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A Guide to the Scorecard Options of SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio 1.6

by Ned Falk, Senior Education Consultant, SAP

March 8, 2017

Learn two options for creating scorecards with the new scorecard-visualization component in SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio 1.6. 

SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio is SAP’s newest dashboard-design tool, replacing both BEx Web Application Designer and SAP Dashboards. Version 1.6 of SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio provides a new visualization component of the dashboard.

Before diving in too deeply into this new visualization option for Design Studio, however, I first want to list three disclosures:

  1. SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio does not build dashboards per se; rather, it builds analysis applications. (This is because SAP has an older tool [that SAP no longer recommends for new customers] that has the name Dashboards.)
  2. This article is targeted at people who already have a medium-level expertise with Design Studio, so basic navigation paths and options are not discussed.
  3. Design Studio, as a separate product, is being phased out. As shown in Figure 1, the new product (which is still essentially Design Studio) is soon to be merged with the SAP BusinessObjects Lumira product and re-branded as SAP Business Objects Lumira Designer. However, because this change is still in the future (or is just happening as of the publication date of this article, February 2017), I use the original terms and names for these products (e.g., SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio and SAP BusinessObjects Lumira) for clarity.


Figure 1
SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio becomes SAP BusinessObjects Lumira Designer (planned for Q3 2017)

Although this is not just a 100 percent name change, all the functionality of Design Studio is included in the new version of SAP BusinessObjects Lumira Designer, with the SAP BusinessObjects Lumira Discovery product functioning like the existing SAP BusinessObjects Lumira product. (For more details about the product launch, see this blog: https://blogs.sap.com/2016/05/20/sap-lumira-and-design-studio-convergence/.) There will be improvements and interoperability, but I anticipate that the functions discussed in this article will work the same in the future in the new, re-branded SAP BusinessObjects Lumira Designer product.

As you may already know, the main difference between Design Studio and SAP BusinessObjects Lumira (becoming SAP BusinessObjects Lumira Discovery) is that the former builds analysis applications (dashboards) and the latter builds storyboards. The main differences are that storyboards are not supported by a scripting language and the design elements on the storyboard do not have complex configuration requirements. Although this article does not go into the details of the scripting language, I do want to point out that the subject of this article, the scorecard visualization component, is an example of one of the most complex visualizations offered.

(Note: Just to be clear on terms, Figure 2 shows an example of an analysis application generated by the Design Studio application. Each block is a visualization component. In contrast, the metrics displayed are not using the scorecard component that I discuss and show how to use in the remaining sections of the article.)


Figure 2
Examples of the Design Studio analysis application (as of March 2017)

Each block in Figure 2 is an example of a visualization component, but the figure does not include the new scoreboard-component capabilities.

SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio Scorecards

Scorecards have existed for many years, first in purely physical form and then with various degrees of electronic automation. For example, the older ones were blackboards showing various key performance indicators (KPIs) for on-time delivery performance, lost time due to sickness or accidents, or even profitability. Later, many had traffic lights (red, green, or yellow) or arrows (up or down) next to the KPI indicating that the number was considered good (green or up arrow) or bad (red or down arrow). Sometimes these KPIs with the colored arrows were accompanied by a trend chart that was updated manually on paper.

The Design Studio scorecard is a highly configurable graphical software-based way to display data the way the older, physical methods did, only now it’s better visually and is automatically maintained as part of a 100 percent web-based output. The configuration of the scorecard I am using as my example is one that I use in my SAP BOD310 training class. It covers most of the features of this complex visualization. The result is shown in Figure 3.


Figure 3
An end-user’s view of a Design Studio scorecard visualization

Note that this scorecard option is just one of many visualizations that you might have on a Design Studio analysis application. Now, I explain its setup.

The Basic Properties of Scorecards

The basic properties of scorecards are like other visualization components in Design Studio. These properties are not much different from other visualization components that are easier to configure; for example, the height of various parts of the scorecard. These basic settings and the settings that are different are highlighted in Figure 4. Focus special attention on the Additional Properties section, circled on the bottom right of the figure, as this is where all the complex configuration takes place.


Figure 4
The basic properties of the new scorecard component

Before I explain the configuration details, look at the most commonly used—but most difficult to configure—feature: setting a status indicator to identify if the value of a measure is considered good or bad. I start with reverse engineering a few settings to see how this works.

As you should already know, all visualizations need data to be visualized. Therefore, you need to identify the data source (DS_1) to build the scorecard (Figure 4). The basic settings of the scorecard do not depend on where the data originates. SAP BW, SAP HANA, and SAP Business Objects Universe (UNX) data sources are treated the same, except for one exception (discussed later in this article). For this reason, in Figure 5, I show just the columns in the initial view of the data without disclosing its sources (for now).


Figure 5
The initial view of the data sources feeding the scorecard

The focus of this initial view is the row structure. Note that both country and calendar year are displayed. Now look at some of the additional properties of the scorecard (Figure 6).


Figure 6
Enter the Select Dimension in the Additional Properties tab of the scorecard properties

Note that even though the initial view in Figure 5 includes a Calendar year column with multiple years in the rows, the scorecard only has one row (score) for each country. This is because the up to Country option was selected from the drop-down list of options in the Select Dimension field in Figure 6.

Now look at one of the columns in the example scorecard. Additional columns can be added by clicking the plus icon in Figure 6. Click this icon once for each column you want to add. You can also start with a basic, two-column scorecard by clicking the Generate Initial Scorecard button.

In this exercise, click the plus icon five times to generate a scorecard with five columns. Notice that the Country column is segregated (on the left in Figure 6), whereas the other four columns (e.g., IO in ⱪ€ [incoming orders in euros], Status SV, %Share, and SV 2007) are grouped under the Performance Indicators header. A group header is created when a grouping of columns is created. This can be done easily by using the Ctrl key to select multiple columns (e.g., COLUNM_1, COLUMN_2, and so on, under Columns and Group Headers in Figure 6) and then clicking the Group button. Once a group is created, you can select the group and then scroll down to enter text for the group header, as shown in Figure 7.


Figure 7
Enter the group header text

Now I discuss formatting the columns. By selecting a column, you can configure the column type using a template. In this example, I show how the settings are made for the fourth column in the five-column scorecard in Figure 7. This six-step process is shown in Figure 8.


Figure 8
Configure the fourth column

Follow the step numbers in Figure 8 to configure the fourth column for the %Share scorecard:

  1. Select the column you want to configure by clicking it—in this case, COLUMN_4. This action opens the Cell Template drop-down field with the configuration options.
  2. Choose a template from the options—in this case, Comparison Chart, Fraction Pie.
  3. In the Actual Value section (under Cell Content), click the binding icon next to the Actual Value field. Then select Single Data Cell Value from the Binding Type field drop-down options.
  4. Choose a drop-down option from the Selected Data Cell field. This action opens the grid of data.
  5. Select a result (measure) row from the %Share overall column. (The pie chart will show this data.)
  6. Make sure the Selection is Relative in Row check box is selected (on the bottom right of the screen in Figure 8) and then click the OK button (not shown). This action creates a % Share entry in the fourth column for each country identified in the row. 

There are a lot of other configuration options—for example, adding some column header text and changing the fonts and backgrounds—but those are straightforward and can be done by changing the settings, as required, in Figure 8.

Configuring a Column with a Status Icon

Now I explain how to configure the third column, the Sales Volume EUR (sales volume in euros) column. A fourth disclosure is needed before proceeding.

The data source discussed previously comes from a BW Query that contains a conditional formatting setting that the BW system calls an exception, not conditional formatting. Either term means to format a cell based on the value of the measure in that cell. For example, over 1,000 is good = green.

Many of you may not be familiar with the term exception as it relates to BEx Queries (and another group won’t care because you use Universes or SAP HANA to feed Design Studio). For the latter group, later in this article I show an example that works with any source. For those who don’t know what a BEx Query exception is, refer to Figure 9. It shows the configuration of the exception in the BEx Query used as a feed to the scorecard example in Figure 3.


Figure 9
BEx Query-exception rules equal conditional formatting for status icons

Figure 9 shows that this collection of rules is called Status for Sales Volume and that different value ranges are assigned specific alert levels. What even experienced SAP BW users may not know is that these alert levels correspond to specific numeric flags with a value of 1 to 9. These flag values (status icons) are grouped as follows: values 1–3 = Good, values 4–6 = Critical, and values 7–9 = Bad.

This information is vital to the configuration of the scorecard. One final piece of configuration information that needs to be determined is which image (status icon) you want to use to represent good versus bad value ranges. The images used are stored on the BusinessObjects platform server. Figure 10 shows the available images. The naming convention for these images includes a number range, again 1 to 9, which corresponds to the values (numbers) in the respective ranges.


Figure 10
Images used for ratings (status icons) on a scorecard—green circle = Good (1–3), yellow diamond = Critical (4–6), and red square = Bad (7–9)

Now that I explained the BEx Query exceptions and the status-icon images that are offered, I review the configuration to create the third column in the scorecard in Figure 4. Figure 11 shows this configuration of the third column, the one with the traffic-light icons in Figure 10.


Figure 11
Configuration for the third-column status icons in the scorecard

Figure 11 shows some important settings highlighted by arrows.

At the top, the Cell Template option selected is the Content Display for Values, Texts and Images. The settings for the text in the column (for example, shown as the number 5,331,300 in column three with the red square icon on its left in Figure 4), is straightforward and configured following the same steps taken earlier to configure the fourth column. In this example, the focus is on the fields in the Icon area of the configuration in Figure 11.

Here are the details:

  1. Set the Binding Type to Conditional Format Value.
  2. The Selected Data Cell points to the sales volume column in the data set. However, because the binding type selected is Conditional Format Value, this means the value of the cell selected is not used. Rather, the 1–9 conditional values that are linked to the Status for Sales Volume exception rule that originate in the BEx Query are used instead.
  3. Select the exception rule details in the Conditional Format field (e.g., Status for Sales Volume) from the drop-down options.
  4. The trickiest part comes in the conditional values area. To access this section, click the conditional-binding icon  (to the right of the Binding Type field). This action opens a search screen (not shown) in which you can search for and then select an image to use in the BusinessObjects platform. (Note that, in this case, the image selected is in a folder named Images, but where you store images is up to you.) In addition, you’re only using the image you select as an aid to get the naming convention of the image path. In this example I selected any of the status (e.g., .gif) images (highlighted in Figure 10) as a starting point. Then I used a variable (the variable is {value}) to replace the suffix of the actual image to dynamically change actual image because the {value} returns the internal number 1 through 9 of the condition based on sales. For example, if the sales number is 8,000,000, the condition in Figure 9 would return Critical 2. Critical 2 internally is represented by the number five. This means that the image used for this record would be set to status_5. In this way, the default image changes based on the value of the sales and how the sales range was identified (either as Good, Critical, or Bad) in the exception rule from the BEx Query.
Conditional Formatting for Other Data Sources

Now I address the second scorecard and explore how to use conditional images representing good and bad when the data does not originate in a BW Query exception.

Figure 12 shows the initial view of data that could originate from anywhere (Universes, SAP HANA, or SAP BW). What is important is that the data includes a column (e.g., Planning Status) that numerically identifies a row as good or bad.


Figure 12
The initial view of the data for the second scorecard

In this example, the data source for the Planning Status column is the planned order entry quantity. As you can see, it is low for the countries AE and IT (9) and GB (6), and very high for NO (1). Now I explain the configuration of a scorecard that puts an image behind these status values. Figure 13 shows the second scorecard that scores this data. (In this example, the focus is on the second column, as it has both a measure, Planned Order Quantity, and an image [status icon]).


Figure 13
The display of the second scorecard

The configuration for this scorecard does not rely on BEx Query conditions, but rather, uses the Planning Status column values to drive the selection of the icon images. This is because only the BEx Query provides this internal exception-status icon. So instead of using the variable ({value}) to read the internal status at the exception level to select the images dynamically (as done previously), you need another way to do this when the data is sourced without a BEx Query.

Figure 14 shows this other configuration option for the second column of this smaller scorecard in Figure 13. Again, the Order Entry Quantity is straightforward; thus, my focus is on the images (icons) in the second column.


Figure 14
Another option for configuring the second column of the second scorecard

Here are the settings for this alternative way to configure the status icon when the source is not a BEx Query:

  1. The Header Text is not bound to any data source; it is simply selected as Planned Order Quantity.
  2. The text in the column (the Text options under Cell Content) uses the Single Data Cell Value Binding Type (e.g., the Order Entry Quantity column). This changes for each country—or not—based on the setting of the Selection is Relative in a Row check box.
  3. The icon is also bound to a single data cell (not the conditional format value as was previously the case), as shown in Figure 14 (e.g., the dotted-line arrow). Also, as was discussed, the planning status is again set to Selection is Relative in Row. This is so the Planning Status for AE (United Arab Emirates) is 9 and for NO (Norway) it is 1 (the bottom left of Figure 14).
  4. Select the conditional format icon to open the Keys to Match – Conditional Values section.
  5. In this case, choose the exact image for each planning status number, either 1 or 9. If the value is other than a 1 or 9, then a default image (e.g., status_6.gif) is automatically selected.
  6. At the bottom, select Text with Icon from the drop-down options in the Display Mode field, and then click the OK button (not shown).

The result of these settings is shown in the scorecard in Figure 13.

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Ned Falk

Ned Falk (ned.falk@sap.com) is a senior education consultant at SAP. In prior positions, he implemented many ERP solutions, including SAP R/3. While at SAP, he initially focused on logistics. Now he focuses on SAP HANA, SAP BW (formerly SAP NetWeaver BW), SAP CRM, and the integration of SAP BW and SAP BusinessObjects tools.



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