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VenkateswaraGY
Advisor
Advisor


 

SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform is the most trusted Business Intelligence Platform and continues to provide much needed innovations and enhancements what customer eco system is expecting. With the recent update in the SAP Analytics Business Intelligence Statement of Direction you can get the indication of next major release, planned for SAP BusinessObjects BI suite.

As part of the maintenance this is the next Support Package release for the SAP BusinessObjects BI Suite for the last major release BI 4.3. This release SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 SP03 brings another set of customer requested enhancements, tremendous innovations along with important security features, like it was done with the previous Support Pack SAP BusinessObjects  BI 4.3 SP02 release.

BI Launch Pad : Enhancements



BI Launch Pad – Enhancements


User Experience(Ux) is the key focus theme in this release to address many of the customer requested enhancements and to deliver catch up features. Pinning () is one such much awaited feature, with this users can conveniently access the previously pinned documents after re-login from the quick access drop down menu. Folder Path column got introduced to avoid the ambiguity in choosing the right copy of a Document when it is having multiple copies placed in different folders from the document list in All Documents Page and Favorites Page. New filter Scheduled By got introduced to help power users to filter scheduled instances by a particular user, in Schedule Instances page. Folder Page got revamped and simplified to give focus on folder content and accommodate more. Title Column is fixed as first column and cannot be re-ordered, and it will stay freeze while horizontal scrolling. BI Administrators can easily convey any important announcements to BI Users via the newly introduced Banner Message feature.


For more detailed explanation of each of these features, refer the following blog.

 

BI Platform : Microsoft OneDrive Support


SAP has introduced Cloud drive support with BI 4.3 SP02 release starting with Google Drive. Continuing the momentum now in BI 4.3 SP03 support for Microsoft OneDrive got added to the list. This support also like with Google Drive, works with OAuth SSO (OAuth 2.0) with Azure AD Authorization Server (Note: OpenID Connect Authentication was already supported for Azure AD in BI 4.3 SP02 onwards).

  • Now the resources available in Microsoft OneDrive can become the data source for your Web Intelligence document, please refer the following blog section Microsoft OneDrive Repository.

  • With Crystal Reports new viewer in BI Launch Pad you can directly export report to OneDrive folder.

  • Along with Google Drive, now Microsoft OneDrive folder can be chosen as Destination for Scheduled instances, please refer the following blog.



BI Platform : HSTS Support


HTTP Strict Transport Security in short HSTS, is an important Security Policy mechanism, which got defined as web security standard in RFC 6797. Mainly implemented by web application server administrators to avoid man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks that use SSL striping. To understand more about HSTS, refer the following blog.

BI 4.3 SP03 onwards, BI Launch Pad, OpenDocument, and Central Management Console can be secured by enabling HSTS in global.properties file in BOE Web Application. To know how to enable and what are limitations, refer the following blog.


BI Platform : Merged Restful Web Services application


Ever since BI Launch Pad had been Fiorified, and started using RESTful Webservices the deployment challenges like Cross Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) especially in complex deployments with Firewalls and Proxies.

To address these kind of challenges and also for better session management, SAP has decided to merge the biprws.war file content into BOE.war and by default BI Launch Pad, Open Document, and applications like BI Admin Studio and Workflow Assistant in Central Management Console uses the internally available RESTful Webservices.

But still the separate war for RESTful Webservices (biprws.war) will still continue to ship to be used for other BI Suite of Applications, Clients, Add-ons, and Custom Applications who are using the RESTful Webservices.

To know more about the change and its implications, refer the following blog.


BI Platform : New User Creation - Adhering to Password Policy criteria


Password Criteria was being honored while creating new user with Enterprise Authentication alias from the Central Management Console and force to adhere to pre-defined password criteria, this behavior was creating confusion and introducing some challenges for the BI Administrators. This will be the case even while creating the Users with BI Platform SDK.

To address this situation and streamline the process according to Standards, BI 4.3 SP03 onwards, while the new user is being created either in Central Management Console or using any custom application based on BI Platform SDK or Importing Users using CSV file in CMC/Workflow Assistant, all these scenarios of new User creation will now honor the password criteria defined at Enterprise Authentication configuration page.

Having said this, with this enhancement, any custom applications and any existing automations based on Import user using CSV file may not work, unless the passwords chosen to create user are according to the Password Criteria defined in the backend for Enterprise Authentication.


BI Platform : Enhanced Password policy criteria for Enterprise Authentication


Along with the above mentioned enhancement, one another major enhancement with respect to Security Standards compliance, Password Criteria for Enterprise Authentication has been enhanced to accommodate new criteria named "Must not exceed N characters where N is:" to manage the maximum character length for passwords being chosen. With default value as 255 and accepts the values between 13 to 255 both inclusive.

Also, for existing password criteria "Must contain at least N characters where N is:", default value will be 8 and accepts the values between 6 to 255.

All the above changes will be applicable even while choosing the new password for existing users or creating users using any of the BI Clients, Add-ons and Custom Applications using BI Platform SDK.

Note: This criteria will come into effect for any end user only when they are choosing the new password (Change Password) or Administrators creating or importing the new users with Enterprise Authentication. That means for the existing users, they do not need to change the password and should not have any difficulty even after updating the BI system to BI 4.3 SP03.




BI Platform : Secure Program Objects


The option 'Use Impersonation' has been removed, and is considered as active by default. Therefore it will be required to provide credentials for scheduling Program Objects. If credentials are not supplied the schedules will fail with error:
       

      Could not authenticate using the provided operating system credentials

For more information please refer the following SAP Knowledge Base Article 3245474.


 

BI Install : Enhancements


Along with managing BI Landscapes, Installation and Deployment is the one more on-going activity for BI Administrators to deliver up to date BI Landscapes to their end users. As SAP BusinessObjects continues to innovate, maintain and enhance BI Suite, upgrades, updates, and deployments of BI systems need to be more focused and well planned by BI Administrators according to their Organizational expectations & needs.

Like with any other support pack release with this BI 4.3 SP03 as well BI Installers got delivered with latest up to date technologies with security and third party updates and upgrades.

Click here for What's New guides, Release Restrictions and other Installation and Update Guides.

Along with this SAP BusinessObjects ONE Uninstaller also got equipped with Silent execution capabilities to give more flexibility to BI Administrators planning to optimize their BI Systems with the new major release of the same v2.0, to know more about these capabilities, refer the following ONE Uninstaller 2.0.

To know more about the supported platforms and their pre-requisites, refer the Product Availability Matrix.

To know the list of patch deliveries and other fixes went into BI 4.3 SP03 release, refer the bi-upports document. To understand how interpret the bi upports document, refer the following SAP Knowledge Base Article 1794601.

To know the Tomcat and SAP JVM bundled versions with each release, refer the following SAP Knowledge Base Article 2112338.

For a more up to date list of SAPJVM versions per BI version, refer the following SAP Note 2914488.

Refer the latest ANALYTICS BI Maintenance Strategy - SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (SBOP) here.

Important Note: Maintenance Schedule information is no longer going to be published in the central location of SAP Support Portal, soon transitioning to the ’Calendar’ feature in SAP for Me (S-user required). For more information on this transition, refer the following blog.


SAP for Me


Refer the BI Support Pack End of Life Dates, here.


Web Intelligence : Enhancements


The moment any body think of Ad-hoc Query, Analysis & Reporting the first thing they get in their mind is Universes and Web Intelligence. In-fact SAP BusinessObjects Semantic Layer (Universe) became synonym for Ad-hoc Query, similarly Web Intelligence became synonym for Ad-hoc Analysis & Reporting in the Business Intelligence world. Read this nice blog to know more about the these patented technologies.

As usual and as always Web Intelligence and Semantic Layer delivered many innovative, customer requested and catch-up enhancements in SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 SP03 release.

With the main focus area as data modeling delivered the capabilities in support of the same as "Data Preview Mode", "Transform Data", and "Combine Data Flows".

And the next focus area on integration, continuing the capabilities delivered in BI 4.3 SP02 added the support for Microsoft OneDrive. Similarly also enriched the OData capabilities to access the WebI report elements and cubes directly.

Please refer the following blog to know more about the above mentioned topics along with many other enhancements and improvements in Web Intelligence and Semantic Layer.


Web Intelligence Document




Crystal Reports : Enhancements


SAP Crystal Reports became the de-facto business intelligence application for any pixel-perfect data reporting requirements since early 90s. It helps in creating richly formatted multipage dynamic business reports and invoices. Using Crystal Reports you can create reports almost from any data source and deliver them in over a dozen formats, like Excel, PDF, HTML and MHTML. And made them available offline and online from applications, portals and mobile devices. SAP Crystal Reports enables developers to generate interactive reports without leaving their favorite development environments like Visual Studio and Eclipse.


SAP Crystal Reports 2020 SP03 brings yet another set of great enhancements to continue the innovative momentum goring across SAP BusinessObjects BI Suite of products. Fiorified viewer for Crystal Reports in BI Launch Pad is delivered in this release along with other enhancements like Export to Microsoft Drive & Google Drive. For more details on list of enhancements and the details about the same, refer the following blog.


SAP Crystal Reports 2020 SP03 - Fiori Viewer in BI Launch Pad




Regards, Venkat.
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