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Author's profile photo Jens Braun

Closing the gap with Analysis for Office 2.8 SP9

For quite some time now SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office, edition for SAP Analytics Cloud has been available to all SAP Analytics Cloud users for data driven spreadsheet analytics. And this is great because Analysis for Office is a great solution for this. However, the edition for SAP Analytics Cloud was missing one feature that most customers were asking for: access to the workbooks stored in the BW or BI repositories.

With support package 9 (released since June 2021) this gap is be closed and, even better, the workflow to access BW queries in Analysis for Office, edition for SAP Analytics Cloud, was simplified and the conversion of BEx workbooks is now also included. This blog post gives you a glance at what changed and how it helps you.

Simplified Workflow

So far SAP BW queries could only be accessed via SAP Analytics Cloud and the live connections defined there. So users had to connect to SAP Analytics Cloud, choose a live connection and only then were able to pick a query or a provider to analyze (see this blog post for more details)

With the upcoming SP9 this will change: the edition for SAP Analytics Cloud will work just like the standard Analysis version: you connect directly to BW (or BI platform) without using the live connections defined in SAP Analytics Cloud).

In order to check whether the user actually has a SAP Analytics Cloud subscription, a connection to one SAP Analytics Cloud tenant must still be configured. This connection is only used to verify the subscription and Analysis for Office can be configured to save the connection so that the check is done without any user interaction.

 

Access to BW/BI repositories

While it is great to analyze BW queries in Analysis for adhoc analysis, the most common use case are Analysis for Office workbooks with layouts, multiple sheets, … and those workbooks shall be stored in a central repository. That’s usually BW or the BI platform and with SP9 you can now access those repositories directly:

This function provides the full integration with your existing repositories or the basis for building your new repository in case you are not using Analysis for Office yet.

And one additional remark regarding repositories: Analysis power users will usually open their workbooks using the direct access to the BW/BI repository. But you should consider adding Analysis for Office workbooks to the SAP Analytics Cloud Catalog. This enables all users to find all relevant reports/stories/… in one central place. You can achieve this by creating content links in SAP Analytics Cloud pointing to the workbook in SAP BI or BW.

BEx workbook conversion

The final new functionality is the addition of the BEx workbook conversion option to the edition for SAP Analytics Cloud. If you are currently using the good old BEx analyzer and want to migrate to Analysis for office, you can do this with SAP Analytics Cloud and the included Analysis for Office.

Conclusion

With these new functionalities in SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office, edition for SAP Analytics Cloud we have closed the gap! It allows customers to move from BEx Analyzer to Analysis for Office with SAP Analytics Cloud only and no need to add the BI solution. And this is especially important due to the limitation regarding Microsoft Office versions.

And using SAP Analytics Cloud and the included Analysis for Office edition is a great approach to modernize your reports: add Analysis for Office to support spreadsheet reporting and use the option to introduce modern and visualized reports with SAP Analytics Cloud stories.

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      23 Comments
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      Author's profile photo Debjit Singha
      Debjit Singha

      Thanks Jens Braun  for sharing this update.

      Seems like the difference between Analysis for MS Office and Analytics version are disappearing!

      Author's profile photo Martijn van Foeken
      Martijn van Foeken

      Hi Jens,

      I would have rather seen that SAP would introduce the possibility to use SAP Analytics Cloud as the repository to store Analysis for Office workbooks and provide scheduling capabilities so customers can actually start to decommision there SAP BusinessObjects platforms. It's been a wish for many customers right from the start but so far it's not available.

      Kind regards,

      Martijn van Foeken | Interdobs

      Author's profile photo Michael Hamm
      Michael Hamm

      Hi Martijn,

      i fully agree. Also AfO will get only 1-2 features per year and the successor SAP Analytics Cloud Add-In is already there but lacks the features of AfO.. It's frustrating especially when users are migrating from BEX to propose the best strategy and tool.

      BR,

      Michael

      Author's profile photo Martijn van Foeken
      Martijn van Foeken

      Hi Michael,

      Perhaps we can collect some additional votes for this improvement request:

      260246 - SAP Analytics Cloud - Analysis for Office Repository

      Kind regards,

      Martijn van Foeken | Interdobs

      Author's profile photo Jens Braun
      Jens Braun
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Marijn,

      I fully agree that this must be the future and it is on the "future direction" roadmap. This enhancement for Analysis for Office is very much about enabling BW customers that store their workbooks in BW.

      Best regards,
      Jens

      Author's profile photo Saul Cantera
      Saul Cantera

      Hi Jens,

      What about support of BPC workflows with tasks? Is this already in the roadmap?

      Thanks

      Best regards,

      Saul

      Author's profile photo Jens Braun
      Jens Braun
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Saul,

      if you are using BPC then this includes the license for SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office, so there is no need to use the edition for SAP Analytics Cloud.

      Best regards,
      Jens

      Author's profile photo Adriano Puleo
      Adriano Puleo

      Hello Jens,

      thanks for the article but there is something that is not clear for me

      If you buy SAP analytics cloud, as far as i know, you are not allowed to use AFO pointing directly to BW. Moreover there is a specific SAC AFO version.
      If you want to connect to BW, withount SAC as first endpoint you should buy business object license.

      Is this still correct or something did change?

      Thanks and regards

      Adriano

      Author's profile photo Jens Braun
      Jens Braun
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Adriano,

      this is exactly was changed now: you can access your BW queries and workbooks directly with your SAP Analytics Cloud subscription.
      As a matter of fact this was already possible before, but with a little deviation via the SAP Analytics Cloud live connection.

      Best regards,
      Jens

      Author's profile photo Kimmo Koops
      Kimmo Koops

      Hallo Jens,

      I have been using AFO SAC version already for querys from BW/4. The last answer from you makes me wonder if I could already now access the workbooks on BW/4 also or is that only after the change?

      MfG

      Kimmo

      Author's profile photo Jens Braun
      Jens Braun
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Kimmo,

      you can already access queries from BW, but not the workbooks. This is only possible with the upcoming patch.

      Best regards,
      Jens

      Author's profile photo Kimmo Koops
      Kimmo Koops

      Hi Jens,

       

      Danke for the clarification. Could you share if any changes in saving workbooks in BW? Would that also be included with sufficient role as AFO for SAC?

       

      br, kimmo

      Author's profile photo Jens Braun
      Jens Braun
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Kimmo,

      yes, this is exactly the change that is coming with SP9: that you can open from and save workbooks in the BW repository.

      Best regards,
      Jens

      Author's profile photo Jeanne BIGONNET
      Jeanne BIGONNET

      Dear all,

      please have a look to the latest  updated SAP Analysis for Office Road Map - this Road Map is covering both, AO Standard and AO edition for SAP Analytics Cloud.

      The  possibility to use  SAP Analytics Cloud  repository to store Analysis for Office workbooks is not in our current mid/ long term road map for now and we do not plan to provide scheduling capabilities within Excel with SAC  platform.

      Storing capabilities, as explained by Jens above, can be performed using the direct access to the BW/BI repository, or using SAP Analytics Cloud Catalog as central place for storage ( or using a shared drive as SharePoint).

      Note,  Scheduling capability  it is already offered within the story (only .PDF and .PPT format are supported but .CSV/ Excel format are also part of the Story Scheduling road map for mid/long term consideration).

      Best

      Jeanne

      Author's profile photo Karthik Kanniyappan
      Karthik Kanniyappan

      in reference to scheduling publications , please find a detailed blog series on the features and different capabilities already available

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

       

      Do comment on the blog in case you have more questions !!!

       

      Author's profile photo Torsten Wirth
      Torsten Wirth

      I don't see any kind of strategy from SAP. Ten years ago SAP was pushing BO platform as strategic solution and this should be used for scheduling and storage of files. Basically storing the files on BW was also available in past but not the preferred solution.

      Now customers should switch to this very old solution which was not recommended in past for storing the files without scheduling? That makes no sense. It would be a solution to save the files on SAC (basically there are only two things missing for this):

      1. Connection is downloaded from SAC and stored in AO file (that's a really bad solution because LCM is not working with that). The current connection in SAC should be used. That would allow LCM (Con A on Test SAC connects to TEST BW Live and Con A on Live SAC connects to Prod BW Live). Instead every AO file keeps local connections when using it via SAC.  That will be a lot of fun if something is changed connection wise. Then you have hundrets of files with wrong connections in it.
      2. The save dialog should access SAC folder structure instead of using the upload / download manually.

      I don't see the point in getting connected to BO when you still need BO licenses. The standard AO version can do the same without the need of SAC license. This makes only sense if there is no BO license needed. And why do we need two versions of AO if they are basically the same. The standard version can connect to SAC.

      Best

      Torsten

      Author's profile photo Jeanne BIGONNET
      Jeanne BIGONNET

      Hi Thorsten , thanks for your feedback.

      Regarding your points:

      1) We know this request and we will investigate what we can support here for live connections. We have this improvement  planned on H2/2021 roadmap, but as usual it is a road map item so may be delayed or subject to change.

      2)  This item was on our AO road map but has been removed because of technical challenges and it is  also following Strategic investments in our new add in for SAC, SAP Analytics Cloud, add-in for Microsoft Office.

      Indeed, when it's come to SAP Analytics Cloud environment, as stated  in the 2021 BI statement of direction, we will now develop new features  in this new solution. 

      See details of BI statement of direction    :

      “SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office 2.8 continues to be a key add-in for multiple data sources like BW, HANA, S/4 HANA. The product is available, both as part of SAP BusinessObjects BI on premise, and a limited edition is also included as part of the SAP Analytics Cloud subscription. We have aligned its maintenance date with BI 4.3, 2027 at least. However, most enhancements will be  delivered in SAP Analytics Cloud, add-in for MS Office. This tool is not AO successor but a brand new solution, built on top of Office 365 and fully integrated with SAP Analytics Cloud.”

      To your your last point, we do agree that this enablement of functionality is may be not relevant for BO platform users , but our target is more here to simplify licensing model for our  Bex users (still existing) and BW only customers. Indeed, we get  a big part of our AO users which  do not use BO as a platform, but use the license. So for them, we think this new version will be a huge benefit if they plan to use SAP Analytics Cloud.

      Best

      Jeanne

      Author's profile photo Torsten Wirth
      Torsten Wirth

      Hello Jeanne,

      Thanks for the answer.

      2) That does not help much because saving files is a new feature from SAP point of view. Live access to BW is not a new feature because it is included in classic AO version. Which means there is the SAP Analytics Cloud, add-in which maybe will have similar features like classic AO in some years. Due to the fact SAP is claiming that this is not a replacement of AO feature paritiy is not granted. This does not help to replace classic AO now or even in next years.

      I think for the AO customers the main use is BW live access which is not covered by the new addin and even if it will be we see at the moment in SAC how bad and incomplete this is covered up to now. Even simple things like calender month is not covered as time characteristic. A lot of features are still not working for live access even in SAC.

      In the end this way of acting from SAP values the customers which spent less money (not used the stategic solution from SAP) and punishing the customers which followed the recommendations from SAP. What should this customers learn from that? Don't follow SAP strategy? Use competitor products because of better service and support?

      Last point: Ah ok, from that point of view this change makes sense. That means for BO customers the new SAC edition only is needed due to license reasons when trading in BO licenses.

      Best regards,

      Torsten

      Author's profile photo Marcus Kats
      Marcus Kats

      Hi,

       

      thank you for the update! I have one question regarding live connections to HANA Cloud.

      We have built an application on Hana cloud where we have established a live Hana-connection from SAC. We have used the new "SAP HANA CLOUD" connection method(which is the suggested one). However as I understand it Analysis for Office will not recognize the live connection if not the old connection type "Direct" is used between Hana and SAC?

      Is there anything in the roadmap to support the new connection type in analysis for Office? Or is there any other way of connecting Analysis for Office to HANA cloud via a live connection?

       

      Best regards

       

      Marcus

      Author's profile photo Stefan Schwenzl
      Stefan Schwenzl

      Hello Jens,

      thanks for the update.

      Just to get it right:

      1. If a customer is coming from BOE and is new to SAP Analytics Cloud with the goal to replace BOE (AO edition for SAP Analytics Cloud instead of classic AO). The Customer still needs to have BOE licenses (in addition to SAC licenses) in order to use the BOE just as Repository?
        Alternatively, he only has the option to migrate his BOE repository to old technology in BW?
      2. If a SMB customer is completely starting from scratch with S/4HANA and SAP Analytics Cloud, he can only use the embedded BW in S/4HANA as a repository for AO Workbooks?

      Thanks.
      Best regards,
      Stefan

      Author's profile photo Jens Braun
      Jens Braun
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Stefan,

      to your first question: yes, to access the BOE repository a user needs a BOE license. That's why I focused mainly on the SAP BW integration when moving from BEx.

      And your second question is an interesting appraoch - I haven't tried that approach, yet. Have you tried it?

      Regards,
      Jens

      Author's profile photo Stefan Schwenzl
      Stefan Schwenzl

      Hello Jens,

      Thank you for the answer.
      Regarding the second question - this must read correctly:

      If a SMB customer is completely starting from scratch with S/4HANA and SAP Analytics Cloud, he can only use the roles (MenueRoles with folders) as a repository for AO Workbooks?

      If then it becomes a bit tricky regarding authorization. The users should be able to access and execute the live queries (CDS, or BW) only via SAC and have the authorization. But not when they connect directly to the system (S/4). They should only be able to save AO Workbooks in roles but not add Datasources from the S/4 System to the AO Workbook (only via SAC Datasource).

      Any idea how to achieve that?

      Regards,
      Stefan

      Author's profile photo Jens Braun
      Jens Braun
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Stefan,

      ok, now I understood your question - but I do not have an answer for that, as both SAC and Analysis would use the same objects in S/4HANA.

      Regards,
      Jens