Sap Bi Bo Integration - Best Practices and Overcoming Challenges

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<p>SAP BI BO Integration Best practices and overcoming challenges</p> <p>14</p> <p>Applies toSAP BusinessObjects Enterprise. For more information, visit the Business Objects homepage.SummaryThis whitepaper focuses on various aspects that need to be followed in the BO/BW integration projects. It covers best practices, challenges faced and solutions derived in integrating BI with BO (WebI and Crystal Reports).Author(s): Sudhakar ArunachalamRavi Sankar Reddy NaralaReviewer(s): Venkatesh Moti, Anil Kumar LingamCompany: DeloitteCreated on: February 14, 2012Author bio</p> <p>Error! No text of specified style in document.Page 2The authors have worked on several SAP Business Objects projects. As used in this document, Deloitte means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.</p> <p>Table of contents1.Introduction12. SAP BI BO Integration Best practices22.1 BW queries22.2 OLAP Universe42.3 Information52.4 Crystal reports62.5 WebI reports93. SAP BI BO Integration Challenges and solutions103.1 Universe103.2 WebI reports113.3 Crystal reports124. SAP BI BO Integration Observations144.1 WebI reports144.2 OLAP Universes144.3 BW queries144.4 Crystal Reports144.5 InfoView viewers for Crystal15Related content16Copyright17</p> <p>SAP BI BO Integration Best practices and overcoming challenges1. IntroductionSAP acquired Business Objects in 2008 to provide customers with a full suite of business intelligence and information management solutions on a single platform with deep integration to SAP Business Suite and NetWeaver. The intent was to offer SAP customers with a market leading suite of reporting, analytics and dashboard capabilities.This whitepaper focuses on various aspects that need to be followed in the BO/BI integration projects. It covers some of the common challenges faced, and solutions derived in integrating BI with BO (WebI and Crystal Reports). Also, this paper presents a perspective into the recommendations and best practices for BusinessObjects reports development with SAP BW. Goal of this document is to accelerate the deployment of BusinessObjects reports and avoid common mistakes by developers trying their hands for first time with SAP BW based data connections. The scope of this whitepaper is limited to the experiences that we have come across in this project.The Environment is:SAP BI 7.1Crystal Reports 2008 SP3SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 SP3SAP BI BO Integration kit SP32. SAP BI BO Integration Best practices2.1 BW queriesNeed to check Allow external access to the Query property in advanced properties of BEx to make queries accessible from external applications like Crystal Reports and Universe Designer.</p> <p>For large sets of key figures, Use Selection of Structure Members option in transaction RSRT for the query to ensure structure elements are sent to the database for processing.Selection option in variable creation is not recommended in BEx Queries. Alternatively, interval for dates and multi-/single-value select variable for Characteristics are suggested.</p> <p>All the characteristics used in characteristic restriction should be part of rows/columns.Create all prompts in Characteristic restrictions part of BEx. Prompts created at rows/column level of BEx are not carried to Universe.Authorization variables should be part of characteristic restrictions instead of on default values.Implement the filters and restrictions in the BEx query in order to minimize the volume of data returned to Crystal Reports or Web Intelligence reports.Parameters kept at Crystal Report would not filter data coming from BEx. Instead, need to suppress data Crystal Report level. Prompts kept at WebI level will filter data coming from BEx.Use hierarchy type InfoObject to restrict hierarchy node variable restriction. Using normal InfoObject for hierarchy node restriction may give errors at Universe/report level.A large number of navigation attributes defined in the BEx query negatively impacts the performance of the query in Web Intelligence. Only required characteristic objects should be marked as Navigational attributes.BEx should be designed keeping Web Intelligence and Crystal Reports in mind and not BEx, as Crystal, WebI, and BW Queries are three different reporting tools.Row-level security authorizations need to be handled at BW query using authorization variables, as security and restrictions are not supported by Designer for OLAP Universes or Crystal Reports.InfoObject, Variable descriptions in the BEx query have to be aligned with prompt text requirements of the reports.Suggested to apply restrictions at BEX level on some InfoObjects which should show only limited list of values. (e.g.: Fiscal Year Variant: can be restricted to SY instead of allowing all LOV).It is not required to pull InfoObject attributes to BEx query to facilitate Crystal/WebI Reports as all attributes would be available here by default.Key and Text both should be selected for characteristics wherever applicable, instead of selecting only key or text.</p> <p>Design your BEx query appropriately with limited number of Key Figures and Characteristics.2.2 OLAP Universe1. Set one-time setting at Tools/Options/OLAP. Uncheck Set measure aggregation to delegated, Generate L00.While creating Universe connection, SSO option needs to be used instead of specifying user name and password. When SAP credentials were updated, no additional maintenance is required for connections.Give Universe connection name same as BEx query technical name. (ZZQMSELM02_Q002).Give Universe name as Process area Report name. (QM Notification Causes)</p> <p>Universe controls need to be left unchecked to fetch complete result set.Promote detailed key objects as dimensions for important InfoObject. (Material key, Document key, etc.)Change the date definition of pre-defined condition at universe level to provide the calendar option in the report prompts.Prefix numbers to prompt display strings to achieve required sequence in WebI Reports.L00 objects can be filtered in Universe. But for Universes with hierarchies, this option is not suggested, as hierarchy objects would start from L00.Create custom objects at universe and use them in Web Intelligence reports to avoid universe refresh issues.Duplicate Condition objects to manage universe refreshes.Use Delegate Search option in universe designer.No values will be loaded automatically. User is forced to leverage search to receive members. Search is being delegated to the SAP BI system)For large sets of key figures, Use Selection of Structure Members option. (In transaction RSRT for the query to ensure structure elements are sent to the database for processing.)No need to set Connection parameters like Array fetch size, Array bind size, and Login timeout.(These are of no use for BI OLAP universes.)BI Queries are recommended as data sources for generating universes.(BI Queries offer significant functionality such as Calculated and Restricted Key figures, structures and SAP authorization Variables.)Ensure the reference objects are indexed to avoid unnecessary steps to resolve the value to the member unique name.Set Index Awareness for suitable columns.Date filters when flown to Universe; lose the ability to provide calendar facility. Update the prompt logic at universe to provide calendar to users.Set measure qualification to sum, average, and database-delegate etc., appropriately.While creating universes for Adhoc-Reporting, create custom objects and hide default classes and objects (L00/L01).All the naming conventions of Characteristics and objects need to be taken care at BEx level.When Universe is based on multiple subject areas, it is suggested to prefix process area for Key figures names.Characteristic in BEx would map to subclass/dimension object in Universe and all the attributes would come as detailed objects in Universe. This is the default behavior of universe.Recommended to have few BW Queries for every InfoCube or MultiCube that is in scope for ad-hoc query and reporting. Then, build a universe on top of each of these BW Queries.2.3 Information1. Universes connect to SAP NetWeaver BI via OLAP BAPIUniverse can directly connect to Multiproviders and InfoCubes.Universe can connect to Multiproviders, InfoCubes, ODS, Infoset through BEx Query.Need to use BEx queries to leverage CKFs, RKFs, Structures, Variables, Navigational attributes.Characteristics, Hierarchies, Basic key figures, Display attributes would be available at InfoCube/BEx query level as well.Meta data mappingDimension: ClassCharacteristics: subclass with dimension and detail objectsCharacteristic with hierarchy: Subclass containing dimension and detail objects for each hierarchy level in the currently defined hierarchyStructure based on Characteristics: Class with single dimension object for the structureNavigational attribute: Subclass with dimension and detail objects (identical to characteristic)Display Attribute: Detail object for the dimensionKey Figure: Measure object in the class for the Key Figure structure with dimension objects for units/currency, numeric value, and formatted value (based on User preferences) Calculated Key Figure (BEx Queries only): Measure and dimension objects (same as Key Figure)Restricted Key Figure (BEx Queries only): Measure and dimension objects (same as Key Figure)Variables (BEx Queries only): Pre-defined Filter in the UniverseIn the class for the dimension to which the variable applies, two dimension objects supporting the list of values, one for caption, one for description.Key date variable (BEx Queries only): Universe parameters defining key date variable in the universe2.4 Crystal reports1. Use MDX driver. If you select the SAP&gt;Settings menu, you will see the option Use MDX driver with support for Multiple structures. This option is what determines whether, when using SAP Toolbar to create a report, Crystal Reports will use the BW Query driver or the BW MDX driver. If this option is not selected when you use the SAP toolbar to create a new report, it will use the SAP BW Query driver, which is the driver that you should not use for creating reports off BEx Queries, as this is an old driver that has limited functionality.Before you start creating reports, make sure you check the option to Use MDX driver with support for Multiple structures so you use the recommended BW MDX driver.</p> <p>Publish to BOE via BW using BW publisher.</p> <p>When you save your Crystal Reports, you can choose to save it to BOE or you can save it to BW and publish to BOE. It is not mandatory to save to BW and then publish to BOE, but if you dont do so, you miss some functionality, such as:Online list of values for promptsHierarchical display for hierarchical node promptsSAP variable personalizationLife cycle management of Crystal Reports (from DEV to QA to PROD) with the SAP transportsNot recommended to use PageN of M.Show both name and description for Characteristics.</p> <p>Set page size letter/legal/ledger for U.S. projects.Uncheck Save Data with Report to get latest data every time. This will make the report to refresh whenever it is viewed. </p> <p>Check No printer option.</p> <p>Keep one time tool level settings for font, size, wrap, and paragraph. It is advisable to prepare a template with all desired fonts, sizes, layout etc, and apply the same template for related reports. This reduces the manual labor in Development.</p> <p>Publish to BOE via BW using BW publisher to provide dynamic LOVs.2.5 WebI reports1. Enabling Query stripping would improve the report performance (SP3).Use Query Drill option in the Web Intelligence Document Properties dialog box significantly improves drill down performance.Leverage Hyperlink wizard to minimize the effort of Hyperlink creation.Use input controls for interactive analysis for report data.At least one key figure has to be included in BEx in order to get result set in Web Intelligence.3. SAP BI BO Integration Challenges and solutions3.1 Universe1. Refresh structure does not reflect the BEx changes to Universe in some cases.Closing and reopening the Designer session would solve the problem.Web Intelligence reports would be impacted when some characteristics were deleted from BEx/Universe that was used in report.Creation of custom objects at universe and using them in reports would solve the problem.Web Intelligence reports throw errors regarding password expiry in the universe connections.Use Single Sign-on Option while creating universe connections to handle password expiry issues.Updating the universe to reflect latest changes in BEx would erase customization of predefined condition objects of the Universe.Duplicating predefined condition objects and applying customization on them would retain customization irrespective of universe updates.An OLAP Universe sourced out of SAP BI can point to only one InfoProvider or query. This limits the creation of generic universes which can serve cross-functional requirements.Creation of multiprovider on cross functional info cubes and creating a generic BEx and generating OLAP universe on top of such generic BEx can serve cross-functional requirements.Concatenating dimension or detail objects is not possible in BI OLAP universe.Concatenation can be handled at InfoProvider level and concatenated InfoObject can be passed on to the universe.Default projection aggregate for all measures in BI OLAP universe would be set to Database Delegated. This would create data roll up issues for adhoc reports.Use alternate projection aggregate (sum) wherever possible except for non-additive measures which would be calculated correctly only if associated with database delegated.Characteristic variables on date characteristics would be converted as pre-defined conditions at universe level, losing the Calendar ability for prompts.Change the definition of pre-defined condition at universe level to provide the calendar option in the report prompts.Selection option variable of BEx gets carried over to the universe as predefined condition of type Range. This pre-defined condition would overwrite the actual functionality of selection option variables.Avoid using Selection Option variables in the BEx that would source Web Intelligence reports.3.2 WebI reports1. Need to fix the report layout for report based on structure at BEx. Report does not show structure elements where there is no data at backend.Create a dummy formula at structure and provide a value of 1 for it. This ensures a value is supplied to all structure elements.Web Intelligence report may not return any data if the query is built without any measures provided corresponding BEx has no key figures in the query.Use Dummy Key Figure in the BEx which has constant value in it to return data to the Web Intelligence reports sourced out of this BExNo data to retrieve error when pul...</p>

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