With all the buzz around the big upcoming Lumira 2 release, you would almost forget that there are other SAP BI tools in the market as well. For example Analysis for Office: the successor of the good old BEx Analyzer. For some reason these tools have never been a very popular topic to write about. This is somewhat strange, as Analysis for Office, and even BEx Analyzer, are still extremely popular under SAP BI customers and therefor widely used besides the ’newer’ front-end tools.
Analysis for Office is not a difficult tool to learn, but it has a lot of hidden, unknown and even misunderstood features that are very useful for data analysts. My head still explodes when I see somebody using Analysis for Office to ‘download’ all the data into Excel, manually copy/paste the results to different tabs, and starts applying Excel filters, sorting etc. So there is absolutely a need for guidance here.
Luckily, Tobias Meyer published SAP BusinessObjects Analysis Office – The Comprehensive Guide last year on version 2.3, and this year an updated version on Analysis for Office 2.4. The book covers all the features that Analysis for Office (both the Excel and PowerPoint versions) offers in detail, but goes a lot further than that. Ever heard about Shortcut properties for the Analysis for Office add-on launcher?
So, as all features are nicely listed and explained in detail, I use this book as a reference guide in case I need to know the details behind a feature or to look for some useful configuration file tweak, like how to change the default user settings for a new software rollout. Or, I use it to learn about areas I haven’t worked a lot in, like the Integrated Planning features.
The book covers a lot of information about SAP Excel formulas (20 pages) and how to use VBA (58 pages, including some example use case results). This is extremely useful if you want to go this way with the tool. Of course I’m personally not a big fan of creating such advanced BI applications in Analysis for Office/Excel, as I prefer Design Studio (Lumira 2) for these cases.
The book seems to be aimed at intermediate/advanced users. Obviously a lot of SAP BI lingo is used from the start of the book, so it might be hard for new users to follow. I always like it when a book on a software tool has a guided/step-by-step ‘beginner’ chapter, that does a short walkthrough of the basics of the tool. Insert a query, add a dimension, set a filter, that kind of stuff. Maybe something for a next release. ?
So to conclude, this is an excellent collection of Analysis for Office knowledge material for any Analysis for Office or BEx Analyzer user who wants to up his game. More info on the book on reyemsaibot.com.