Helping Santa

Inspiricon is helping Santa Clause

The centre “Mother of God” is a determinated children hosting service house set up and supported by the religious Congregation “The Sisters of God’s Mother” from Cluj-Napoca (a Greek-Catholic religious establishment). The house was established in 1993 and has a capacity of 10 placements. The beneficiaries are children aged between 3 and 8 years. Most children for whom placement is assured in this centre are children coming directly from the natural families. Most are cases that have been monitored by the Romanian Child Protection authorities for years, or children for whom emergency placement has been established, due to the critical situation of the family of origin.

The house hosts the children for a given period of time, until they reach 10 years or are adopted. Over 200 children have lived in this centre through these years.

Three sisters headed by Sister Bernardina, or Mother Adina, as the children name her, are involved in this work, while seven committed people permanently help at their education. One of the sisters is a qualified nurse, another sister is in charge of the administrative part, while the rest of the staff works as caregivers-educators, social workers, chefs or administrators.

The centre does not have a permanent sponsor to support the work of the sisters, and the financial aid granted by the state does not cover the expenses of the auxiliary staff. Individual donations are the ones that help sisters raise the children.

Inspiricon wants to support this generous initiative and contribute financially to the sisters’ effort to offer love and joy to these children. Changing the role of SAP consultants, we enthusiastically accepted to become Santa’s helpers. Armed with detailed shopping lists, we crossed the supermarket aisles to fully respect the children’s wishes, which, it can be said, that were very sweet: scented oranges, crunchy chocolate or sweet gingerbread.

We are happy and grateful for having the chance of contributing to the devoted work of these three sisters.

Author
Claudio Volk Member of the Management Board
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: info@inspiricon.de

SAP BI Congress

For the 3rd time in a row, the SAP BI Congress took place at our Romanian location from Cluj-Napoca! New and already familiar faces came together in the early evening of May 16 to learn the latest insights and trends from the SAP world.

This year we chose to host our congress at the Platinia Conference Hall Hotel, one of the most modern conference centres in the city.

The motto of this year’s event was Innovation, fact which was clearly reflected by the selection of the presented topics. The focus of the presentations was therefore on the following areas:

  • BW/4HANA,
  • UI (Frontend) Strategie with SAP Fiori
  • And Machine Learning.

This awaited our more than 70 participants:

  • Opening by Andrei Vlad // CEO Inspiricon SRL
  • Topic lecture: BW4/HANA: Next Generation Data Warehousing // Victor Livadaru, Senior BW Consultant, Inspiricon SRL
  • Topic lecture: UI Strategy with SAP Fiori // Andrei Ghiura, SAP Consultant, Inspiricon SRL
  • Short coffee break for networking and energy boost
  • Topic lecture: Machine Learning on SAP Hana // Gerald Iakobinyi-Pich, Solution Architect, Inspiricon SRL
  • Digression: Mythbuster: Work efficiency // Dan Ionescu, Danis Consulting

 

Inspiricon-congress-SAP-BI (1)

The conveyed information did not only consist of pure theory, but reflected the practical experience from our projects. The participants took an active part in the discussions around the lectures. Many questions were asked and the information exchange between our speakers and the participants became easily active.

“I am delighted that our congress has been so well received,” said Andrei Vlad, CEO Inspiricon SRL. “With this event we would like to spread the image of Inspiricon beyond the borders of Cluj and place ourselves not only as an attractive employer, but also as a company that can proactively debate new topics and even has experts within the company!

After the presentations we invited our guests to have a drink and an sweet appetizer. During networking, the participants were able to ask further questions and deepen the insights they had gained from the SAP world. The atmosphere was very pleasant and there were lively conversations.

We are already looking forward to the 4th edition of the BI Congress in Cluj next year!

Inspiricon-SAP-BI-Congress

Author
Ioana MihaiMarketing Assistant
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: info@inspiricon.de
LoB-Supply-Chain-Management

New Line of Business: Supply Chain Management

After four years of dynamic growth, Inspiricon has decided to establish a new line of business: “Supply Chain Management”. This restructuring will help Inspiricon further raise its profile, combine its process skills in the field of supply chain management with its extensive SAP Business Intelligence knowledge, and better align its expertise with market demands.

In its relatively short company history, Inspiricon has already build an impressive track record: From the introduction of a global price tracking tool for the strategic purchasing division of Giesecke & Devrient GmbH and the provision of targeted and systematic project management and coaching services to ensure the timely introduction of a production control center at Kulmbach Töpfer GmbH to the optimization of the global logistics processes for a world leader in the additive manufacturing sector – over the past few years the list of success stories has only grown longer.

The main focus of the line of business:

Supply chain analytics and performance measurement:

Supply chain analytics creates transparency and visibility along the supply chain, unlocking hidden potential in logistics and supply chain management. Typical objectives are the improvement of delivery performance, responsiveness and adaptability of supply chains, lowering order lead times, reduction of inventories, increasing capacity utilization and/or an improved planning accuracy. To achieve that performance metrics are selected and visualized.

Performance metrics help to resolve conflicting objectives and identify deviations, opportunities, and risks; provide insights on inefficiencies, help determine opportunities and allow companies to measure the performance of their processes, organizational units or employees. They provide a foundation for the implementation of required optimization measures.

To maintain the validity of performance metrics, their number should always be limited to a reasonable amount. Additionally, companies need be able to identify interrelationships and assess root causes. In a well-tuned system of performance metrics, these relationships can be broken down all the way to the level of basic operational data. The initial question in the definition of such a system is always: Which metrics are worth analyzing at all?

Supply-Chain-Analytics-Workshop-Inspiricon

 

Supply chain analytics applies analytical software and methods to supply chain processes and data – from planning, procurement of raw materials, manufacturing and distribution to final transport to the customer. In addition to big data, real-time data analytics, and self-service BI, mobility and cloud are becoming increasingly interesting in this field. When aligned to business requirements on the one hand and IT-strategic prerequisites and considerations on the other, these disruptive technologies already today are transforming the way companies plan and steer their supply chains in a meaningful way.

Our services in the new line of business: From the development of a performance measurement strategy and the definition of relevant performance metrics to concrete implementation of SAP technology – with the new line of business, Inspiricon leaves no relevant aspect of a supply chain analytics project uncovered. Once we have developed a customer-specific strategy and captured every single requirement, the next step is to discuss implementation scenarios, design customized solutions, and implement them with a constant eye on meeting the stated objectives.

By giving actionable recommendations on the selection of suitable tools and providing helpful best practice guidance on how to apply them to the implementation of visualizations as well as for analysis and assessment of data, we help our customers to take care that essential information and insights do get to the right people in the right way and at the right time. Hereby we enable our customers towards faster decisions, which do support their continuous business success.

Do you require assistance in selection of strategic performance metrics or would you like to know more about the performance metrics in SAP’s Business Intelligence software? We will be happy to bring you up to speed in a one-day workshop.

Supply chain digitalization and Industry 4.0:

The increasing pace of digitalization, which is further accelerated by the internet of things, is creating new challenges in the business intelligence space. Industry 4.0 goes beyond opening up new perspectives and opportunities in shaping the supply chain, creating never-before-seen processes and business models. How can analytics technologies support this process and how are future requirements on modern BI systems going to change? What new possibilities and insights will come from applying them to the changing process landscape?

In their joint study titled “Procurement 4.0”, the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics and the German Association for Supply Chain Management, Procurement and Logistics have come to the conclusion that, given the increasing levels of digitalization, complete autonomy in operational procurement processes could already be achieved today. Essential process activities would be implemented by means of modern technologies, which would not only result in a shift of focus towards strategic procurement and along with it in increased expectations and growing complexity, but also in a fundamental change in how the procurement role is perceived. It would increasingly move towards interface management or data analytics.

At the same time, the number of modern technologies employed in modern production lines is steadily increasing. “Smart factory” is a term used by researchers to describe the vision of manufacturing environments with production lines that, for the most part, are capable of organizing themselves without human interaction. Cyber-physical systems are to communicate with one another using the internet of things while being controlled using artificial intelligence (AI) methods such as machine learning.

Several logistics-related surveys have found that the majority of forwarding agents – companies, that contract logistics service providers (LSPs) to move cargo – and almost all logistics companies already leverage various technologies to track locations and movements. On top of that, there are several other basic technologies in the field of sensor or Auto-ID (RFID), mobile communications, or planning and simulation, which are very popular and widespread. And given the fact that these technologies don’t seem to be fully rolled out yet on a broader scale or used universally, one thing quickly becomes apparent: There is even more untapped potential, when it comes to the technologies that are built on top of them, for example in the area of big data. There is no shortage of companies that fall into the trap of collecting data without having a clear idea of how they can actually leverage it to their advantage.

Major objective of the line of business SCM is therefore to bring the two worlds together – the process perspective of the supply chain and the latest analytics technology – to combine them into new and innovative use cases. We focus on today’s trends and challenges in supply chain digitalization and keep a close eye on the latest technologies surrounding big data, advanced analytics, machine learning, and predictive analytics. Current approaches are already bringing actionable improvements in the context of supply chain risk management and tracking and tracing.

Supply-Chain-Analytics-Inspiricon-Workshop

Companies from a wide range of industries, from manufacturing and trade to consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and many more, do find that the services in our new line of business are exactly, what they are looking for. Would you like to find out more about our methods and projects or is there anything else we can do for you? Be sure to come back to our blog for regular updates. Also, don’t hesitate to contact us directly, we’ll be happy to hear from you!

Sources:  Supply-Chain-Controlling mit SAP BW (SAP Press)

Author
Daniel Schauwecker Lead Consultant Visualisation
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: info@inspiricon.de

 

Inspiricon opens new office in Freiburg, Germany

The location’s focus is on big data, machine learning, and new SAP technologies

Böblingen/Freiburg, April 13, 2018 – Inspiricon just keeps on growing! On February 1, 2018, Inspiricon AG opened its new offices in Freiburg, Germany.

“Being close to our customers and employees and maintaining a local presence is very important to us – which is why we have strategically chosen Freiburg,” explains Andreas Keller, Associate Partner at Inspiricon AG and head of the Freiburg office. “In addition to traditional SAP BI consulting, our local team will be specializing in big data, machine learning, and new SAP technologies.”

With the opening of the new Freiburg office, Inspiricon is paving the way for the years to come: It now has the space it needs to grow and the planning for additional offices is already underway.

The teams started moving into the new office space at Schwarzwaldstraße 78b in Freiburg in February. It is located on the 2. floor of the Zentrum Oberwiehre, a busy downtown office and shopping center, making it easy to reach.

The official office warming party was held on April 12, 2018, and customers and companies from throughout the region were invited. The program also included several power presentations:

  • Daniel Schauwecker, Lead Consultant Visualisation at Inspiricon AG, shared insights about Supply Chain Visibility via Real-Time Cargo Tracking and Monitoring.
  • Andreas Keller spoke about his project (which was successfully concluded at the end of February 2018) for the German Federal Foreign Office: With SAP HANA & SAP BI: Using Public Internet Sources to Forecast Political Crises.
  • Current research was another topic of the day: Dr. Marcus Vogt, professor at the Stuttgart campus of the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University, gracefully agreed to hold a presentation of his own: Enough Data Is Not Enough – A Look Into Data Science.

The evening was framed by an informal atmosphere and captivating conversations.

“We have set up an office at an excellent location that will ensure our future growth and gets us closer to the customers we serve in this region,” says Claudio Volk, Member of the Management Board at Inspiricon AG.

Address of the Freiburg office:
Inspiricon AG, Schwarzwaldstraße 78b, 79117 Freiburg, Germany

You can download the press release as PDF here.

Inspiricon Freiburg SAP Stammtisch Opening

Inspiricon Freiburg SAP Stammtisch Opening

Inspiricon Freiburg SAP Stammtisch Opening

Inspiricon-tips-concept-document

5 Tips How To Write A Concept Document

According to the Longman English dictionary, a concept is “an idea of how something is, or how something should be done“. From this definition we can conclude that a concept document is a document that describes the purpose of a project or a set of necessary steps in order to achieve the desired result.

The main purpose of a concept document is to present to the interested clients a clear overview of the project that is to be made. If the concept is clear, easy to read and understand, follows a structure and the presentation of the ideas is comprehensive, the chances of the project to be accepted are increasing. These are also showing the client that the concept document was conceived in a professional manner with the collaboration of the entire team involved and increases the chances for future projects, too.

1. Why is a concept document important?

There is no “recipe” for a perfect concept document. The structure and the content may vary depending on the purpose of the project. First of all, a concept document is brief and may contain between 2 and 30 pages, depending on the complexity of the project that it describes. The main scope of the document is to give all the necessary information about a project to the reader.

2. Appearance

It is important to build a template that can also be used for future projects. The template should be styled according to the company documents, including a standardized header (ideally with the company’s logo and the page number) as well as a footer with information such as the version of the document (e.g. 2.0, 2.1). All the content should be correctly arranged in the page and keep the same formatting and style across the document. The font should also have a readable size, at least 12 points.

3. How should it be structured?

First, a concept document should have a clear structure and should contain detailed information about the project and its importance. All the concept documents should begin with the version number, a history of the changes, together with the name and email address of the person responsible for the document.

Although a concept document can be created for many topics, we’ll focus on projects from the IT branch such as web and mobile applications.

The first page should contain the title, the version as well as the date on which it was created (this is required in order to ensure that the version of the document is the up to date).

Also, very important is a table of contents, which is extremely useful especially when the document has more pages and a page by page search approach would take more time.

It contains all the needed information in order for the project to start, such as introduction, overview, architecture, permissions, UI Design (appearance), prerequisites or responsibilities.

4. The contents

In the next lines we’ll make a short summary of what each chapter should contain. We’ll take as example a concept document for a mobile application.

The introduction part includes a short presentation of the concept document, as well as information regarding the purpose of the document (e.g. This document describes the concept of the application).

The overview section is one of the most important ones. Here can be found a summary of the app that is to be developed including information regarding the intended functionality and a few hints on how the app will be used. Here is also included information about how would app helpful for the client.

In the architecture section you will find a sketch with the different levels that the app includes (e.g. how the data is transferred between front and backend and to the mobile app).

It is important to have a mock-ups / charts in order to show as much details as possible about the desired outcome. This should match the appearance of the final project. If a change is made in the design of the product or a new feature is added (e.g. a new button/ tab in the app), this should also appear in an updated version of the concept.

If the app contains more views, for better readability each view should be contained in its own subchapter as login screen, main screen, add user screen and further on. Also at least one mock-up for each screen is desired.

The next chapter contains the prerequisites. Here are contained the prerequisites that are to be fulfilled in order to achieve the desired functionality of the app. For example, in order to run a certain app, it is required a server that is able to host the web application and for a mobile app is required a phone with the Android version above 6 or iOS version above 9. This information is very useful for the client, in order to know if the app is supported by the current configuration.

The final chapter should contain the responsibilities that fall on both parts. Here is specified what the company that develops the app puts at disposal (e.g. the UI, the hosting on the web, the storage and so on). This offers the client a clear overview of his responsibilities.

Very important is to proofread the final version of the document. A person who hasn’t read the document should take a look at the final version in order to check for errors or inconsistencies.

5. Inspiricon example

In the following lines, an Inspiricon template will be presented. Because an image is more than a thousand words, we will show you how an Inspiricon template looks like. In the image below, is presented the first page, containing the title, the version number with the date together with the Inspiricon logo and the copyright notice.

Inspiricon-first-page

Image 1: Example of a first page written for a concept document

The contents page is shown below. All the chapters are defined clearly with a distinct number (i.e. 1, 2, etc.) and the subchapters with a version number that is linked to the main chapter (e.g. 2.1, 5.2.3, etc.).

Inspiricon-contents

Image 2: Example of a content page written for a concept document

Next comes the version history page, where can be seen an overview of the changes made in the document, together with the version number, date author and the notes (where necessary).

Inspiricon-Version-history

Image 3: Example of a history page version written for a concept document

The writing of a concept document can be seen as a team work as all the parts involved (i.e. Architects, Project Managers, Developers, etc.) come with additions or confirmations to the document. All the involved parts must collaborate in the creation in order to assure that the presented information is as accurate as possible.

Conclusion

As a conclusion, a concept document should be as clear as possible and should answer the majority of the questions such as: “What for a product is that?”, “How can it help me?” or “What does it look like?”. A person that reads for the first time the document should have as little unclear aspects as possible.

 

Author
Răzvan Ciupei QA Manager
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: cluj@inspiricon.de

Inspiricon’s SAP Fiori app receives the ERCO Innovation Award 2017

The Performance Cockpit App scores high at the annual Innovation Award

Each year, ERCO GmbH honors outstanding innovations. In 2017, the Performance Cockpit App won the coveted award in the Innovation Award Organization category.

You can read all about the project in our blog (click here for the full article). The main objective was to deliver a solution to analyze and visualize information with SAP Fiori in real time. The project aimed to provide ERCO’s 250 sales representatives all over the globe with a mobile app that would allow them to have their daily updated key figures readily available on their iPads.

In the end, we had created a mobile, streamlined, and most importantly highly intuitive process that enables ERCO to monitor and modify its forecasts. This puts the latest data at the fingertips of executives and sales staff alike. This adds significant value to the data, which is particularly beneficial in business intelligence scenarios, where the worth of information is determined by its timeliness.

What can the Performance Cockpit App do?

The app, among other things, gives ERCO:

  • shop floor options regardless of time and place
  • performance overviews that are updated daily
  • more visibility for its sales division and headquarters
  • the ability to derive sales-related measures
  • periodic annual forecasts for its most important key figures

 

Key Figures Performance Cockpit

Figure 1: Overview of the key figures compared to projected values and last year’s value

 

Oder Volume Performance Cockpit App

Figure 2: Overview of the order volume compared to the planning data and last year’s values

“We are looking forward to work with Inspiricon on implementing more exciting projects in the future,” said Celina Berg, the project’s manager, after completion of the project.

Go to our website to read the success story on this project.

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

Inspiricon keeps growing!

From 1st February 2018, you can also find uns in our new office in Freiburg, Schwarzwaldstraße 78b.

Close proximity to the market and our clients are of high importance for us – thus, we establish the new office in Freiburg.

Our consultants work not only with the classical SAP BI topics, but mainly with Big Data, Machine Learning and new SAP technologies.

We are looking forward to exciting new projects!

Inspiricon Office Freiburg

Author
Linda Schumacher Marketing
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: info@inspiricon.de
Meet the Inspiricon Team

What makes a manager, a great manager?

Working in the HR area means that you often have to build a bridge between management and the rest of the employees. So I started thinking about what is it that lets a manager become an important asset for a company.

I think everyone agrees that managers can sometimes be the make or break of a work environment. During your career as a professional, surely you can remember someone as “the best manager I’ve ever had”. Sounds a little bit utopic, and what does it really mean in the end? What makes a manager be a really great one, for his team to remember in the years to come?

There are rivers of articles and books written on this topic, because it is a burning question for which everyone would like a clean answer. In my opinion, there is no clean and straightforward answer, but from what I have read and from the people I asked about this matter, there is one quality that all really good managers seem to possess: they have got to really know their people and put to good use everyone’s qualities and strengths. Moreover, as researchers usually get to observe, the best managers are also true leaders for their teams. They do not just lead, they inspire people to work together for a bigger purpose and cultivate loyalty at the same time.

Putting the puzzle together

Growing a team or coordinating a company requires a strategy – and the human resources specialists are part of that strategy. For that reason, every person in the company is like a little piece of a bigger puzzle and managers have to find the perfect place for them to fit in. They have to face the true challenge when they have to identify both the things that unite people, as well as the things that differentiate them and harness it, in order to transform quality into performance – for the good of the company.

According to many articles published in the human resources field by Harvard Business Review magazine, the best thing that managers of today should do is to stop trying to change their employees in order to comply the company policies. Instead, they should identify their unique personality traits, even their quirkiness, and help them make the best use of them and evolve into their best selves. This way it is a win-win situation for the company as well. The roles in a company should be periodically adjusted so that they would capitalize the strengths of each person.

How to motivate your team

Recognition is also a great motivator in a work environment, and a good manager should know how to provide it to his team. Usually, once an employee feels valued, he OR SHE will invest more into the company’s success. When we say recognition, we do not mean necessarily gifts and ribbons. Sometimes an appraisal and a good word said at the right moment is worth much more. More often than not, people feeling appreciated or supported may improve morale, increase productivity and cultivate loyalty. Still, recognition may differ from person to person and sometimes may be a difficult need to satisfy, that’s why managers should pay a close attention to what really drives their employees.

Evidently, every person has not only strengths, but also weak points, which should be identified throughout discussions and periodical evaluations. A long-term strategy for a company should be to offer guidance and trainings, so that the employees should be able to surpass those as much as possible. Another possible idea would be to offer a “buddy”, meaning another colleague with complementary strengths and flaws in order to build an exceptional team. Engaged employees are the most productive on the long term.

According to Paul Spiegelman, the CEO of Beryl Companies: “If you want employees to take a vested interest in the bigger picture, treat them like stakeholders… when jobs are regarded more like investments, employees will show up with passion, productivity, and focus, making your company more profitable”.

Team spirit is the essential thing

Last but not least, great managers cultivate team spirit in the company they are working for. Everyone knows that the best teams are not born. They are made and it is not an easy task. Building effective teams comes from the upper management and it has a lot to do with the company culture, openness, and clear communication. Creating an efficient team starts with the recruitment process – that is why managers should have a really strong partnership with the HR department, helping in creating the best strategies for attracting the right talents for the organization.

We often talk too easy about teams not taking into consideration that not every group of people that works together is really a team. A group of people does not become a team just by calling it that way. That is why we have to ask: “what is a team?”.  Studies show that what binds people together is mutual responsibility for a common goal, combined with mutual support and a good set of rules. That is why managers must pay attention to the individual performances of their employees, as well as the common product of their team’s work. They also should cultivate a common set of values with which people can relate.

The highest performances are achieved when people put together their complementary skills in pursuing a common goal and when every single person is feeling responsible for something. The purpose can also be transformed in KPIs (key performance indicators), so that it can spark even more interest from the people engaged. Commitment is not something that can be missed from a good team.

Some people say that sometimes the involvement of the management of a company can create damage to the smaller existing teams. In reality, a team usually gets its purpose from the expectations of the management, unless we are talking about an entrepreneurial initiative, but that’s another topic. The upper management should provide guidance and guidelines for the team to perform, but in the same time should give enough flexibility for people to put their personal mark on the task at hand.

This is Inspiricon.

In conclusion, being a successful manager and an empowering leader for your employees is not an easy task that is why not many people are able to achieve it. It has more to it than only leading. At Inspiricon, we know that it involves open communication, active listening, setting an example, being open about our own mistakes and vulnerabilities and synchronizing the companies mission to people’s passions. That is why we are trying every day to fulfill people’s expectations and keep transparency as one of our core values.

Sources:

  • “The wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization” – Jon R. Katzenbach & Douglas K. Smith
  • “What great managers do” – Marcus Buckingham – Harvard Business Review
  • “People Management” – Harvard Business Review’s 10 must reads
Author
Diana Luca HR Consultant
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: cluj@inspiricon.de
Query Designer in Eclipse

How to successfully use the Query Designer in Eclipse

We are very happy to present to you our first guest author: Jürgen Noe. He is Managing Partner of Jürgen Noe Consulting UG (haftungsbeschränkt) in Mannheim (www.juergen-noe-consulting.de). His article is about – as is his new book – Query Designer in Eclipse. Many thanks again Jürgen – and now enjoy the read!

 

Along with support for HANA, the introduction to SAP BW 7.4 also brought a silent interface revolution. Up until this SAP BW release, support in terms of software development environments (SDE) had been limited to the SAP GUI. But with the development of the HANA database, the Hasso Plattner Institute relied on the Eclipse as a SDE from the get-go. This now gives developers of SAP applications two relevant development environments. When it comes to, for example, developing HANA database objects HANA Studio is the go-to environment, while traditional ABAP applications still required the SAP GUI.

But SAP had another surprise in store for us: What started out with support for the HANA platform only was eventually expanded with other tools for the development and customization of applications on HANA in Eclipse.

One of the tools here is BW-MT, short for BW Modelling Tools, which allows developers to completely move their typical BW customizing tasks to Eclipse. The creation of InfoProviders, really the entire ETL (extraction, transformation, load) process can now be carried out from start to finish in BW-MT.

The logical consequence was to recreate the central tool for creating BW queries in the Modelling Tools as well. This renders the good old-fashioned Query Designer as a standalone application within the context of the Business Explorer Suite (BEx) obsolete with all releases starting from SAP BW version 7.4.

A quick start to the Query Designer in Eclipse

Against this background, I wrote a book to describe the new functionalities offered by the Query Designer in Eclipse. The book titled “Schnelleinstieg in den Query Designer in Eclipse” and published by Espresso Tutorials in September of 2017 is available in German only.

Query Designer

Click here to purchase the book.

I would like to take this opportunity and use the following paragraphs to outline the book for you:

The book starts out with some basic information about SAP BW and Eclipse in general. In the Eclipse section of the book, I provide a short explanation of how Eclipse is structured and break down essential terms such as plug-in, view, and perspectives. Experienced Eclipse users can skip this chapter.

The third chapter summarizes the BW Modelling Tools. I explain how to call well-known transactions such as the Data Warehouse Workbench in Eclipse and how to create data flows, accompanied by an in-depth description of central views such as the Project Explorer view and the InfoProvider view.

 

Given the central role that the Project Explorer plays in Eclipse, the book includes a detailed walk-through of how to create a new project and work with it. After that, I will explain how to navigate to the InfoProvider view, which is shown in the following figure 1, in Project Explorer:

Infoprovider View

Figure 0.1 InfoProvider view

This view allows you to create global, reusable objects such as restricted or calculated key figures, structures, filters, but also variables. You can find them under the Reusable Components folder in figure 1.

Chapter four then features a detailed description and many screenshots of how to create the different reusable elements and an overview of the various setting options along with their impact. The ability to create reusable components from a central location is one of the reasons why I think switching from the old BEx version to the new Query Designer in Eclipse is worth your while. Gone are the times when you had to click your way through multiple windows in the BEx Query Designer in order to, for example, create a formula variable. What’s more, I also noticed major improvements in navigation and usability.

There is yet another area where BW-MT demonstrates its full strength: It has never been easier to jump from one object to another, change it, and view the changes in the initial object right away. Here’s an example: You realize that you need an additional key figure in the query. It used to be that you first had to create it in the DataWarehouse Workbench, add and assign it in the MultiProvider, and restart the Query Designer for it to register the change before you could insert it into the query. Now, you no longer have to deal with the inconvenience of having to jump back and forth between different tools and transactions. With BW-MT all that changes are the views in Eclipse! You simply switch from the Query Designer view to the master data view, where you create your key figure, and go on to the InfoProvider view to add it to your data model in the MultiProvider. Once you have saved it, you can switch right back to the Query Designer view.

And you can do all of this in parallel in a single tool, using multiple windows, however you see fit!

With Eclipse, you can view the changes to the MultiProvider right away. And even if not, simply hit refresh to have your new key figure available in your query. It has never been so easy!

A detailed look at the query properties

Surely, you are now asking yourself how the Query Designer view that allows you to create, change and delete queries looks like. You can find the answer to this in figure 2:

Query Filter

Figure 0.2 Query definition (filter)

As you can see, the query definition is spread across multiple tabs. The General tab allows you to configure general query properties such as how to display repeated key values and much more.

Figure 2 shows the definition of a query filter. As with the BEx Query Designer, the fundamental query structure with columns, rows, and free characteristics stays the same. You can define this structure in the Sheet Definition tab. All of these configurations are carried out using the context menu, which lets you access all relevant functions in the respective views.

The Conditions tab allows you to specify conditions such as show me all datasets with revenues of more than 1 million euros.

Use the Exceptions tab to define any exceptions. These exceptions allow you to color code rows, columns or individual cells to highlight outliers or special circumstances.

I’m very fond of the Dependency Structure tab, which provides you with an overview of any other queries in which the variables used in query at hand are also used.

The Runtime Properties tab lets you configure the performance properties of the query, for example whether to use the delta cache process and many other properties that you are already familiar with from the transaction RSRT.

Chapter five of the book includes many screenshots and examples that serve to explain the various options provided by the different tabs and their respective impact.

So, what does the query result look like?

Once you have created you query, you will want to test and execute it. With BW-MT, the query result is presented in a separate view, as shown in figure 3.

Result

Figure 0.3: Query result view

You can navigate the query results freely, apply filters, add drilldowns, delete, just like you did in the past. Once again, you will find everything you need in this view, there is no longer the need to have a JAVA server installed to produce web output or to switch to the BEx Analyzer to create Excel output.

For more complex queries, you may need two structures:
In the old BEx Query Designer, you had to work with the cell editor. The cell editor was completely overhauled with the new Query Designer and now includes useful options such as copy & paste. It also eliminates any annoying roundtrips to the server to check the entries, which makes working with the cell editor that much faster. Take a look at the cell editor in figure 4:

Cell editor

Figure 0.4 Cell editor

Last but not least: the variables

The last item on our list are the variables that add dynamic to your queries. The sixth chapter takes a closer look at variables and uses screenshots and simple examples to demonstrate how to create all typical variables.

The advantages of the new Query Designer in Eclipse:

  • A modern, user-friendly and future-proof interface
  • Any existing BEx Query Designer functions can also be found in the new Query Designer in Eclipse
  • Seamless integration of BW data modelling in a single tool

My conclusion is a wholehearted recommendation to switch to the Query Designer in Eclipse along with BW-MT. It has never been so easy to create and test entire BW data models and queries. To me, the Query Designer in Eclipse is a big step towards the future!

Author
Jürgen Noe Managing Partner Jürgen Noe Consulting UG (limited liability)
Phone: +49 (0) 621 72963337
Email: juergen.noe@juergen-noe-consulting.de