What is new in SAP BusinessObjects Information Design Tool 4.2

What Is New in the SAP BusinessObjects Information Design Tool 4.2?

This is the last article of our series about new features of SAP BusinessObjects 4.2! The following new features and enhancements are available in this release of the Information Design Tool:

Sets and Set Filters

The BI Sets support is the main enhancement in SAP BI 4.2 for the information design tool.

In the new version developers can create sets which are used as pre-defined complex query filters in Web Intelligence. A set is a structure that contains multiple lists of values for key enabled dimensions in the business layer and based on a universe (UNX). The sets can contain the definition of calendars, used for temporal sets, whose content evolves in time. Developers can publish themselves sets to the CMS repository and they are available as set filters when the associated universe is used as a data source in the query panel. Sets are stored in the data warehouse along with production data, enabling fast filtering.

BI sets are useful to query data using sets logic and operators rather than SQL.

Universes

Developers can now convert a single or a group of multiple .UNV universes to .UNX universes format in a single step. Linked .UNV universes can now also be converted to .UNX universes conserving links to all core universes. Developers can also choose to include all core universes in a single universe if preferred.

Now you can use the Big Numbers feature at the .UNX Universe level and avoid enablement per report. The Big Numbers are a new High Precision property to the existing Numeric Data Type, based on an IEEE decimal floating point format standard, which enables developers to define numeric objects that are expected to be consumed with a higher precision, from 15 digits to 40 digits.

Linked universes

The Information design tool can convert linked universes created with the Universe Design Tool. The conversion dialog box has been completely modified to convert several universes at once and propose new conversion options.

Now developers can link a universe to one or more core universes in the repository. When changes are made in the core universe, they are automatically propagated to the shared components in its linked universes. Using linked universes allow developers to take advantage of components in predefined and tested universes as a starting point to quickly build new universes.

The process for creating a linked universe has changed. A developer must start with a pre-existing universe and create a linked universe from it. Once created, the developer can add tables to the new universe which reads from the original universe. Changes to the original universe are automatically reflected in the new linked universe. Both the data foundation and business layer from the original universe are available in the linked one.

SQL Enhancement

The new SQL parameter NO_NULL_YIELDS_IN_SUBQUERY has been added to the SQL Generation Parameters list. When set to YES, SQL scripts are generated ensuring fields with non NULL values are included for filters based on a subquery. The default value is NO.

Setting Summary tab preferences for data foundation views

For data foundations with multiple views, you can now choose to open a specific view in the editor instead of the default master view. This can help to save time when developers want to work on a subset of the data foundation, and do not need to display the entire content of the Master View. A new Summary tab is available that lists views with a color code that gives an indication of the loading time onto the screen. Based on this information, developers can select a view that will display more quickly rather than the master view which displays all of the available views.

Creating a business layer directly on a BEx Query

Developers can create a business layer directly on a BEx Query using BICS access and publish the business layer as a universe available to Web Intelligence. Creating a universe based on a BEx query has a major advantage over using direct access to a BEx query as developers can organize and customize the query dimensions, measures, and hierarchies in the business layer. Although developers can edit certain components of the business layer, the data foundation is built automatically on the query and is read only.

If you want to know how to create a universe, go to our blog article about it! We explain it step by step.

This article provided an overview of the features and enhancements that have been added to the SAP BusinessObjects since the previous release. It directs you to the available product documentation to get you started using the new features!

Author
Veronika Aleksandrova SAP BI Consultant
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: info@inspiricon.de

 

New Features in WebI 4.2

New Features in SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence 4.2

This week, we continue our mini-series about BI 4.2. Today’s topic is SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence 4.2 and its new features. Let’s start!

I will now give you an overview on new functions.

SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence 4.2 includes the following next main features: Sharing of Elements, Refresh queries in parallel, Commentary, Geo Mapping and Visual Extensions, Direct Access to HANA Views and SAP HANA Online.

Sharing of Elements

Shared elements are report parts that are stored in the CMS repository, and can be reused multiple times by other users or for other documents. Developers got the option to publish the report elements to a central located platform public folder. Shared element contains all required meta data: report part, corresponding data source, data providers, variables and formatting. Now user can quickly import frequently utilized logos, charts and visualizations into their reports.

Refresh Queries in parallel

The parallel data provider refresh feature now supports BEx queries, and new settings have been added in the Central Management Console and the information design tool to let you fine-tune parallel queries at a connection level. As a result, you can manage the maximum number of queries refreshed in parallel per document for OLAP, BEx or relational connections. You can also decide whether you want to enable parallel query processing during scheduling operations.

Commentary

BI Commentary is currently available for Web Intelligence application. Now, users working with Web Intelligence in reports can use BI Commentary for collaboration.

Geo Maps and Visual Extensions

Good looking and insightful dashboards can be created, using ESRI maps or google maps. Any map that has an URL can be now used to cross geospatial information and our own data. Maps in Web Intelligence are no longer reserved for the mobile application. Now developers can create or view them in Web Intelligence desktop, browser or mobile. The feature also includes a geo encoder engine. This engine allows developers to geocode any city, state, country dimension within their existing dataset.

Direct Access to SAP HANA Views

Now developers can directly access a SAP HANA information view without the need to first create a universe. In addition the can create queries on HANA views and benefit from the speed and power of HANA.

SAP HANA Online

With SAP HANA Online mode, create Web Intelligence documents with live data leveraging the power of HANA. In SAP HANA Online mode, all Web Intelligence calculations such as value aggregation and member filtering are delegated to HANA. This enables quicker interactions between Web Intelligence and HANA, providing better performance for data refresh. This feature mainly targets business analysts who need to analyze and explore huge quantities of data on HANA. They can now work with real-time data and enjoy better interactions with Web Intelligence. Report designers will also benefit from SAP HANA Online mode user experience that makes documents creation easier than before. Report designers can now bypass query panels and universes.

Please contact me for further questions, I will be happy to answer them!

Author
Veronika Aleksandrova SAP BI Consultant
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: info@inspiricon.de
What is new in SAP BO BI 4.2

What’s New in SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.2?

Today, I would like to start a mini-series about what is new in SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.2. The first article of this series is about new features of the general platform.

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.2 is the culmination of core stability and capability improvements spanning key new innovations, incremental product advances from BI 4.1 and improved features for upgrading all existing XI R2 and XI3 customers to this newest version of the SAP BI Suite.

With the release of SAP BusinessObjects 4.2 (SP2 – SP4), SAP has introduced a treasure trove of new enhancements. It contains a proverbial wish list of enhancements that have been desired for years.

Much to my delight, SAP Web Intelligence has received several significant enhancements. Particularly in terms of its integration with SAP HANA. However, there were also enhancements to the platform itself. Let’s take a more detailed look at the top-list of new features.

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform 4.2 includes:

Recycle Bin in CMC

When users delete an item from the BOE system, it’s now moved into the “Recycle Bin” and an administrator can recover the files. Items will be stored there only until the bin is emptied, which may have a time-limit or happen on set days – at which time the files are permanently deleted.

BI Commentary Service

A new CMC application that allows document users to collaborate, to comment on any of the data/statistics accessible in a given document.

Restful Web Services APIs for Publication

A whole raft of nifty new tools allow the management of:

  • Users and User groups;
  • Publications, files and scheduling;
  • Queries, Server and Jobs statistics;
  • Content and Application usage, and more.

BI Administrators’ Cockpit

Another new CMC application. Administrators can collect basic data about the BI environment. Developers can also obtain information about Servers, Scheduled Jobs, Applications and Content Usage.

Selectively retrieve objects from an LCMBIAR file

Now developers can selectively import objects contained in an LCMBIAR file within the promotion management web application. Selectively retrieve objects from an LCMBIAR file. This requires that the user has the introduction of ‘Edit LCMBIAR’ right. When developers selectively retrieve objects from an LCMBIAR file, a new job with the selected objects is created.

Split Installer

Using the installation command line, administrators can now prepare the system for installation without down-time. It does this by performing all of the binary caching and some of the SQL lite installation database operations before it invokes the section of the install that require down time.

Running setup.exe – cache will invoke the caching portions of the install. When ready to complete the install, running setup.exe – resume_after_cache will complete the insulation. In theory, the later portion of the installation step reduces the down-time by eliminating the dependency between the two major installation and upgrade tasks.

In a large clustered environment, this is a great addition. In all types of environments this is a great enhancement. Previously, the system down-time was subjected to the long and tedious process of caching deployment units.

New License Keys

After upgrade to 4.2 SP2, administrators will need to obtain a new license keys. The keys that once worked for 4.0 and 4.1 will not work after upgrading to 4.2 SP2. The graphical installer will also let administrator know this. Need be prepared to logon to service market place and request new keys.

In the next article, I will give you an overview on the changes of SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence 4.2 – stay tuned!

Author
Veronika Aleksandrova SAP BI Consultant
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: info@inspiricon.de
Cognos Migration SAP BW on HANA

How to leverage a standardized SAP solution to harmonize processes across the enterprise and ensure comparability

Hey there:

Today we would like to share with you yet another successful project in our portfolio. For this project, we were tasked with migrating an existing Cognos reporting solution from SAP BW on HANA with SAP BusinessObjects as the frontend.

The customer that sought our support specializes in the manufacturing and distribution of electronic components. As part of an international group, it is one of several subsidiaries, all of which rely on different ERP and business intelligence solutions. Faced with the group’s continued growth and the ever-increasing complexity that goes along with it, the proprietary ERP solution was reaching its limits both in terms of functionality and reporting capabilities.

THE PROJECT

Working from a newly introduced and standardized SAP ERP solution with SAP BW, Inspiricon was able to replace the existing Cognos reporting solution.

There were a number of reasons that motivated this decision:

  • For one, it would have been too costly and time consuming to keep developing the reporting solutions that, for the most part, had been developed in house and customized to specific needs.
  • Also, maintenance and support had become almost unmanageable.
  • What’s more, the group was no longer able to maintain the consistency of KPI purpose and content across its different companies, resulting in the inability to compare their processes and results.
  • The sheer number of different interfaces with other systems drove costs and significantly increased the error rate. Reporting to the parent company, in particular, had become a tedious and time-consuming endeavor. Even more interfaces were needed to do so because reporting was tailored exclusively to customers based on a – custom – Cognos reporting solution that had been implemented on top of everything else.
  • Internal expertise regarding the existing solutions was limited to a small number of people inside the company. Loosing this technical knowledge due to employee turnover was an ever-present threat.

THE SOLUTION

Since another subsidiary was already using SAP products, the new ERP solution was already present on the system.

The project, however, was not just about bringing the ERP system up to speed, the group was also eager to take its BI system to the next level. And it wanted it to be a SAP solution, prompting the decision to replace the existing Cognos reporting solution with SAP Business Warehouse on HANA.

The project was launched with release SAP 7.4 on HANA. During the project, a migration to SAP 7.5 on HANA was carried out. In this case too, SAP BW was already being used by another subsidiary and was therefore readily available.

Products in the SAP BusinessObjects family were to be used for the frontend as well. These adjustments were intended to bring about following changes and benefits:

  • Standardized data models that can be leveraged by every company in the group, allowing its globally dispersed service centers to provide cost-optimized support.
  • Consistent KPIs that guarantee comparability.
  • A smooth transition for users of the Cognos solution by means of a like-to-like migration.
  • Elimination of unnecessary interfaces.
  • Improved and accelerated flow of information along the value chain.
  • Increased responsiveness for better corporate management, which also improves competitiveness.

Our solution consists of Web Intelligence reports based on SAP BW on HANA along with standardized data provisioning from the operational SAP ERP system. The following illustration outlines the project’s structure:

Illustration Project Structure

By replacing its existing ERP and BI systems, our customer was able to improve its business. Not only can users now access reports and data much faster, substantially reducing time to decision, but they can also, to a certain degree, customize their reports in the context of a self-service BI. Another big plus is a significantly improved security posture due to centrally managed access authorizations. Last but not least, we were able to reduce license costs and therefore improve cost-effectiveness for the customer.

The introduction and standardization of SAP ERP and BI solutions typically require significant investments. By having our employees from our nearshoring location in Cluj-Napoca in Romania contribute to the project, we were able to drastically cut these costs. At the peak of the project, up to 6 colleagues from Cluj-Napoca were involved in the project. We coordinated through daily briefings during which our team communicated remotely both through video and audio.

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

Big data and artificial intelligence – a powerful duo that will shape our future

SAP makes artificial intelligence a reality

Using intelligent machines to analyze big data is no longer just wishful thinking. SAP has turned yesterday’s dreams into today’s reality. Based on SAP HANA, SAP has breathed life into multiple software components capable of thinking autonomously and analyzing vast amounts of data. As you are reading this, its software is recognizing faces and objects and carrying out large-scale analyses that would neither be possible nor conceivable if done manually.

With SAP, artificial intelligence (AI) has made the leap from vision to reality.

SAP Clea and SAP Leonardo: artificial intelligence is gaining momentum

SAP has added a new version to its HANA platform. Along with it, a number of AI and IoT (Internet of Things) services were introduced to the market.
SAP’s new SAP Clea software runs in the SAP cloud and is capable of autonomous learning without requiring any explicit programming. Its analytical intelligence is already being leveraged by companies like Munich Re and the European Space Agency. The insurance giant Munich Re is constantly calculating the risk associated with forest fires using data on vegetation lines. These calculations are supported by intelligent software and their capability for large-scale big data analytics.

SAP Leonardo is the name of SAP’s IoT solution portfolio. Just like its namesake Leonardo da Vinci, SAP Leonardo takes a broad and interdisciplinary approach – a fundamental requirement for the Internet of Things. Information from across the company is taken into consideration, paving the way for the development of novel solutions and business models.

SAP Leonardo is designed to assist potential customers in crafting an IoT strategy and in identifying the solutions that will best meet their specific needs.

Because one thing is for certain: There is no such thing as the one piece of software for IoT and AI. It usually takes a combination of multiple applications.

The digital core: The S/4HANA SAP Enterprise Suite

S/4HANA is already being leveraged by 4,000 companies in 25 countries. It forms the digital core for the transformation and can be used for IoT and AI/machine learning applications. SAP has introduced several additions in the cloud, such as Connected Logistics, Connected Vehicles, Connected Manufacturing, Connected Assets, Connected Retail, and Future Cities. These allow companies to, for example, manage their fleets, control quality levels, and calculate routes.

In the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning services, SAP offers a range of services on the SAP Cloud Platform:

  • Resume Matching to streamline recruiting
  • Cash Application to analyze payment behavior
  • Social Media Customer Service
  • Brand Intelligence
  • Fraud Detection for insurers and banks

SAP Fiori – the new SAP UI

SAP Fiori is an initiative that aims to enhance usability (for more information, please refer to our website and our blog). With Fiori 2.0, SAP wants to harmonize the user experience for all SAP applications and has included a number of improvements in its visual design and usability.

This is yet another area where AI is leveraged. The user is assisted by a co-pilot that anticipates user actions and prepares them accordingly. Its built-in voice control, for example, streamlines maintenance and warehouse workflows. Artificial intelligence is used to analyze suppliers and categorize them according to a predefined requirements profile.

Inspired: straightforward big data analytics

The combination of artificial intelligence and big data supported by SAP Fiori makes for more effective automation and analysis. The software tries to foresee what actions the user wants to take, enhancing effectiveness and boosting speed. SAP Fiori enables companies to conduct large-scale analyses of big data and to automatically monitor important business metrics. Anomalies, trends, and patterns are automatically communicated to the responsible staff in an interface that puts the user first. The available data is analyzed in a central user interface that allows for intuitive operation. There is no longer a need for complex modifications of input and output parameters.

Artificial intelligence ensures that the algorithms deliver meaningful results without requiring input from the business departments.

The main objective of machine learning is to identify data patterns and relationships and to apply them to new sets of data. The underlying algorithms are based on statistics, the calculation of probabilities, and algebra. With SAP Application Intelligence, data is the fuel that powers machine learning.

Deep learning: where machines outperform humans

One discipline of machine learning is known as deep learning: Here, neural networks are flooded with vast amounts of data. The intention is to enable the software to recognize faces, classify objects, and understand language. Capabilities that are constantly being refined and increasingly used in robotics applications.

This also opens up new medical applications:
Soon, the data of individual cancer patients will be compared to millions of medical records to enable the customization of healthcare through precision medicine. Artificial intelligence works for the broad mass and delivers very promising results. The software is increasingly becoming an all-rounder that can be leveraged across the board. SAP Application Intelligence is capable of unearthing relationships that would otherwise stay hidden from the human eye. Working under time constraints, human employees often overlook crucial data that then remains undiscovered in day-to-day business.

Conclusion

Artificial intelligence has already found its way into business intelligence solutions, where it is used to control data analytics, for example in order to detect anomalies or automatically structure and interpret data. On top of that, AI algorithms are also used to monitor data streams.

The intelligent and integrative interaction between new SAP components such as Clea, Leonardo, or Fiori on the basis of SAP HANA Cloud and on-premises solutions are continuously inspiring Inspiricon to search for innovative services for our customers.

You are curious to learn more and explore new potential business? Do not hesitate to contact us now!

Author
Claudio Volk Member of the Management Board
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: info@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
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
Inspiricon SAP HCP mobile services Fiori

SAP HCP Mobile Services for SAP Fiori – new ways for mobile use

SAP directs its product strategy towards the future and uses keywords like “Mobility first” and “Device independence“. With SAP HCP, mobile services for SAP Fiori, the technical basis for the development of applications has been extended immensely. And it was about time: in a lot of cases, potential of mobile applications is lying fallow – this relates in particular to cost reduction and efficiency.

SAP HCP and SAP Fiori

SAP HCP (HANA Cloud Platform) is an online-service that is offered within SAP’s platform services (please read our blog article on SAP HCP: http://en.inspiricon.de/sap-hcp/). It is one of the most favorite PaaS offers (Platform as a Service) which are currently on the market. The cloud computing platform is addressed to software developers and comprises different services such as SAP HANA databases, IoT services (Internet of Things) and integration services.

SAP Fiori stands for a number of applications for the SAP system in SAPUI5 or rather HTML5 (read our blog on SAP Fiori: http://en.inspiricon.de/category/technology/fiori/). SAP Fiori enables the mobile use of SAP transactions. Concerning User Experience and Usability, SAP was not the first name that came into mind in the past – but the IT made great progress especially in these areas.

SAP HCP is the central extension and development platform for applications in the cloud. It is a real all-rounder that will probably soon be used from each SAP application company. SAP Fiori for mobile users is optimized by means of SAP HCP. This offers completely new possibilities. The advantages and the simplicity of use convince in many ways.

What are the advantages of the new platform?

  1. SAP Fiori can be aimed to the use of mobile user by means of SAP HCP. Mobile users are able to open their internet browser via SAP Fiori applications – in doing so, a secure and seamless integration is granted. SAP HANA Cloud platform is an application service that enables an optimization of mobile activities.
  2. End-to-end solutions allow customization, protection and connection of Fiori Apps – as well as testing, distribution and surveillance of applications.
  3. SAP Fiori applications work on portable devices as veritable mobile applications. Users benefit from a high usability.
  4. Device functionalities like barcode scanner, authorization and data security can be implemented and designed in terms of usability – the same applies for branding.
  5. Users are able to profit from device functions quick and comprehensive. Receiving push notifications and accessing local data are smooth processes.
  6. Companies benefit from high usability and data security. Extensive authorization methods increase security and allow to allocate authorizations.

How to do it

The platform SAP HCP for SAP Fiori can be used quite easy. If you want to try it, you can create a free developer account. All you have to do is to register and apply for an account: that can be activated by an e-Mail link. The platform is designed in a clear way and you will be able to use it intuitively. On the left-hand side you will find the most important features such as the dashboard, HANA XS applications, database systems, HTML5 applications, services and authorizations. As soon as you click on one of the categories, the corresponding category will open on the right-hand side. E.g. Internet of Things, device management or Fiori Mobile. The following steps are self-explanatory and follow the principles of a modular design, based on intuitive handling.

SAP HCP for mobile services for SAP Fiori

Using SAP HCP is quite simple and you do not need special prior knowledge. Advantages for mobile services are huge. There are tangible improvements especially with regard to data and application security, usability and interlinking. By means of user-friendly innovations, fundamental possibilities have been created to improve usability and user experience as well as to design mobile applications in a forward-thinking and modern way.

Inspiricon Best Practice: How to develop a search for http-services with SAP Fiori und SAP HCP

We built a sector-independant and standardized solution for autosuggest with fuzzy matching. Read our Best Practice here: Inspiricon developed a search for http-services with SAP Fiori and SAP HCP (only available in German).

 

Author
Andrei Vlad CEO Inspiricon SRL
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: cluj@inspiricon.de
Inspiricon SAP BW Upgrade 7.4

Being successful with Inspiricon Best Practices: Upgrade SAP BW 7.3 to 7.4 at a global pharma group

Today, we present you an upgrade project of Inspiricon. It was a SAP BW Upgrade from 7.3 to 7.4, realized in the years 2015 – 2016.

Our clients‘ requirements were the following:

  • Release change to SAP BW
  • Increase of system stability
  • Integration of HANA-optimized data models

Please find a summary of our approach here: http://inspiricon.de/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Inspiricon_Upgrade-SAP-BW-7.4.pdf

Our initial position

Before the upgrade, our client had the release SAP BW 7.3 with different service packages. The upgrade to version 7.4 was necessary in order to

  • enhance system performance
  • develop mobile reportings and applications with Fiori
  • keep SAP systems up to date (bringing in the latest SAP information)

The challenge for Inspiricon

Due to the fact that our client is working globally, our project team was confronted with a heterogeneous IT landscape. The existing reporting is also used worldwide. As a consequence, the BI system creates the possibility to work with the data globally on group level in order to ensure a uniform reporting system.

The following challenges had to be solved from the Inspiricon team in this project:

  • Connected systems and related dependencies had to be taken into account
  • The existing landscape is very complex
  • Many projects were ongoing during the release change, all simultaneously on the system that was to upgrade. Organizationally spoken, information exchange between different projects had to be coordinated promptly in all time zones.
  • No interruption of ongoing operations (“silent upgrade”)
  • Test management: ongoing coverage of all existing system functionalities

The project team comprised up to 20 persons, of which two were Nearshoring resources (BI-IT). The Inspiricon Nearshoring-team contributed the onsite-team not only with its long-time experience and quality standards but also with a significant cost benefit. Read more on Nearshoring here.

 

Inspiricon Project Approach

Inspiricon Project Approach

 

Successful project closing

Go-Live was at the end of May 2016, followed by an intensive Hyper Care Phase for 3 weeks. During this time, our Inspiricon team supported the client until the system was running as performant and stable as it was required.

Due to the release change, our client is now able to use the latest HANA objects entirely and to benefit from their performance advantage. Customer requirements were fully met – subsequent projects are already assigned.

Inspiricon Best Practices

We can learn a lot from successful projects. That is why we developed best practices for future projects from this upgrade project. They include the following and can be transferred to other projects:

  1. Upgrade process (Approach, Upgrade Project Timeline)
  2. Upgrade of technical plan (Pre-upgrade, Upgrade and post-upgrade checklists)
  3. Resource Matrix (Project Organigram, Roles and Responsibilities, Communication Matrix)
  4. Challenges and recommendations

Additional to this blog post, we recommend you to read our Best Practice “Inspiricon Best Practices in use” (only available in German).

You are interested in SAP BW? Read more on https://en.inspiricon.de/sap-bw-bo/. You are also welcome to contact us directly – your contact person for SAP BW is Michael Schmer.

 

Author
Istvan Boda SAP BI Consultant
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: cluj@inspiricon.de