suspension in another dimension… Please don’t mind my incomprehension!
Add new members and set read and write permissions simultaneously
When adding new members to a table, you can now set the read and write permissions right from the editing pane. This will give the planner the ability to share the new member with specific users.
Option to publish private comments
With this update, when you publish a private version and make it public, you’ll have the option to publish the cell comments associated with that private version as well. These comments will be available when the same version is used again.
Color formatting enhancements
With this update, you can now change the color of the expand/collapse icon in tables!
Set minimum node in Value Driver Tree (VDT)
When you’re using longer node titles in a Value Driver Tree, you can set a minimum node width to ensure that they stay readable. This additional UI control will be accessible both in the VDT designer and the VDT widget, and if you wish to reduce the node width later on, we’ve included a free gym membership for all nodes bundled with your license so they can hit the treadmill!
New functions in advanced formulas
This update brings a bunch of new functions for advanced formulas which are described below, however more details are available in the help section.
Day, month & year functions:
This function enables the ability to pick up the day/month/year information from a time period using the Day(), Month() and Year() functions, as well as the ability to calculate the number of days in time period using the DAYSINMONTH() or DAYSINYEAR() functions. These new time functions can be very helpful in breaking down salaries or amortizing costs over certain periods of time.
No, this function isn’t going to predict the percentage of dates you’ll have this year… It will, however, help you indicate the ratio of the start date to end date for a specific action.
This function carries forward account balances to the opening amount of the new periods, then it recalculates the account balances of the new periods based on the new opening amount. This improves on the current use case of FOREACH, bringing the response time up by 97%.
This function can be used to specify the hierarchy of one or more dimensions you will be working on throughout the entire script.
On hold status for tasks and processes
If the work on a task or process gets blocked, you’ll now be able to change the status to “On Hold”, which will then allow you to resume or discontinue the process. This allows for more accurate descriptions in the calendar, making it easier for planners to see how far along a project is, and whether any specific task might need more support.
Smart Insights on calculation data points
Now you’ll be able to use Smart Insights on data points created with calculations to see information about the calculations.
Live Connection to SAP HANA
Smart Predict, just got smarter. You can now augment your business intelligence dashboards with Smart Predict insights, created on top of your live SAP HANA data.