I recently moderated a web forum with Reporting & Analytics 2011 speaker Jay Riddle on preparing your SAP landscape for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0. Jay took questions on migrating to SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, connectivity with OLAP sources, security differences between 3.1 and 4.0, and other topics.
For the full Q&A, you can view the questions and Jay's responses in the SAP BusinessObjects Forum, or read excerpts from the transcript of the Q&A below.
Kristin Bent (moderator): Thank you all for joining us today in the SAP BusinessObjects forum for this live Q&A!
And welcome, Jay! Thanks for being here. It looks like a few folks have already posted, so please feel to start with those, and move on to new questions as they roll in.
To post your question for Jay, please select the "Post Reply" button below. And please don't forget to refresh your browser to see the latest posts.
A quick note: If you have not yet registered for this Q&A, you can still do so. When registering, you'll also get download access to
Jay's SAP BusinessObjects BI reference guide. It's a quick snapshot of platform changes that impact integration and connectivity with SAP NetWeaver BW, 3.x systems, and SAP ERP.
Paul Williams: Hi, My landscape does not use the Java Stack, can we still utilise Xcelsius dashboards?
If so what is the best way of integrating this?
My landscape is using BW 7.01sp4 -- do I need to patch to sp6 or higher in order to have the BO components integrated?
Do I need to upgrade my GUI from 7.10 to 7.20 for BO?
Any information would be greatly received.
Jay Riddle: Yes, technically if you are using the BICS (aka Transient Universe) to connect directly to a BEx query, you will need to host the dashboard in SAP Portal/Java stack.
However, if you are leveraging the SAP BusinessObjects XI 3.x or 4.x platform(s) - you can host the dashboard in this architecture so long as you aren't using BICS to build your query connections; instead using something like Live Office to build a Crystal Report or Web Intelligence document on top of your BEx query - and then serve the data from the report layer to your dashboard.
Support for hosting Xcelsius/Dashboards 4.0 with BICS within the SAP BusinessObjects platform isn't expected to be supported until SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1.
I just wonder about the connectivity to OLAP sources in BI 4.0.
We have just installed BI 4.0 but can't use the OLAP Workspace. We can create connections to MS Analysis Server 2008 and to SAP BW through Information Design Tool but can't use them on BI Launchpad for creating OLAP Workspaces.
Jay Riddle: Bozgul -
If you have deployed SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 and wish to connect to OLAP sources for slicing & dicing it is recommended that you use the SAP BusinessO
bjects Analysis, for OLAP (aka Web) for connecting to them.
Although, the new semantic layer (Universe in 3.x) now offers extended support for connecting to OLAP sources because it can leverage the included Data Federation services - it isn't recommended to do so for standard reporting off OLAP.
If you want to merge OLAP data with relational data from another source, you can use the Information Design Tool to build a foundation and join the data at the semantic layer level. However, because the data is being flattened by the Data Federator extractors there are certain caveats and best practices around how to best do this.
Let me know if you have any questions RE: SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, for OLAP (Web), or the version for Microsoft Office tools (e.g., Excel).
We still have 1000 users with Deski 6.5. We already have a BO XI 3.1 infrastructure where we're thinking of migrating them to Webi on this ??infrastructure. We are targeting BI 4.0 - but after the first support pack.
But what would the best migration path? Because:
- Migration from Deski 6.5 to Deski XI to Webi 3.1 and later to BI 4.x: we've seen that migration to Webi 3.x requires substantial validation and rework...
- Migration from ??Deski 6.5 to Deski XI and wait to go to BI 4.x: can we expect a Deski XI to BI 4.x migration to be easier (less validation, less rework) than a Deski XI to Webi 3.x migration?
What would be your preferred migration path and why?
Thanks in advance!!!
"...we've seen that migration to Webi 3.x requires substantial validation and rework..."
"can we expect a Deski XI to BI 4.x migration to be easier (less validation, less rework) than a Deski XI to Webi 3.x migration?"
You will have subs
tantial validation and rework regardless of migrating to Web Intelligence in 3.x or 4.x.
"We still have 1000 users with Deski 6.5."
The new Upgrade Management 4.0 tool (in addition to the Lifecycle Management tool - combined, their functionalities replace the Import Wizard) supports a direct migration path either from SAP BusinessObjects XI R2 -> BI 4.0, or SAP BusinessObjects XI 3.1 -> BI 4.0.
Therefore, you're going to have to invest in standing up a 3.1 infrastructure regardless to effectively migrate these legacy Deski 6.5 reports to Web Intelligence. Also - remember that just because there is a report conversion tool, doesn't mean that all your Desktop Intelligence reports will be necessarily a good fit for ad-hoc/self service reporting as in Web Intelligence.
Invest the time to perform a report rationalization to see which Deski reports are still leveraged today, how they are used (Are they canned? Do they have rich graphics and are used like a score card?), etc. - and some of them may be better served being re-created in another tool like Crystal Reports.
mustansirsaifuddin: Is BO 4.0 G&A for all customers?
Jay Riddle: You can read up on BI 4.0 GA here.
PawanDhaliwal: We currently have BO XIR2 and need to upgrade. We only use Deski reports.
What are our options?
What do you recommend the version we upgrade to?
What will be involved in converting Deski documents to Webi?
Jay Riddle: This is a tough one and I often like to use my canned consultant response of "It depends...", however technically speaking the Upgrade Management Tool supports direct XI R2 to BI 4.0 migration and using the Report Conversion Tool wi
ll allow you to transition them to Web Intelligence format after the upgrade.
However - as many of you know, transitioning Desktop Intelligence reports to Web Intelligence isn't exactly a cut and dry process. Especially, if there are a lot of custom formulas, other logic, and the use of local data sources involved (aka Personal Data Providers or PDPs). Add that with the complexity of effective change management and training for the end-user population and you've got your hands full.
SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 is still in its early stages and we know XI 3.1 has numerous service packs out now - which when you look at the ADAPT documents outlining fixes, lists numerous fixes for DeskI to WebI conversions in XI 3.1 which has been supported for a number of years now with learning lessons from numerous customers who have gone through this transition.
I don't have any first hand experience yet transitioning Deski XI R2 reports to WebI in BI 4.0 and would hesitate to do so. I would like to be able to roll back an end-user to using their Desktop Intelligence report if we run into complexities/delays transitioning it effectively to WebI and/or it requires complete redevelopment either in WebI or another tool like Crystal Reports.
My personal opinion would be to transition to XI 3.1 first. If the report doesn't convert effectively in BI 4.0 you have no way of stalling - and there could be significant down time for the end-user if it takes an unexpected amount of time and resources to get their more complex DeskI reports working. And I wouldn't want to host two environments (i.e., XI R2 AND BI 4.0) - especially since XI R2 is officially unsupported by SAP.
PawanDhaliwal: Is 4.1 going to be a support package on 4.0 or a complete new install/upgrade?
Jay Riddle: Although no longer referred to as a SP/Service Pack - "Minor Releases" such as 4.1 will be cumulative according to the SAP maintenance and
support lifecycle and will not require a completely new installation.
rmohr: Hello Jay,
Is it possible to host BO 3.1 and BO 4.0 on the same server when it has enough cpu and memory?
Many thanks in advance.
Jay Riddle: I would ask - why would you want to do this?
Regardless of the response, however, this is not recommended. The reasons are plentiful and if you really want me to expand upon them I will be happy to do so later.
GaryByrne: Hello, Jay,
Thanks for taking time to answer our questions. Can you explain the difference in how security works with Roles in SAP NetWeaver BW in XI 3.1 vs. 4.0?
Jay Riddle: Ditto. Thanks for coming, Gary!
I could go on and on RE: security as it's one of my favorite topics. High level - there aren't many changes at all. You are still required to load transports into SAP NetWeaver BW - however, you no longer need to acquire the SAP Integration Kit separately with BI 4.0 and the transports are now included in the SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise or Edge installation package in a Transports folder.
You also don't need to download the JCo (Java connector) and deploy that manually to the web tier in BI 4.0 which is nice.
The Roles still map as Groups in SAP BusinessObjects, and users assigned the Role will become members of the Group. You still need to leverage the CRYSTAL_ENTITLEMENT user and set it up in T-Code SU01. These basics around configuration and behavior haven't changed.
However, the Authentication area in the Central Management Console (CMC) has some extended functionality which will be welcoming. You'll notice there are new user types in parallel to the still existing "concurrent" or "named user" options and now include selection criteria for BI Viewer and BI Analyst. Work with your SAP Account Rep for information around these licensing changes. Here is the official wording from the SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 Platform Administration Guide:
"Use these options to specify if new user accounts are configured under either the BI Viewer or BI Analyst user roles. The BI Viewer role is typically assigned to users who are content consumers. This role has restricted access to application workflows as stipulated in the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform license agreement. The BI Analyst role is for users who create and modify content for platform applications. This role does not have restricted access to application workflows.
Note: The option you select here does not change the number or type of user licenses that you have installed in BI platform. You must have the appropriate licenses available on your system."
An example of a new feature that many (including myself) are extremely excited about relates to headaches today in XI 3.1 around the manual reliance on the "Update" button in the CMC when making changes to the SAP Authentication area, etc. Now SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 dynamically through scheduling -- much like the Active Directory Authentication area.
There are now two options for scheduling/updating SAP roles once they are mapped:
1. Update roles only - which is used if there are frequent updates, but shouldn't be used if you are frequently adding users to roles that are mapped to SAP BusinessObjects.
2. Update roles and aliases - which is used when you want the system to automatically append the mapped roles with new users added on the back-end in SAP. This will be more resource intensi
ve than the "Update roles only" option.
Check out this direct link to the official overview of new BI 4.0 features from the SAP Help Portal (help.sap.com) here.
Kristin Bent (moderator): Thanks to all who posted questions and followed the discussion!
A full summary of all the questions will be available here in the SAP BusinessObjects Forum, and in Insider Learning Network's BI/BW Group and SAP BusinessObjects Group. I encourage you to join these groups for ongoing information and additional resources on the SAP BusinessObjects suite, as well as BI integration tips and resources.
And thank you again to Comerit's Jay Riddle for joining us today!
Jay will be one of the featured speakers at SAPinsider's Reporting & Analytics conference scheduled for November 2-4 in Las Vegas, and will be giving a full session on Proven practices to integrate SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, SAP Crystal Reports, and Xcelsius with your existing SAP systems. For additional details, including registration discounts, visit the Reporting & Analytics registration page. We look forward to seeing you there!
Jay Riddle: I will try and expand on these topics through a blog post. You can also find me on Twitter (@jay_riddle) and on LinkedIn.