Advantages of New HANA Views in SAP Web Intelligence

In the versions of Web Intelligence 4.1 and earlier, the only way to report on SAP HANA data was to create a connection to HANA database and then import the tables and/or Views to the Data Foundation layer.

In the later Service Packs of 4.1, the options to automatically create the business layer dimensions and measures from the view components and the ability to handle the prompts and more insight into metadata of these views was added.

Beginning with Web Intelligence 4.2, the ability to create a relational connection to HANA database and create a universe with the base tables and/or views available in HANA and publish them to the users is still made available. But more importantly, the SAP HANA Direct Access was introduced in this version.

We can now bypass the need to create a Universe completely and instead we can leverage the pre-built views in the HANA system and use them directly for reporting.

This ability to directly connect to HANA and use the pre-defined views eliminates the development cycle of Universes, publishing and maintaining them. Instead of waiting on the Universe developers to develop and publish the universe, users can access the views directly from the HANA system and also delegate the calculations and processing of data to the HANA platform, thus leveraging the robust computational power of HANA in-memory processing systems.

Now, let’s discuss the process of using different types of HANA views and the advantages of using them in WebI Reports.

There are two options available in Web Intelligence to report on HANA Views:

  1. SAP HANA Direct Access – select an SAP HANA view as a data source
  2. SAP HANA Online Mode – connect to live data in an SAP HANA view

Working with SAP HANA Direct Access

Queries can be built directly on SAP HANA views with SAP HANA Direct Access data providers. A transient universe is generated on the fly when you use SAP HANA Direct Access connection so that you can create queries on an SAP HANA view. These queries are then executed for data retrieval in Web Intelligence reports. These SAP HANA Direct Access data providers can be created on Relational Connections or OLAP Connections.

Advantages:

SAP HANA views can be used as data sources to create WebI reports without using universes. We can leverage the data modeling concepts used to create the SAP HANA Views and use them directly, without having to re-create the same logic using Universes and base HANA Tables.

Here is how we can create a WebI report from HANA Views. Create a new WebI report and select the Data Source as SAP HANA as shown below:

Now select the HANA Connection and choose a view that you are interested in:

Choose the objects that you are interested in:

And create a report using conversions and formulas as you normally would:

Working with SAP HANA Online

In SAP HANA Online mode, you can create Web Intelligence documents with live data leveraging the power of SAP HANA. All objects that are available in the SAP HANA view will appear in the Web Intelligence report outline area as available objects. You can create or insert report blocks using these data source objects. You will not have a query panel to add or remove objects.

Advantages

The advantage of using SAP HANA Online mode is that every report operation that requires a calculation is delegated to SAP HANA via a query execution that only returns data you actually need, thus leveraging the power of SAP HANA.

When you delegate calculations to SAP HANA, Web Intelligence no longer needs to fill its cache to create queries and can bypass the Query Panel. As a result, you can create queries on the fly in a transient universe. This enables quicker interactions between Web Intelligence and SAP HANA and provides better performance for data refresh.

Here is how we create a WebI report based on SAP HANA Online mode:

Once you select the connection, choose the view that you are interested to report from:

Once you choose this view, you will directly go to the WebI design mode. You will notice that the option to edit the query is deactivated and also you will see ALL objects that are available in the view in your Available Objects pane. Choose the dimensions and measures and create a report as shown below.

Conclusion

Some things to think about when choosing Hana connectivity options for your Web Intelligence reports are:

Does my Calculation View (in Hana) have the right amount of information exposed for these ad-hoc / reporting needs? If the answer is “No” then maybe there is too much information for my end users to find the right information. Consider creating a sub-set view in Hana and exposing that, or use the “SAP Hana” option and limit the result set in the Query Panel.

Do I need to schedule the report and publish to select users (Bursting)? – If so, use the “SAP Hana” option.

Do I need, or want, to use Shared Elements or other advanced report level processing like Grouping? If so, use the “SAP Hana” option!

Otherwise, use the “Online” option to maximize the power of the Hana engine.

If this blog didn’t quite answer your question or you have other Business Intelligence questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

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