Universe

A universe full of data – the Information-Design-Tool 

A short introduction to the Information-Design-Tool (IDT)

Nowadays any big company takes part in the process of globalization and the transfer of products, but also the global transfer of information. It is not a big surprise for a German company to take a decision based on a report with data provided from the other part of the planet. But how can we put together all this data and information? Let’s create an own universe full of data! Yes, a new universe is the solution. But how can we manage a universe? Read the next rows and you will discover how to become a master of universes.

All magic elements are coming from the heart

The heart of HANA System:

Business Layer Structure

Figure 1: Business Layer Structure – Source: Internal training – IDT Presentation

The first step in order to create a universe is to create a view. This first brick in our “Chinese Wall” is called SAP HANA Information Modeler, also known as HANA Data Modeler in the heart of HANA System. It enables users to create modeling views at the top of database tables and implement business logic to create a meaningful report for analysis.

There are three types of Information Views

Defined as:

Attribute View Analytic View Calculation View
  • Attribute views are dimensions, BW characteristics or master data.
  • Attribute views are used to join to a dimension or attribute view. 
  • In most cases used to model master data like entities (like product, employee, and business partner).
  • Analytic views are star schemas or fact tables surrounded by dimensions, calculations or restricted measures.
  • Analytic views are typically defined on at least one fact table that contains transactional data along with number of tables or attribute views.
  • Analytic views leverage the computing power of SAP HANA to calculate aggregated data, e. g., the number of bikes sold per country, or the maximum power consumed per month.
  • Calculation views are composite views used on top of analytical and attribute views.
  • It can perform complex calculations which are not possible with other views.
  • It can be defined as either graphical views or scripted views depending on how they are created. Graphical views can be modeled using the graphical modeling features of the SAP HANA Modeler. Scripted views are created as sequences of SQL statements.

Figure 2 Short description of each type of SAP HANA View. Source: http://saphanatutorial.com/sap-hana-modeling/ (Entire data from the table is taken from this source)

Once we have the first brick, the view, we can start to do a concert. This role is played by IDT (Information-Design-Tool).

According to Information Design Tool User Guide, published by SAP, the Information-Design-Tool is an SAP BusinessObjects metadata design environment that enables a designer to extract, define, and manipulate metadata from relational and OLAP sources to create and deploy SAP BusinessObjects universes.

The universe designer may be a database administrator, an applications manager or developer, a project manager, or a report creator who has acquired enough technical skills to create universes for other users. A security administrator also uses the Information-Design-Tool to define universe security profiles. There can be more than one universe designer in a company. The number of universe designers depends on the company’s data requirements. For example, one universe designer could be appointed for each application, project, department or functional area.

A universe is an organized collection of metadata objects that enable business users to analyse and report on corporate data in a non-technical language.

These objects include

  • Dimensions
  • Measures
  • Hierarchies
  • Attributes
  • Pre-defined calculations
  • Functions
  • Queries

The metadata object layer, called the business layer, is built on a relational database schema or an OLAP cube, so the objects map directly to the database structures via SQL or MDX expressions. A universe includes connections identifying the data sources so queries can be run on the data.

The role of the universe

The role of the universe is to provide the business user with semantically understandable business objects. The user is free to analyse data and create reports using relevant business language regardless of the underlying data sources and structures.

Example of an universe

Figure 3: Printscreen from an universe – Source: Internal training – IDT Presentation Inspiricon SRL

Steps to create a universe:

  1. Create a new project in IDT
  2. Create a connection between HANA System and our project from IDT
  3. Create a business layer
  4. Publish to a repository

For an easier understanding, please keep in mind that universes enable the business users too freely and securely access, analyze, enrich and share information using familiar business terms. Another important aspect is, that universes do not store data from HANA or add any performance overhead.

Universes created using the Information-Design-Tool can be used by the following SAP BusinessObjects data analysis and reporting applications starting with version BI 4: SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, SAP BusinessObjects Dashboard Design.

You can find more details about IDT and the description of every step for the process of creating a universe in the next article – stay tuned!

Source: https://help.sap.com/doc/businessobject_product_guides_boexir4_de_xi4sp8_info_design_tool_de_pdf/XI4.0.8/de-DE/xi4sp8_info_design_tool_de.pdf

Author
Ionel-Calin Oltean Consultant SAP BI/BW
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: cluj@inspiricon.de
Your career at Inspiricon

Your Career at Inspiricon

Hello community,
For a change, we are not talking or writing about a technical-related topic – today, I will present you three of my colleagues who started as Juniors at Inspiricon and who will share the story about their career path:
Ana is Team Lead of our Cross Technology Team.
Lorena and Diego are both Junior Consultants SAP BI.

Hi Ana, Lorena and Diego – we start straight away at the beginning:

What were the key influencing-factors concerning your career choice?

Ana: My first contact with programming was in 7th grade. I had a course called TIC where I learned peseudocod and Pascal and then I fell in love with programming. Since then I knew that’s what I want to do, and I chose a high school where I could study computer science.

Lorena: I like everything that means science and that’s why I chose a faculty based on computer mathematics. After all, my job is based on science.

Diego: The most influencing factor for my career was and still is my father, who also is a consultant and showed me the points that would interest me to work with BI.

How did you find Inspiricon? Or rather, why did you choose to work at Inspiricon?

Ana: I think they chose me. Before Inspiricon, I worked in a German company where the project manager was one of the co-founders of Inspiricon.

Lorena: I found this post on the internet and I applied it from the curiosity to learn new things.

Diego: I found Inspiricon when I was specifically searching for SAP BI opportunities in Germany on the Indeed website. What attracted me the most to join Inspiricon was the enthusiasm with which the company was presented to me with concrete plans for the company as well as my personal development.

Please tell us in your own words, how your job evolved from your first day until now.

Ana: I was lucky to be part of a team that managed to read my skills and guide me in my career. I love what I do. Being in the company from the beginning, I was able to see many processes and learn a lot: how to build a company, how to win a project, how to develop a project from scratch. I managed to evolve from a simple programmer to a team leader, and that’s because the people who guided me trusted in me. That’s why I’m not afraid of new challenges.

Lorena: I started this job without any knowledge in this domain. But after a year in Inspiricon I can say that I learned a lot of things. I have improved my knowledge and every day I learn new things.

Diego: I could feel my professional development along of this first year working for Inspiricon. Not only technically, but also regarding my relationship to the customer, as well as other relevant skills for a consultant. I would say that the personal coaching I receive is an important factor for this development.

What features are characteristic for working at Inspiricon? Is there something special you did not hear about before? Is there a difference between Inspiricon and other employers?

Ana: First of all, it feels like family and I come to work with pleasure. I don’t think you can find something like this in every company. Being a small company, we have the chance to be much more united and transparent. We are connected as much as possible and we always deal with new challenges. The beautiful part is that we have built friendly relations and we do not only meet at work, we go out and have fun outside the working time.

Lorena: At Inspiricon we are like a family, we help each other and share our knowledge.

Diego: Inspiricon managed to develop its own culture. It is very easy to fit in with its very welcoming environment. Inspiricon is professional, but often worried about having a health environment for us to work. The periodic meetings keep us inside of what is happening and we are welcome to present and work with our own ideas.

If you could change something at your job, what would it be?

Ana: Maybe the location in Cluj (I would love to have a place to relax outside). As far as the organization of the company is concerned, I have nothing to object at the moment.

Lorena: I do not have to change something at my job, because here we are like a family and I like my job.

Diego: I would say traveling is something that as a consultant you must constantly do, it is the point I like very much, but the excess of it can be quite exhausting.

Now follows a question for you 2 women: The IT world still is rather a man’s world – do you feel treated differently as women compared to your male colleagues?

Ana: Maybe on women’s day when we get flowers. I do not feel treated differently from a male employee what seems to me normal. All employees should be treated the same way, either men or women.

Lorena: I do not feel treated differently as women compared to my male colleagues because everybody is free to choose their job and you do not have to be a man to be good in this domain.

Is there a tip you have for job entrants based on your experience so far?

Ana: Treat every problem in the company as if it would be your problem – that will help you to be more committed and involved. I think it will give you satisfaction when you see your results.
And another important thing is to be always open and transparent with anything. Because in general for everything there is a solution as long as you know how to communicate.

Lorena: If you like your job, you will always progress.

Diego: The beginning is always hard, but there is always someone ready to help and to support you.

Finally an outlook into the future: What goals did you set for your job (at Inspiricon)?

Ana: For now I am focused on building my own team(s) and have a positive impact for the „team players“. This I think will bring me satisfaction and would mean that I have developed professionally.

Lorena: I want to make more progress and I wish for my work and my knowledge to be useful to everyone.

Diego: In only one year’s time I have been working at Inspiricon, its sustainable growth and maturity gain is already visible to me. I expect to keep developing my career as a consultant and contributing to Inspiricon’s development.

Thanks guys for your time and your answers – I wish you all the best for your future at Inspiricon!

You want to become a part of our success story? Start with us now and checkt out our job offers – And if you can’t find anything right away, you are more than welcome to submit an open application.

Author
Linda Vogt Marketing
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: info@inspiricon.de
BI Academy at Inspiricon

BI Academy at Inspiricon

The BI Academy and how to get from zero to hero

The BI Academy at Inspiricon is a home grown training programme that we designed in order to have a sustainable growth of the team. We based this training on previous leadership experience, technical expertise and commitment from participants and trainers alike. The programme has been going on for two years and has had a throughout positive impact (for us: talented junior consultants). It is being upgraded and adapted continuosly to fit the always-changing market, always improving and adding quality and content.

How does our Academy work?

First of all, we should talk about the purpose and the approach we have in the BI Academy. To put it shortly, the academy serves two purposes:

  1. Firstly, it is meant to give the opportunity to young interns to get structured know-how and,
  2. secondly, to consolidate or add know-how in new areas for existing consultants.

Taking that into account we designed two different tracks: the fast track and the enhancement track.

The fast track

The fast track is meant for juniors who start from scratch. They go through an intensive business scenario oriented course in which they tackle a wide variety of subjects – which means: all hands on deck or the ship goes down! They are stimulated both on the technical level, but also have to develop their soft skills. They learn how to collect requirements, negotiate and manage conflicting objectives, give and receive feedback. The environment created in this way challenges the whole team as trainers need to answer ever-increasing complex questions from the junior side. This also translates in an integration in the team as they interact with all team members.

Looking at the numbers, it becomes visible we are not focused on quantity, but rather on quality, forming small working groups that can outperform the high turnover rate of competing companies. In the past 2 years, no less than 13 young professionals have started the academy of which 6 are on board since then and 2 are in the process of onboarding.

During the 2+ months, interns go through a curricula that is comprised of:

  1. Introduction to the SAP landscape
  2. Basics of SAP BW
  3. Modelling on a business scenario
  4. SAP Reporting
  5. ABAP in BW
  6. SAP BW on HANA
  7. SAP Business Objects

The enhancement track

The enhancement track is our on-going know-how exchange system in which all team members contribute. Topics are requested or proposed by the team on a regular basis and are followed by hands-on-workshops which are organised for different levels and skill sets. Any specific subjects can be taken from a junior to an advanced level, as per team requirements. What we end up with is a very fluid learning system which is tailored to the team’s needs. The results are very visible in the increasing skill set of the members and the constant collaboration of cross project and cross technology teams.

All in all, the training programme has added value to our team, and in turn, to our company and will continue to do so in the future.

Would you like to learn more about the BI Academy? Contact us now for more information and the next starting dates.

Author
Victor Livadaru Team Lead SAP BI
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: cluj@inspiricon.de

SAP Lumira 2.0 – the next level

What are the new features? What can users do with Lumira 2.0? We will answer these questions today.

SAP Lumira 1.x

SAP Lumira is a tool dedicated to self-service BI. The strategy behind this SAP Product is focused on users’ autonomy in dashboard creation and analysis with a simple mouse click as well as drag and drop. But this simplicity is also a limitation when it comes to flexibility and functionality, especially compared to what Web Intelligence or SAP Design Studio can offer.

SAP Design Studio 1.x

SAP Design Studio is a tool dedicated to developers and users who need to access very high and advanced functionalities to create interactive dashboards. Design Studio offers more flexibility but also needs more coding skills with JavaScript to develop all the functionalities. As a result Design Studio is often hard to understand and to work with for end users.

Now, what is SAP Lumira 2.0?

SAP Lumira 2.0 is a merging of two tools, SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio 1.x and SAP Lumira 1.x into one powerful tool for visualization and self-services analytics with two user interfaces (Lumira Discovery and Lumira Designer). It combines all benefits and compatibilities of both tools. Business and IT needs are met in order to become a leader in analytics. The workflow between data discovery, data consumption and the creation of dashboards and analytics applications is simplified. SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio and SAP Lumira share the same server component and also have the same file format.

Deployment von SAP Lumira 2.x

Deep in SAP Lumira 2.0

The principle of SAP Lumira 2.0 is very simple:

  1. Import the data from any source
  2. Build your visualizations with your data
  3. Make a short summary into dashboards
  4. Distribute the dashboards to the consumers

There is a separation of “simple” business users for Self-Service-BI and developers who can develop complex applications, shown in the graph below:

Different users of SAP Lumira

Furthermore, Lumira 2.0 offers the following features:

  • The users will have the possibility to open Lumira Desktop dashboards in Lumira Studio and vice versa.
  • The mobile users of Lumira Studio who want to work on their dashboards will benefit from offline mode even without having access to their company’s network.
  • The users will have the ability to use data from a source like SAP BW in Lumira Desktop.

Benefits of SAP Lumira

Conclusion

The integration and consolidation of this two tools is one step forward regarding the gap between IT and Business. It will allow more flexibility and a fast integration for IT and Business working on the same platform. We think that it is just the start and SAP will adjust the tool functionalities based on end customer’s reactions and suggestions after the first testing phase.
We will keep you posted so make sure you don’t miss our blog articles – follow us on facebook or LinkedIn!

Sources: https://blogs.sap.com/2016/11/14/sap-lumira-2.0-road-ahead-webcast-notes/, https://support.sap.com/content/dam/library/ssp/infopages/pam-essentials/TIP/SAP%20Lumira/SAP%20Lumira%202.0/SAPLUMIRA_PAM.pdf

Author
Christian Nangmo Consultant BI
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: info@inspiricon.de
SAP UX Calculator

The SAP UX Calculator – designed to uncover savings opportunities

User experience (UX) is about so much more than just making your user interfaces look “sexier”. The objective should be to reduce operational costs and enable your users to work more effectively. To this end, SAP has developed the UX Calculator that provides valuable insights into how much money can be saved.

We have already talked about UX in our blog. SAP Fiori is essential to crafting a great user experience – because SAP Fiori represents a new personalized, responsive, and simple experience across different devices. Read more about SAP Fiori here and in our blog.

The cornerstones of the UX Calculator

Using a SAP system can be very challenging sometimes, which means that employees need to be provided with the support they need. At the same time, the cost of training can be staggering.

SAP surveyed different end users and compiled information about their problems and wishes with regard to using SAP systems. In a project that was launched as a first test, they were able to reduce the number of clicks required by more than 40 percent. The test demonstrated that a new design powered by SAP Fiori is indeed capable of contributing to massive cost savings. And there’s another factor: You can use SAP Fiori to customize your user interface to reflect your corporate identity.

How improving the user experience with Fiori can save you money

Let us assume here that you are still using the traditional SAP user interfaces (Web Dynpro). The UX Calculator will ask questions about a range of components to identify the potential savings that can be achieved by switching to Fiori and optimizing the processes involved.

Among other things, you will be asked to specify the average salary of your employees, the number of training hours, and the cost per hour of training along with the frequency and cost of IT support tickets. The calculations will give you an idea of the cost savings and efficiency gains that would be possible for your company if you were to switch from the traditional user interfaces to a Fiori interface. This new interface can be adapted to meet the needs of your company’s specific processes.

What the SAP tool does

The UX Calculator performs a number of different calculations. SAP uses them to identify those lines of business that have the greatest potential for improvement and are therefore best suited for investment. It focuses on four core areas:

  • productivity
  • cost of training
  • IT support
  • and the number of cost-inducing errors.

The results of the UX calculation are leveraged to create a score, which in turn serves to identify the main problems and develop an improvement strategy.

SAP derives all values from actual customer data. The calculator compares the numbers obtained from other customers with those used in the calculation and puts them into relation. It calculates the rate of success by including the improvements achieved in previous projects. These have proven to be a reliable source for the calculation of improvement opportunities.

You can access SAP’s UX Calculator free of charge. All you need to do is go to the homepage and register (you can find the UX Calculator here). After entering just a couple of values, you will get a first impression of how you can improve your interfaces and cut costs in the process.

Please consider SAP’s official note: The UX Calculator results are an estimate only. Actual results and costs may vary and are contingent on a number of other factors that cannot be quantified by the tool. The tool is provided “as is” without warranties or guarantees of any kind, express or implied, and SAP shall under no circumstances be liable for any damages that may arise from the use of this tool.

Would you like to learn more about SAP Fiori and the opportunities it presents for you? Contact us today! We are looking forward to your call.

Author
Gerald Iakobinyi-Pich Software Architect
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: cluj@inspiricon.de
Enhancements in ABAP

ABAP enhancements – this is what’s new in NetWeaver 7.40

Easier, more direct, more intuitive

Hello everybody:

Today, we are going to get very technical yet again by taking a closer look at what’s new in ABAP. It’s not just SAP’s applications and tools that are evolving. SAP has also never stopped working on its very own programming language.

Over the coming weeks and months, we will provide you with regular insights into the language, the new tools, testing capabilities, and most importantly the applications in the field of SAP BW and HANA.

Today, we will start with a number of enhancements that ABAP has seen over the past years. Because these changes depend on the system version you are working with, there is a chance that they may still be very new to some of you, while others have been familiar with them for years. And then there may be those of you who to whom they are not even available yet.

A look back at NetWeaver 7.40

The release of NetWeaver 7.40 brought with it some really interesting news and changes in ABAP that have real potential to impact a developer’s day-to-day work. SAP’s own Horst Keller has published an excellent article on this. You can find it here.

ABAP 7.40 has been around since 2013. Since then, we have seen a number of adjustments in the form of different support packages. And even though it’s already 2017, it’s still “news” for many of our customers or “only now” becoming available because the language is tied to the NetWeaver release they are working with.

By now, we’ve had the pleasure of working with this version and the one after that (ABAP 7.5 is also available) for some of our customers ourselves. Unsurprisingly, there may be developers that have to bring themselves to embracing these new topics because that is not what they are used to and they are sure that there is more than one road to Rome.

Two specific examples of what’s new in ABAP

But let’s dive deeper. Here are some examples of how working with ABAP has changed:

To me, one of the most convenient changes is the INLINE DECLARATION. As with a number of other languages, this type of syntax allows you to declare the required data elements directly in the command.

Here’s one example:

This is what this looked like before 7.4:

Data: WA type line_of_itab.

Loop at itab into wa.

Endloop.

 

With 7.4:

Loop at itab into DATA(WA).

endloop

This not only saves you one line of source code, best of all it also means that implicit typing is taking place. Incidentally, this type of declaration also works for field symbols and other objects.

The “value” operator is yet another example of a useful adjustment SAP has made:

Before 7.4:

DATA itab TYPE t_itab.

DATA wa LIKE LINE OF itab.

 

wa-col1 = 1.

wa-col2 = 2.

APPEND wa TO itab.

wa-col1 = 3.

wa-col2 = 4.

APPEND wa TO itab.

 

meth( itab ).

 

With 7.5:

DATA(itab) = VALUE t_itab(

( col1 = 1 col2 = 2 )

( col1 = 3 col2 = 4 ) ).

meth( VALUE t_itab(

( col1 = 1 col2 = 2 )

( col1 = 3 col2 = 4 ) ) ).

This is yet another change that helps eliminate unnecessary lines and commands and, in my opinion, makes the source code much easier on the eyes.

ABAP makes a lot of things easier

Another example of simplification is the implementation of LHS = RHS, which means that commands such as “Move A to B” are now obsolete. All you need to do now is state that B = A and you’re done. The main advantage of this is that you can also concatenate these assignments and use them in function calls or method calls.

Other changes are notable in that they make the code much easier to read:

result = class=>do_something(EXPORTING p1 = … p2 = … IMPORTING p3 = … p4 = … CHANGING p5 = … p6 = … ).

With this, it feels like ABAP is moving closer to JAVA and other languages that allow us to use more complex parameters when passing method calls in-line. With 7.4, this now also works for exporting parameters and changing parameters (this was previously only possible with importing parameters).

Three new commands for transformations

There are three new commands that I personally like to mainly use in transformations:

DATA(lin) = lines( itab).

DATA(idx) = line_index( itab[ … ] ).

IF line_exists( itab[ … ] ).

ENDIF.

These commands make checking tables a lot easier. They return the number of lines, the index of a condition, and the check results. You can then go on to directly use all of these values. Before 7.4, you had to start by executing READ commands to determine these checks and there was no way to concatenate these commands. This forced many developers to use auxiliary variables and other such concoctions which did little to make the code easier to read.

Are you interested in ABAP or looking for an expert in the field? I would love to hear you questions or comments.

Yours,

Jörg

Author
Jörg Waldenmayer Team Lead Technology
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: info@inspiricon.de
SAP S/4HANA

To the top with SAP S/4HANA – how to conduct business in real-time

The economic world is getting more and more complex and connected. Core processes have to be integrated, simplified and made available in real-time in order for you to be ready for the challenges of digitalization. SAP S/4HANA offers all possibilities to simplify business processes in a digital world. There is an immediate added value at the same time as maximum usability. The application is based on the In-Memory platform SAP HANA. Together with SAP Fiori, it allows a user experience that you can usually find in the end-user world only.

There are two options available for SAP S/4HANA: cloud and on-premise. Integrate your business processes and departments and board a digitalized world – you can create a real added-value with S/4HANA.

Read more about SAP HANA in our blog.

Interested in SAP Fiori? Find more on our website and in our blog

SAP S/4HANA – the next generation

SAP S/4HANA is a In-Memory-ERP-Suite which supports the different technologies of the digital world. Among these are

  • Big Data
  • Mobile
  • Real-time analyses
  • IoT (Internet of Things)
  • as well as solutions of other software providers and business networks.

The ERP-Suite gives you as a business user insights that can be implemented at once. All integrated solution proposals go far beyond simple automation.

S/4HANA offers you several fundamental advantages

  • With S/4HANA you can benefit from a powerful In-Memory platform. It special architecture allows the simultaneous implementation of analytical processes (OLAP) and transactional processes (OLTP) – in real-time.
  • The data model has been facilitated radically. Aggregated and redundant data layers cease. You benefit from maximum flexibility and at the same time reduction memory space as well as a multiple increase in performance.
  • Scope and complexity of the coding have been tremendously reduced with S/4HANA. Data base building reduces data scope up to 90 percent. This improves speed of analyses as well as performance of transactions and simulations – in real-time.
  • The intuitive user interface of SAP Fiori visualizes all sources which are brought together in real-time. This also applies for mobile scenarios – so that usability is guaranteed for all devices. SAP Fiori offers a personalized, role-based and uniform user guidance.
  • SAP S/4HANA paves the way for optimized and innovative core business processes. Among these are procurement, production, stock management, sales and logistics, quality control as well as finance.
  • Furthermore it offers you the flexibility needed in order to transform your business processes.

Do you have any questions concerning SAP S/4HANA? We are looking forward to your call or your message.

 

Author
Jörg Waldenmayer Team Lead Technology
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: info@inspiricon.de
Inspiricon SAP-HANA planning application kit 1030x665

Fresh news from SAP Planning Tools

Author: Gabriela López de Haro, Senior BI Consultant

Today we would like to talk about planning. In particular we would like to focus on what what we can expect from the new HANA Planning Application Kit, what are the differences and advantages in comparison to the standard Integrated Planning.

But before we start, let´s first talk about the importance of planning:

Why planning?

Companies can benefit from improvements in the decision making process by planning. With the help of current, past data and some predictive analysis, companies can set goals for the future and predict what might happen. The comparison between actual and plan data helps to improve the process of planning.

Overview on SAP BI Planning Tools

In order to plan, it is necessary to have the ability to manually enter data in the system (input-ready query). This data entry functionality can be achieved in several different ways and with different tools, both in BI as well as in the transactional system.

What differentiates planning tools from the simple data entry functionality, is that it also offers the possibility to analyze data and generate complex planning scenarios. This can be achieved with the help of planning functions that range from the simple ones (copy, delete, repost, currency conversion) to more complex customer defined functions. Among the SAP BI Planning tools are:

Inspiricon_Evolution-of-BI-Planning

Evolution of BI Planning

Business Planning and Simulation (BPS)

Unlike Integrated Planning, it is not fully integrated into the BI system. Even though it was replaced by Integrated Planning, there are some planning functions that still run partially on BPS (i.e: Cost Center Retraction).

  • Planning levels, planning functions and sequences are created in transaction BPS0
  • Manual entries layouts, filters and variables are also created in transaction BPS0 and are not aligned with BEx queries, filters or variables.
  • The frontend is also not integrated with the BI tools. Instead, it is necessary to create a web interface in transaction BPS_WB.

BI Integrated Planning

This solution is fully integrated into the BI system. Data providers are created into the Data Warehouse Workbench, input-ready queries are created with the BEx Query Designer and all other planning specific functionalities (planning functions, planning sequences, data slices, and characteristic relationship) are defined in the Planning Modeler. It can be migrated completely to a SAP HANA Database, with the benefit of an improved read access (In-Memory).

  • Manual inputs are created directly in BEx Query Designer. Variables and filters correspond to BEx Variables and Filters.
  • Planning Functions, Sequences, Characteristic Relationships, Data Slices, etc. are created in transaction RSPLAN.
  • Migration to a SAP HANA Database can be achieved without adjustments, leading to a better response time and hence benefits on the user side. This is because data is now saved in the In-Memory Database. Nevertheless, aggregations and calculations continue to take place in the Application Layer.

SAP Planning Application Kit on HANA

It is the newest on planning. The difference with the above solution, is that the planning engine is In-Memory optimized. The application of the business logic is moved from the application layer to the In-Memory Database, reducing the data circulation between layers and leading to a significant improvement on the performance.

  • BW-IP needs no changes work in HANA, however, in order to benefit from the improved performance in the calculation engine, planning functions must be migrated.
  • The execution of the calculations in-memory can be enabled with the activation of the Planning Application Kit. SAP notes1637199 explains the procedure for the activation.
  • Most planning function types are already available in the Planning Application Kit (Copy, Delete, Revaluate, etc.).
  • Still, not all planning functions can be executed In-Memory, in particular planning functions based on ABAP exit. In order to be able to execute those functions In-Memory, it is necessary to write an SQL-Script.
  • In order to generate a planning function type based in SQL-Script you will need to create a function type based on an ABAP Class. The SQL-Script will be called from the Execute Method.
Comparison old/new

Comparison old/new

In summary, with the new HANA Planning KIT we can expect to maintain the same planning functionalities that were available in the Standard IP, but with improved performance due to an In-Memory Database.

Read more about planning and SAP HANA in our blog.

To finalize, we would like to mention that in today’s post we have not mentioned BPC. We will keep this subject for a future post.

 

Author
Gabriela López de Haro Senior BI Consultant
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: info@inspiricon.de
SAL Fiori query runner

How to generate reports at the touch of a button with the BW Query Runner

Author: Andrei Ghiura, SAP Consultant, Cross Technology Team

In this blog post, we will talk about the third and at the moment, the final SAP Fiori application in our Inspiricon Toolbox: the BW Query Runner. It is an application that allows the user to run a certain list of queries defined in BEx Query Designer. It mimics the functionality of the standard analyser add-in from Microsoft Excel but with a mobile approach.

You can read more about our other two apps – Manage Users and Time Tracker – in our blog.

The motivation

First of all, we have encountered an issue with viewing BI data on the go. This does not apply to big sets of data, reporting or any other comprehensive BI processes. The BW Query Runner is designed to suit user who need access to data in an intuitive format, in a mobile environment and with minimum effort.

The target

With this Fiori app we hope to mainly touch the group of people that want to have access to business data for their company while having the freedom they need in order to operate.

The solution

Our Inspiricon Toolbox component, the BW Query Runner, is a solution we have come up with as a kind of “Swiss army knife” for our target users. Instead of designing an application for each of their needs, we wanted to offer them a taste of what this new technology can do – so we have created this new Fiori application. After a couple of custom tailored apps for certain needs that were described in this blog beforehand, we settled on an application that was able to substitute, in part, all of them.

The technical side

First of all, we made use of the SAP Gateway component in order to transform the BI queries into consumable OData services that were going to be used in the BW Query Runner. This allowed us to create a seamless experience for any technical support that wanted to maintain our toolbox. Adding a new query to the list available in the application can be done in a few clicks (see FIG.1).

FIG.1: Adding a new query

FIG.1: Adding a new query

The functional side

Our application has a suite of functions that are readily available to the end user to demonstrate the capabilities of the new technology as well as the Inspiricon experience in BI. Among these, we can recall as major ones:

  • Easy access to a list of predefined queries tailored to each user’s preferences and needs (FIG.2 AND FIG.3).
    FIG.2: Predefined queries

    FIG.2: Predefined queries

    FIG.3: Predefined queries

    FIG.3: Predefined queries

  • Custom selections in each query for always having the optimal experience for the best performance (FIG.4 and FIG.5).
    FIG.4: Custom selections

    FIG.4: Custom selections

    FIG.5: Custom selections

    FIG.5: Custom selections

  • Custom filters for fast viewing of the data you require (FIG.6).

    FIG.6: Custom filters

    FIG.6: Custom filters

This was a short introduction to our third addition in the Inspiricon Toolbox, the BW Query Runner.

You want to find out more? Please contact us directly or go to our website: http://en.inspiricon.de/sap-fiori/. You can also find a lot of information in our flyer on the Toolbox. We hope that you enjoyed it and will come back to find out more about our next application :)!

 

Author
Andrei Ghiura SAP Consultant, Cross Technology Team
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: cluj@inspiricon.de
SAP Fiori time tracker

Efficient time logging for your company with the Inspiricon Time Tracker

Author: Ana-Maria Pop, Teamlead Cross Technology

Today we will talk about our second application from the Inspiricon Toolbox, Time Tracker. This application helps to manage the employees’ working time within an organization.

Why did we choose to develop this application?

There are companies, especially the ones which work with SAP, that have solutions for time tracking based on excel. We saw that Microsoft Excel is considered by many to be the most commonly used BI tool in the world, but from our point of view it is not efficient enough. That is why we have found another way to access and analyse SAP BW data, through SAP Fiori and OData service.

The backing of the Inspiricon Time Tracker application is assured by a Planning Cube. Data transfer from the backend is made possible through an Input-Ready Query which is consumed as OData in the Fiori application.

How does the application work?

We will explain the workflow based on an example:

Let’s assume that you are an employee in X Company – a company which is using a SAP ERP and they will always need BI tools for visualization, reporting and so on. Every day you work on a project and on a specific task of this project, but you need to keep track of all this.

How do you do that?

With Time Tracker! A cross browser application which allows you to stock all this information. You can do it from anywhere and from any device: PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. It is all real time, so if your manager needs your timesheet right now in this moment, he will just have to login to the application and it’s all there. Or if you have made a mistake in your logged work, it’s only a matter of seconds to change it.

Functionality, scope and workflow of Time Tracker

The functionality is quite simple and straight-forward. Usually in SAP Fiori applications, it is a best practice to split the functionality as much as you can. For example, in the timeline case, there will be at least three applications:

  1. one for login the work,
  2. one for planning
  3. and one for request approval.

Time Tracker is the one to login the work.

Basically, you have just one view with all functionalities (FIG.1):

FIG.1: View with all functionalities

FIG.1: View with all functionalities

  1. Filter by date: The data binding between Calendar Date Interval component and the OData received was a bit tricky (because of the ACALLDAY). But we don’t give up easily! We created the mock-up with this component and the result was a success. With this component, you are able to choose a specific date or an interval to visualize your work.
  2. Have an overview off all logs: this is table component with search and sort as additional functions (FIG.2).

    FIG.2: Overview off all logs

    FIG.2: Overview off all logs

  3. Log your work: you just have to click the Log Work button and a dialog with a submit form will open. Choose the project, the task, add a description of what you did, the number of hours, click Log and you are done (FIG.3 and FIG.4).
    FIG.3: FIG.2: Overview off all logs

    FIG.3: Log Work (Desktop)

    FIG.4: Log Work (mobile)

    FIG.4: Log Work (mobile)

  4. Update each logged work: is also a dialog which will open when clicking an entry from the table – here you can adjust the number of hours (FIG.5).

    FIG.5: Update logged work

    FIG.5: Update logged work

And this is the scope and the workflow of our second application. In the future we plan to implement the planning and the request approval applications as well.

All good things go by three

Next week we will present our third app to you– BEx Query Analyzer. Maybe a bit more technical application but also very very interesting! 🙂

You missed the article about our first application, Manage User? No worries, you can always read it on our blog.

Find more information about the Inspiricon Toolbox on our website and in our handout SAP BI meets SAP Fiori.

 

Author
Ana-Maria Pop Team Lead Cross Technology
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: cluj@inspiricon.de