Book review: Reporting and Analysis with SAP BusinessObjects

Posted by on Mar 5, 2012

For the past months I’ve been busy reading (and listening) a bunch of interesting tech books so it’s time for another review. It looks like SAP Press is updating its book portfolio this year, since after the Integrating SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4.x with SAP Netweaver book I posted about in January we now also have a second edition of Reporting and Analysis with SAP BusinessObjects, and in April the successor to Creating Dashboards with SAP BusinessObjects is planned for release.

This is a good thing. We’ve seen lots of changes in just a few years; BI4 has been release, new product names are introduced, integration has been improved and so on. If you are just entering the new SAP BusinessObjects world and you would follow the ‘old’ books and documentation it would only get you confused and probably frustrated. We don’t need that. The book is updated for release 4.0 FP3.

So let’s have a look at this new Reporting and Analysis with SAP BusinessObjects book, which is again written by Ingo Hilgefort, who is one of the ultimate gurus on SAP BusinessObjects and SAP BW tooling and integration and has been blogging and writing books on these topics since SAP acquired BusinessObjects a few years back. Follow this guy if you want to keep updated and learn more.

This book is really an overall overview of the complete SAP BusinessObjects reporting portfolio. It starts with the basics by describing the different reporting capabilities in just a few pages. A lot of SAP BI consultants still can’t name the five main BI tooling areas so there is nothing wrong to start with this again.

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Posted in: Books, Knowledge sharing, New technology, SAP BusinessObjects

New Book: Integrating SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4.x with SAP NetWeaver

Posted by on Jan 1, 2012

SAP Press recently released Integrating SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4.x with SAP NetWeaver by Ingo Hilgefort. This book is the successor to the 2009 Integrating SAP Business Objects XI 3.1 BI Tools with SAP NetWeaver and is now updated with content on the latest SAP BusinessObjects 4 (BI4) release.

In this book Hilgefort explains how we can setup the (new) BI4 platform on top of a SAP BW or SAP ECC environment. He does this by covering the complete implementation cycle: First he goes through the installation steps for the SAP BusinessObjects server and client tools (Crystal Reports, Dashboards, Live Office, Analysis and the BI Platform Client tools like the Universe Designer and the Information Design Tool). This is done in a very detailed step-by-step manner, discussing every installer screen that will appear in the process. This really is very helpful the first time you have to do this! This extremely detailed approach is followed throughout the whole book.

Each front-end tool has a chapter dedicated to it in which the several data connectivity scenarios are discussed for the specific tool. These chapters all have the following approach: First all possible connectivity options are discussed. As you can see the overview figure for SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (Xcelsius) now really has become art. 🙂

 

Next the supported and unsupported SAP BW elements are shown in a table for each connectivity option. Also a metadata mapping is given for the BEx Query elements, showing for example how a navigational attribute or variable is treated by the front-end tool. I also like the translations of the terms used in SAP BusinessObjects, like Key figure becomes Measure and Variable is called Prompt. All these overviews make things very clear.

To get you started these chapters all have a Create your first report section, that shows you step-by-step how you can create a simple report with each tool and how to set up the several connections. Again, a lot of screenshots are used here so even if you haven’t worked with some of the tools yet, you will learn fast on how to configure the data connection. Good stuff!

Live Office and BI Web Services (QaaWS) haven’t been forgotten. There roles have become less important with the new connectivity options in BI4 but they can still be used. Hilgefort discusses this situation and shows how to use them in combination with Dashboards. The book finishes with chapters on report publications and SAP Portal integration, which makes this book very very complete.

Just like all the other books written by Ingo Hilgefort you really should pick up this one! Not only as a reference guide but also to go through the step-by-step sections to get a good understanding of the several connectivity options when integration BI4 with SAP. Also make sure you check his site/blog which is totally dedicated to the SAP BI integration subject.

Posted in: Books, Knowledge sharing, New technology, SAP BusinessObjects, SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards, SAP BW

iPad is here! Finally…

iPad is here! Finally…
Posted by on Jul 24, 2010

Yesterday the iPad officially arrived in Holland, finally. With the iPhone 1 introduction a few years ago I bought one (overpriced) at eBay, got into some issues with the seller and had to pay a lot of additional tax at the Dutch border. So I decided to wait for the European release this time.

While waiting in line with over 50 others I thought about how things have changed. 15 years ago I was the only Mac-user at my school and Apple made some pretty boring products. Now in 2010 almost everyone I know owns at least one Apple product. Great!

Below are some pictures of the launch and some screenshots of the iPad in action while reading a SAP Press book and using the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer for iPad.

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Posted in: Going Paperless, Lifehacking, New technology

Webinar: SAP BW/BO integration best practices

Webinar: SAP BW/BO integration best practices
Posted by on Dec 10, 2009

Last night SAP presented a webinar on integration SAP BusinessObjects BI with SAP Netweaver BW. The webinar included best practices on tool selection, report development approach, architectural choices and performance optimization. The upcoming enhancements in the BOE/BW stack were discussed and an overview of successful scenarios was given.

You can now rewatch the webinar here and download the presentation here. In the remainder of this post I dropped the webinar agenda and some interesting slides.

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Posted in: Knowledge sharing

SAP Constellation/12Sprints and Kona

SAP Constellation/12Sprints and Kona
Posted by on Dec 3, 2009

Wow, seems like SAP is going to launch some very cool stuff in 2010: Constellation/12Sprints and Koda (all codenames). What can we tell about these two tools? Well, not very much yet. There are some articles on the internet and a short demonstration video which gives us some clues. You can watch the video below.

Constellation seems to be some sort of collaborative workspace, that allows its users to share data, discuss it and make decisions together. To me this idea looks a bit like Google Wave, but now tailored to the decision making processes within enterprises.

This is what SAP says about Constellation:

Imagine a virtual war room
It’s not just a place where things get discussed. It’s where things get done. 
Invite the right people. Bring in the pertinent data. And choose the most informed course of action with the help of pre-defined, interactive decision-making tools. It’s all built in. Everything you need to get everyone on the same page — finally under one roof.

At 12Sprints.com you can sign-up to get access to the beta.

Kona is a web-based business intelligence platform/tool, which gives you access to dashboards and reports with drill-down functionality. Also the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer will be a part of Kona. Data and graphs from Kona can be exported to Constellation.

This leaves me with a some questions:
– Why introduce two separate platforms and not one integrated platform?
– How open will these platforms be? Can we make our own Robots/Gadgets?
– What about Crystal Reports, Web Intelligence, Xcelsius and Pioneer? Will they also be integrated in Kona?
– And hey, what about the BusinessObjects InfoView portal environment? Will it be ditched?

12sprints

Posted in: Preview