SAP’s Web Intelligence Keeps Getting Smarter:

What’s New in BusinessObjects 4.2 SP05?

SAP BusinessObjects’ Web Intelligence is one of the most mature enterprise reporting tools in the universe…bad pun, sorry :), but it continues to get smarter and more enterprise friendly. What do I mean by that? Well, reports are written to be consumed by many people in many different business roles and on many devices, so Web Intelligence needs to be able to support all of these scenarios.

Scheduling reports and publishing personal “slices” of report data has been a fundamental feature for the longest time, however, the most advanced business rules had to be custom written using the Enterprise SDK (not for everyone!) or by using 3rd party solutions. BusinessObjects 4.2 SP05 reduces the need for this by getting smarter with delivery rules, exporting, querying and charting. Let’s take a look.

Smarter Scheduling: Delivery Rules:

Delivery Rules have now been added for scheduling reports.  Before 4.2 sp05 there wasn’t an easy way to know whether a scheduled report either retrieved no data or if there were partial results.  The report would always get a Successful indication when either of these 2 conditions were met.  This ultimately could cause user confusion when opening a document from a scheduled instance with no data, or using the incomplete data from a report with partial results.  Both instances could cause user confidence in the Business Objects environment to falter.

The instance in the reports history will show the status that you picked.

With the new delivery rules, you can now set your scheduled instance to have a status of ‘Warning’ or ‘Failed’ when there is either Partial Results or No Data.  You can set the Delivery Rules for both conditions at the same time or independent of each other.

Clicking on the status shows the Status Details where you can see why the report instance received its designation.  Whether you set the instance to Warning or Failed, the status detail wording remains the same.

Going one step further, you could then add a Notification to the scheduled instance letting you know that the report wasn’t delivered.  This now allows you to pro-actively notify the reports users of the issue as well as to start investigating the cause. This functionality has also been added to Fiori Launchpad as well, as you can see below.

Smarter Export: Export to CSV Archive & HTML

SAP BusinessObjects 4.2 SP05 now also allows scheduled instances to be exported to CSV Archive as the data appears on the report and HTML.  This is a feature many of our customers have been crying out for.

When using CSV Archive, a .zip folder is creating containing a .csv file for each report (tab) in the document.  This should come in very handy when exporting data that was compiled using multiple queries or when different layouts of the data are needed.

The HTML Archive also creates a .zip folder when finished.  The .zip folder contains a Chrome index.html file, a javascript file and a folder for each tab in the report with a Chrome .html file for the report and an images folder. These views can then be rendered independently from the BI platform or Web Intelligence Viewer, say on a company intranet or shared with a 3rd party.

Smarter Query Panel: Custom SQL Source Change

Custom SQL changes are now preserved, on some conditions, after the source of the query has been changed.  This feature can be useful when converting .unv universes to .unx.  Reports with custom SQL in them should not be affected now when switching the source of the report.

Another feature is that the Query Panel now keeps its size and the number of sections open, Query Filters, Data Preview Pane, Scope of Analysis, etc, from the last time the query panel was opened/altered.  You no longer have to resize the panel each time you update or view the query, this improves the user experience.

A warning is also now generated if you add an object to a report that has custom SQL in it.  The alert lets you know that the custom script has been reset.  You can then make the decision to save the report or start over.  It seems that this feature only works when removing an object from the query.  I wasn’t able to trigger the warning when adding an object.

Parity between WebI, DeskI & Interactive Viewer:

For all you DeskI lovers out there…hello? SAP has taken further steps to reduce the difference between DeskI and WebI.

WebI now allows you to create Same Level Breaks, the ability to combine multiple dimensions into a single break, as well as Value Based Breaks, defining breaks based on values within the document.  Other changes include the ability export to HTML, Class names to be Exported to Excel, if the objects have the same name within the Universe, and to automatically ‘Delete trailing blanks’ from objects within the query.  The option for deleting trailing blanks from objects within the report can be found in the Properties of the Query Panel.

As for Interactive Viewer (from Fiori Launchpad), you now have the ability to enable folding actions on Sections, Blocks, and Table Breaks.  Other new Interactive Viewer features include: adding, editing and deleting Comments on a document; the addition of Undo and Redo buttons in the document toolbar and First and Last page buttons.  There are now advanced “Save As” options for the Document and Categories as well as exporting individual Reports (tabs) to Excel, PDF, and HTML. All of these additions make the new HTML5 viewer a very compelling option, particularly for new users who don’t need to create or edit reports.

Smarter Charts:

There is improved Chart Interactivity for Tooltips, Element Linking, Drill and Drill Focus. Expanding/Collapsing hierarchies has also been added.

The charts themselves now render in HTML5, making them clearer and presenting some interesting options for customization.

I’m glad to see SAP investing in Web Intelligence and bringing some of the modern look and feel of Fiori UI to the BI Platform. It’s a welcome refresh and certainly is being well received by nearly everyone I’ve shown it to.

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By |2018-09-02T17:39:42+00:00January 30th, 2018|BI4.2, Kingfisher, Web Intelligence|0 Comments

About the Author:

Mike is an accomplished Senior Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing consultant with Consultancy by Kingfisher. His background in large scale Retail Data Warehousing and Analytics projects provide a perfect blend of technical and functional experience and allows him to delve into a company’s data and extract meaningful, actionable intelligence. When he’s not coaching or watching rugby, he can be reached at Michael.Schwenker@kingfisherinc.com.