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BOBJ Analysis is here - is BEx Dead yet?

by Dr. Berg

May 4, 2011

By Dr. Berg

Is "Voyager"->"Pioneer"-"Advanced Analysis"->"Analysis" Here?

Yes, after having 4 names in 19 months, Analysis has finally arrived and it is the replacement for most of the BEx components, but not all. The major survivor is the BEx Query Designer. This tools was rewritten in BI 7.0 in VisualBasic and is still the a way to get data presented into BOBJ.

However, Analysis in its two version (edition for OLAP and MS), has some major new features that you should consider. First, it allows users to do much of the work previously done in the query designer. This include coloring based on exceptions, filtering, sorts, and calculations.

Second, it allows you to query BW though PowerPoint (really!), as well as Excel 2007/2010. This is cool, since you no longer have to run the reports, make some graphs, cut-and-paste them to PowerPoint and then do the same steps every time you want to refresh the data.

Third, the web version is finally here (was late in ramp-up) and lastly if you install BI-4.0 you can share connections, workbooks, spreadsheets and web reports with much better graphs than those in old BEx Analyzer and BEx web.

So How do you get this Implemented?

For many companies, the process is simply installing Analysis and then opening the existing queries. The speed is much faster then going through MDX and OLAP universes, since Analysis normally access BW 'natively' through BICS connections.

From an implementation standpoint, Analysis is typically installed in the BOBJ BI 4.0 environment. By doing so, users do not need a SAP GUI and can share workbooks, power points and connections. Smaller lean installations can skip the BOBJ Enterprise environment and access BW directly, but then every users must have a SAP GUI installed on each machine and connections must be made for each client machine 

Connecting BOBJ Analysis on InfoProviders

You can also access Infoproviders directly (no queries). However, if you access an InfoProvider directly, instead of using a BEx query, you are bypassing a lot of features. These include: Restricted and Calculated key figures, Authorization relevant objects, Variables and custom structures, as well as conditions and exceptions. Therefore, most customers should consider queries as the best integration point instead of InfoProviders.

More information and Some Ideas on New Features

Ingo Hilgefort recently published a great book called "Insider SAP Business Object - Advanced Analysis" (ISBN: 978-59229-371-1) from SAP Press. That is the first step to gather objective information and a must-have to BOBJ developers.

Also, you may take a look at the differences between XI 3.1 and BI4.0. The major changes include that The XI 3.1 has a Universe Designer tool and the BI-4 has a Information Designer tool. However, OLAP universes created by BOBJ Enterprise XI 3.x works in BI-4.

It is important to note that to use the new multi-dimensional capabilities in BI-4, you have to use the new information design tool to create dimensional universes and previously made OLAP universes cannot be edited in the new Information Designer tool. A benefit is however the fact that you can move an OLAP universe from a 3.1 repository to a 4.0 repository using the standard upgrade management tool. The key idea is that universes in BI-4.0 are made on InfoCubes not Queries, while BICS is used for SAP-BI query ac cess.

Summary

There is a lot to take in and changes are occurring fast. For instance, Analysis does not support BEx Broadcaster, and you still have to use the Information Designer to refresh the structure in the Universe every time the InfoCube changes. However, we are moving in the right direction, and SAP has made the right decision to retire most of BEx over the next few years. It served us well, but it is not a bit "stale" when comparing to best-of-breed tools.

Dr. Berg

Meanwhile, take a look at sap solutions more more details: www.sap.com/solutions/sapbusinessobjects...

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