Move to the cloud with SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office
With the upcoming changes to SAP BusinessObjects (see statement of direction) many customers are looking for a way to move to SAP Analytics Cloud. Why? Because it provides a way to reduce system landscape complexity (by possibly removing SAP BO from the landscape) and access to our strategic and modern analytics platform for all new requirements.
For quite some time now SAP Analysis for Office has been part of the SAP Analytics Cloud subscription, meaning that there are two versions: the standard edition, that comes with an BO or BPC license, and the edition for SAP Analytics Cloud. All differences between the versions are explain in this blog post.
I will provide a technical guideline on how to move from SAP Analysis for Office Standard Edition to SAP Analysis for Office SAC Edition and generally the move looks as follows:
There is also an interesting commercial approach on this, which you should discuss with your SAP sales representative.
The exact steps depend on your starting point and that starting point must therefore be defined via the following questions:
- Are you already using SAP Analysis for Office or still SAP Business Explorer Analyzer?
- Where are your workbooks stored today: in SAP BW, SAP BO or decentral?
- Where are your connections defined: in SAP BO or in the frontend?
- Are you using scheduling for your workbooks?
- Are you using the BPC plug-in or EPM add-in?
The following chapters provide more information on each of the questions.
Still using SAP Business Explorer Analyzer?
If you are still using SAP Business Explorer Analyzer then you will first need to migrate your workbooks. There are two options:
- Migrate to SAP Analysis for Office using the integrated conversion option.
- Depending on the use case you should consider using the SAP Analytics Cloud Add-In for Microsoft Excel
Storage of workbooks
Central administration of workbooks based on authorizations is a key feature of SAP Analysis for Office. There are two strategies used: you could store the workbooks in your SAP BW or BW/4HANA system or on the SAP BusinessObjects platform.
With the QRC3 2023 release of SAP Analytics Cloud the option to store the workbooks in the file repository of SAP Analytics Cloud comes in addition.
When moving to SAP Analysis for Office SAC Edition you must decide what you do:
- You can only simplify your system landscape if you move away from the SAP BusinessObjects platform. The option to stay with the SAP BusinessObjects platform is therefore not listed as an approach.
- When the workbooks are stored in SAP BW keeping them there will probably mean the least effort.
- When they are stored outside of the central systems, then I do recommend considering moving to centralized storage to leverage authorizations and central maintenance of workbooks – if that fits your use case.
One additional advantage of storing your SAP Analysis for Office workbooks in SAP Analytics Cloud is the integration into the SAP Analytics Cloud catalog – this way users can find all relevant artefacts in one repository without having to know whether it is a workbook, a story or an analytic application.
Apart from a central administration of the workbooks, the central management of connections is relevant as well. If you are using SAP BusinessObjects for this, you will have to change the connection information coming from your local device or to SAP Analytics Cloud (which is the recommended way and this blog post describes how you can do that).
As described in the blog post it is possible to define a system mapping to replace tenant links when moving from test to production environments.
Scheduling of workbooks
If you are currently using the SAP BusinessObjects platform to distribute SAP Analysis for Office workbooks to recipients, then note that this functionality is not available on SAP Analytics Cloud (and there are no plans to add this for SAP Analysis for Office workbooks).
What options do you have? This depends on the use case and generally we see the followings paths that customer take:
- Continue to use the scheduling with SAP BusinessObjects platform, but only keep the scheduled workbooks on that platform. Move all other workbooks to SAP Analytics Cloud. This is of course only possible if a central group maintains the scheduling.
- If the distribution is used for data integration, then replace the scheduling by a “proper” data integration approach (e. g. using a replication flow from SAP Datasphere).
- And of course, discuss a change of the work process to online analytics – added values such as current data and data whenever you need it instead of when someone provides it to you should serve as arguments to convince your users.
You can for example leverage the Data Change Insights feature of SAP Analytics Cloud, which informs users about changes on the data.
Usage of other Analysis components
If you use either the BPC plug-in or EPM add-in then this requires a more detailed analysis of your use cases. This is not “just” a frontend change, but a change in how you plan/consolidate and you should consider moving to the strategic solutions like SAP Analytics Cloud planning or SAP S/4HANA Group reporting.
Rollout SAP Analysis for Office SAC Edition
As with SAP Analysis for Office Standard Edition it is possible to preconfigure SAP Analysis for Office SAC Edition for users.
SAP Analysis for Office SAC Editions requires an authentication against SAP Analytics Cloud. These three things need your attention:
- If not done already you should set up Single Sign-On for your SAP Analytics Cloud tenant. Making users manually log into SAP Analytics Cloud will not be the best user experience.
- Predefine which SAP Analytics Cloud tenant should be used for the authentication. This is done using the setting LastSelectedSacSystem and the BocSystems.xml file and described in this blog post.
- Automize the creation of SAP Analytics Cloud users. There are several options for this, from the dynamic user creation to using the SCIM API or the manual approach.
As you can see, there is a clear path to move from the SAP BusinessObjects based Office integration to the SAP Analytics Cloud based one.
Which steps are relevant for your environment depends on how you are working with the solutions today.
It is however clear that SAP Analytics Cloud takes on the role of the central platform for the content management and accessibility for users and therefore provides a replacement for the SAP BusinessObjects based approach regarding SAP Analysis for Office.
Thank you to my colleagues Steffen Heine and Horst Meiser for supporting the creation of this blog post.