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Building Reports with SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence

Q&A with BI 2017 Speaker Kristof Gramm

April 13, 2017

SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence allows you to create reports faster using templates, stylesheets, and simple guidelines. How can you use templates to streamline and accelerate the report creation process? What elements should be included in operational, analysis, and dashboard reports?

Read the transcript of the dicussion with SAPinsider BI 2017 Amsterdam speaker Kristof Gramm to learn about best practices for building reports with SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence. Get expert advice on topics like creating cascading stylesheets, integrating SAPUI5 icons, and more. Questions include:

  • When will JAVA-SDK be fully replaced by REST-API?
  • hat is an authored universe?
  • What’s the best way to set up authorization to prevent users from seeing other profit center data?
  • Could you please introduce SAP Fiori-style for SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence?

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Meet the panelist: 

Kristof Gramm, IT-Logix
Kristof is Knowledge Steward and Partner with IT-Logix, Switzerland. In his role as senior consultant and solution architect, he has successfully delivered extensive BI solutions and analytical dashboards for his customers. Kristof focuses on project management and requirements engineering as well as data visualisation, dashboard design, and presentation. He is also well known as trainer and speaker. His knowledge is proved by an M.Sc. in Information Management, different SAP certifications and many project references.

Live Blog Building Reports with SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence

Matthew Shea: Welcome to today’s Q&A on building reports with SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence! I’m pleased to be joined today by BI 2017 speaker Kristof Gramm of IT-Logix! Kristof will share his expert advice on topics like creating cascading stylesheets, integrating SAPUI5 icons, and more. Thank you for taking the time today to answer questions, Kristof!

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): Thank you, Matt! Let’s get started!

Comment From Guest: What are the features available for geoanalytics in SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence?

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): You can convert your country or city dimension into latitude and longitude dimensions and create different types of maps on top of this. Check out the geo map section in this blog: The conversion is limited to bigger cities depending on your country.

Comment From Guest: How do you manage a chart like a Gantt in SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence? Is there a way to manage a timeline like a basic Gantt chart?

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): There is no built-in Gantt chart available so far. Vote for this idea at idea place: or try to create your own chart extension. There is an example in the comments here:

Comment From Guest: In the filter bar (infoview), how do you search and select more than one element? I know that with control input we can do it, but filter bar should be more flexible.

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): The filter bar is only limited to an “equal to” filter. You could create a variable to group some elements and filter on this variable, but it is not as flexible as an input control.

Comment From Guest I am not sure if this is in scope, but we would like to be able to lunch a BO report/prompt directly from SAP ECC — is it possible or in the road map?

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): It is not possible so far. You need to create a universe like the one described here:

Comment From AbdulRafay: Hi Kristoff. What is the easiest way to swap BEx queries in a report? If multi-provider-based BEx queries are used, I get many errors when trying to change the source to a composite-provider-based BEx query.

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): It is always difficult to swap your data source to a different connection — you need to be sure to match the correct datatype and so on. There are also some notes available regarding composite provider access.

Comment From Steven: Could you please introduce SAP Fiori-style for SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence?

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): The SAP Fiori-style will be available with 4.2 SP4 in May. It provides a completely new interface with the same layout as already seen in SAP Fiori. This will only be relevant for the view-time. The SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence design mode will not be affected and still look the same.

There is a blog available covering the new features in SP4 and the Fiori style option — see SAP BI 4.2 SP4: What’s New in Web Intelligence and Semantic Layer

Comment From BONovice: What’s the best way to set up authorization to prevent users from seeing other profit center data?

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): This should be best done on the database/query-side. Within your universe, you might set up some restrictions with security profiles — see the blog post Implementing row level security in IDT using Data Security Profile.

Comment From Tjwan: Will you demo SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence?

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): This is only a Q&A. If you attend BI2017 in Amsterdam, I could demo you the features after my session. If you are new to SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, you could check out the YouTube tutorials:

Comment From MadhuA: How can we keep custom palette style permanent in the manage palettes area without creating a new custom palette each time for each chart?

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): You can read the “how-to” in this great blog-post written by Dallas Marks: Corporate color palettes in Web Intelligence.

Comment From Guo: Hi, how do you set relative position between block/tables? It seems it’s only to the edges.

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): You only have the edges as reference points. If you want to overlay blocks/tables, you need to refence to the left edge. Hope this answers your question.

Comment From AbdulRafay: Should we continue to use BEx queries via BICS or will there be an option to build a universe on BEx queries and/or DSO in SAP Business Warehouse?

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): Starting from 4.2 SP3, you can create an authored universe on top of SAP Business Warehouse. But there is no need to switch immediately to this option. Direct connection via BICS is still supported and will continue to be in future releases.

Comment From Guest: Hi Kristof. Going back to a previous question, we would like to know if from inside SAP ECC we can launch a BO report for a universe already created. We would like to view a report that has been created in BO Infoview, but directly from inside SAP transactions.

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): I am not an SAP ECC expert, but it might work if you launch a Opendocument-URL pointing to your report on the BO launchpad. The Opendocument syntax is described in this document:

Comment From Steven: If I change the calculation view, and I can use refresh structure to change the data foundation — but I can’t refresh the business layer, and I always have to delete and recreate. Do you have a simpler way to do this?

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): No, this is a limitation. If you do a check integrity upfront, you will get all the objects highlighted that need to be changed.

Comment From AbdulRafay: Can you please advise on performance tuning for BEx based reports? How do you ensure query stripping works for relational connection based universes? Will the use of Simba relational connection drivers (3rd party) stop data federation and have the database do the aggregations instead?

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): You could check the Performance Optimizing Tips here Tips for Optimizing the Performance of Web Intelligence Documents and specific for SAP Business Warehouse here Performance Optimization for Webi Report based on BW BEx Queries. I have no experience with Simba, so I could not comment on this. If you have a relational universe, always check for proper measure delegation and correct aggregation.

Comment From Sanjay: With some basic design changes — like having input controls directly on the report — can give almost all the capabilities of building dashboards in SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, which will be very powerful. Does SAP Fiori-style support that?

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): No. SAP Fiori-style will have a filter panel on top of the report. But within this, all filters are available at one point, not at three like in the old versions. You can do some tricks to create dropdowns with HTML and Javascript directly in your SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence report but this is not recommended for production.

Comment From BONovice: What is an authored universe?

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): Authored universe means with SP3 in IDT, you can connect directly to a BEx query without Java connector or data federator — it uses the BICS technology. Within the IDT, you can now make changes to the business layer to provide better semantics. Also, you can change how your measures are delegated.

Comment From Ewald: When will JAVA-SDK be fully replaced by REST-API?

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): Sorry, I do not know a specific date for this.

Comment From Ewald: How long will UNV universes be supported?

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): There is no end of support announced yet. But for future development, I would recommend you switch to UNX.

Comment From Guo: The relative position feature used to be very flexible and allowed us to set distance between table 1, table 2, and so on — or even from a table to standalone cells. Are you saying the only option we have is to the edges now? No workarounds? Will this be enhanced in the future?

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): This feature still exists in the current versions. Maybe I have misunderstood your question. You can still set relative positions between tables and even free cells. If this does not work in your current version, you should ask SAP support to help you. Depending on your version, this note might help you: 661501 - Unable to set the relative position of the table relative to the section in a Web Intelligence report.

Matthew Shea: Thank you for all your great questions today. Kristof is finishing the last few answers now.

Comment From FK: Does the drilldown into table feature works with an authored universe that is based on a BEx query? For example, see Web Intelligence 4.0: Drill down into a table.

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): There will be a new feature in SP4 where you are able to flatten out your hierarchies (SAP BI 4.2 SP4: What’s New in Web Intelligence and Semantic Layer), so this feature might already be available with direct query access.

So far, you can already drilldown the tree structure across a hierarchy from SAP Business Warehouse in SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence — but with fold/unfold and not SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence built-in drill function: BW Hierarchy (Tree Structure) in Webi Report.

Matthew Shea: Thank you, Kristof, for your time and for your insightful answers!

Kristof Gramm (@kbgramm): Thank you, Matt, and all participants. If you join BI2017 in Amsterdam, you can find me at my sessions ( or follow me on Twitter @kbgramm.

Matthew Shea: You can review the Q&A chat replay at any time, and I will alert you by email when the transcript of today’s discussion is posted.

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4/13/2017 10:07:11 AM

relative position feature used to be very flexible and allowed us to set distance between table 1, table 2... or even table to stand alone cells. Are you saying the only option we have is to the edges now? No workarounds? Will this be enhanced in the future?


4/13/2017 9:33:52 AM

Hi, I can not find the ways to set relative position between block/tables, seems it's only to the edges. Can you please help? Thanks.


4/13/2017 8:10:43 AM

How can we keep 'Custom Palette Style' permanent in Manage palettes area without creating each time a new custom palette for each chart?

Sylvia Zablocka from Sandvik

4/6/2017 3:42:00 AM

Is this live session going to be recorded? Can I have live Q and A material emailed to me or is there going to be a link to where the material can be made available? I will be traveling exactly during the hours when the live Q and A will take place. Please kindly advise. Thank you.