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 Amazon.com 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: 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

SAP TechEd video: Ingo Hilgefort interview

SAP TechEd video: Ingo Hilgefort interview
Posted by on Dec 17, 2009

In this short TechEd ’09 video Ingo Hilgefort is being interviewed on integrating BusinessObjects with the SAP world, covering the SAP BusinessObjects/SDN community and his book on this subject.

Posted in: SAP BusinessObjects

New books on SAP BusinessObjects

Posted by on Nov 24, 2009

SAP Press shows us that two new books on SAP BusinessObjects are to be released early 2010, covering the positioning of the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio in the SAP landscape and describing the SAP BusinessObjects toolset.

Sure, nice subjects, but I wonder if these books will give us some really new views and insights and I hope they are not just are a collection of information that is already available online or in other books (see my overview on recommended books and links). But we will see next year.

Discover SAP BusinessObjects (Thierry Audas)

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“This much anticipated book answers the many questions you may have as a decision maker or current SAP and BusinessObjects customer who needs to understand SAP’s BI strategy. In clarifying the business value of the new SAP BusinessObjects solutions it also explains how to hit the ground running. Significant focus is put on describing and positioning all of the key solutions in the new SAP BusinessObjects portfolio, and the author clearly explains how they fit together and into existing SAP customer landscapes. Real-world examples are used throughout to describe the capabilities and their value propositions, along with numerous screen shots, examples, tips, and case studies. This is the one book that will give you full clarity into SAP BusinessObjects.”


Reporting and Analytics with SAP BusinessObjects (Ingo Hilgefort)

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“This book provides comprehensive coverage of the major business intelligence tools in the SAP/BO toolset with a practical focus on the user experience and integration with SAP. Coverage includes detailed application features and functionality, as well as practical, how-to content geared toward end users hoping to maximize the benefits of their BI investment by creating actionable, easy to read reports, analysis and other business process metrics. The author uses robust, real world case studies to place into context and present the content in an easy to read, step-by-step manner.”

Posted in: Books