Book review: Mastering SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP with SAP NetWeaver BW

Posted by on Mar 29, 2013

hilgefortanalysisolap1SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP is probably the one BI4 tool I have spent the least time in yet. It can be seen as the successor to the BEx Web Analyzer and it is the web counterpart of SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for Office.

For my projects this might be a very useful tool to offer to our users since it is fully integrated in the BI Launchpad platform and doesn’t require any locally installed software (in contrast to the Office edition, which uses an MS Excel plugin).

Ingo Hilgefort wrote an eBook that is fully dedicated to Analysis OLAP in combination with SAP BW as a data source: Mastering SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP with SAP NetWeaver BW.

I picked up the Kindle edition at which was quite cheap at $14,51. I think if you are living in the USA the price will be even lower (around $10) due to ‘some’ taxes we have to pay in the European Union. Anyway, with or without taxes this obviously is no money for this kind of content.

After positioning the tool within the SAP BusinessObjects BI portfolio and discussing the data connectivity options the book quickly dives into the details. Since it is focussed on SAP BW environments as a datasource only, literally all the BW and BEx stuff is discussed: BEx Query elements, variable types, hierarchical functionality and so on. For every one of these features it is stated how Analysis OLAP supports it. Also some comparisons are made with the BEx Web Analyzer and Analysis Office.

Next the book demonstrates in a step-by-step manner the features of Analysis OLAP. Here a load of screenshots are used, so it is very clear what you have to do. I didn’t have access to an environment with Analysis OLAP when reading the book but with the clear texts and figures I could easily follow what was happening. The book ends with a chapter on deployment of Analysis OLAP which gives some interesting performance tweaking tips.

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I got the book on my Kindle, which is a small device and has no colors. A lot of tables are used in the book and the formatting of them gets messed-up on my Kindle. The screenshots are also quite hard to view. Luckily I can also use the Kindle app on my Mac to view the details. Unfortunately the indexing from chapter 4 and up doesn’t work. So you have to scroll page by page to the right section if you want to look up something in stead of just clicking the section in the table of contents. Hopefully Ingo will fix this and also keep updating the contents of the book every time a new service pack is released. Good stuff!

Mastering SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP with SAP NetWeaver BW [Kindle Edition] by Ingo Hilgefort.

Posted in: Books, Knowledge sharing, Review, SAP BusinessObjects

Book review: 100 Things You Should Know about Reporting with SAP Crystal Reports

Posted by on Nov 9, 2012

100 Things You Should Know about Reporting with SAP Crystal Reports by Coy Yonce has been on the market for over a year, but really hasn’t gotten a lot of attention yet. Maybe the reason is that Crystal Reports isn’t that new and interesting anymore compared to the other SAP BusinessObjects tools and solutions like HANA. Also there are already a lot of books published on Crystal Reports in the past 10 years. In the past months I had to create a series of Crystal Reports in a very short timespan so I decided to pick this book up for some quick tips that could save me some time.

The approach of the ‘100 Things’ series is very different from other SAP books. It won’t teach you the very basics of report creation and it won’t discuss every menu option available. Instead it covers 100 very practical tasks you might want to achieve in Crystal Reports and it shows you the steps to get them done. I like this approach, which falls within the same philosophy we used in our SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 cookbook. This means that some level of experience in using Crystal Reports is required.

I’ve been working with the ‘newer’ SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise 4.0 which is mainly aimed at report creation on top of SAP BW. This book is written for SAP Crystal Reports 2011 but I guess that over 90% of the material is usable in the Enterprise version without a problem.

Each tip starts with a short introduction or case to explain the purpose and goal of the tip. Next you are taken through the steps and code. I think that about 70% of the tips use some kind of code, but in most cases these are single line statements that are not that complex, so don’t worry. A tip covers 2 to 4 pages.

Some of the tips that I found interesting are:

  • Suppressing duplicate rows
  • Designing a cover page
  • Creating a formula to calculate an average/minimum while ignoring zero values
  • Showing visual indicators
  • Creating tool tips
  • Formatting dates in a chart
  • Creating effective report templates

Also there are a bunch of tips that go beyond the standard Crystal Reports functionality and show some nice third-party solutions you can use in Crystal Reports, for example to create barcodes and QR-codes in your report.  The final 5 tips talk about monitoring and improving report performance.

So if you find yourself Googling a lot to make your Crystal Reports better you should really check out the table of contents of this book. If there is one tip in it you can use immediately I think this book is already worth the money.

100 Things You Should Know about Reporting with SAP Crystal Reports by Coy Yonce, ISBN 978-1592293902.


Posted in: Books, Review, SAP BusinessObjects