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Notes from #BI4Elite training in Vancouver, BC Canada – Day 4

(For reference make sure to check out the original announcement of the BI4 Elite Enablement class and my post summing up the Day 1 and Day 2, and Day 3 notes.)

Customer presentation – US Dept of the Interior… 

We came in a hour early to listen to a presentation by Stan Curtis from the US Dept of Interior talking about their deployment of BO, WEBI vs Analysis for OLAP, and how they set up their environment.  The most interesting point – 80,000 employees and only 280 BEx queries.  That is quite the efficient setup.

SAP Business Objects Explorer…

Great for getting information quickly, but you need to have a question you are trying to answer.  BI4 Explorer is now integrated into the BI Launchpad. Search in the Launchpad is integrated with Explorer.  You can now have multiple tabs (multiple spaces) open at the same time.  Explorer does now come with geo-awareness.  Starting with SP4 you can associate dimensions with geographic information.  When not using BWA or HANA, there is a 3 million row limitation.  (I think I got that note right.)

BEx 7.3 has the ability to expose a BEx query as an infoprovider.  (Not all kinds of queries, there are limits.  If you are planning on trying this, make sure to review the limitations prior to attempting this.)  Essentially this is allowing you to build a .unx query on a BEx query – this functionality is planned for 4.1.  As it isn’t a fully vetted process, it isn’t yet considered a supported activity. Support for .unv is planned for 4.1 in a limited capacity.


SAP Business Objects Dashboards (Xcelcius)…

SP4 ads auditing and direct binding to BW via BEx queries.  Translation manager is built into the product.  SP5 (out in a few days) access to HTML5 (can export to) to facilitate getting dashboards available for Mobile BI.

Note the Roadmaps are publically available and updated every 3 months and typically lay out the next 18 months .

Ingo demonstrated an upcoming ebook (should be about 3 weeks) on Analysis for OLAP with BW.  It will only be available for iPad usage.  One on Design Studio is planned for the December timeframe.   From what we saw of the new delivery format - it is going to be on the "to buy" list.  Interactivity and demo videos included really enhanced the subject matter.

Best Practices with Ingo…


Prompting – when using OpenDoc with Variables, ensure the key values are used as part of the opendoc URL (not the desc values)

Performance items – just because WEBI could pull 20 million records out of BW, doesn’t mean you should.  Leave the data on the DSO later.  Try to leverage the clients together, ex navigate from Analysis to WEBI/Crystal.

SP4 improvements – Browsing of BEx queries – got improved a lot.  Big implication to us as this has been one of our biggest hangups in our setup with SP2 and why we haven’t rolled out Analysis for MS Office to users.  “Refresh” of reports has been improved with SP4 as well (Crystal, Webi, Dashboards.)

Leverage the capabilities of Restricted Key and Calculated Key Figures.  Leverage EXIT Variables as part of the BEx query.  You can define an OLAP Connection pointing to your SAP NetWeaver BW System, your Infoprovider, your BEx query.

Available / Recommended tools for tracing:

  • RSTT - Major tool for tracing, stores in BW (Note 899572)
  • JCo Tracing (Note 1609534)
  • DB02
  • ST02 - what sql was executed, can see what happened on the db
  • ST01 - where was the time spend
  • ST04 - how much data did we ask for from the data base
  • ST03N - ditto
  • STAD

BI4.0 Sizing and Deployment, Troubleshooting, Sizing and Monitoring – Performance Testing with JMeter by Vishal Dhir...

BI is I/O Intensive.  Use the sizing estimator and companion guide.

BI4 is all 64 bit, it is also architecturally different than 3.1.  BI4 is bigger because it includes new services and applications, so don’t expect it to run on the same hardware as 3.1.

(I went a lot lighter on the notes here as much of the information is contained within the publically available sizing guide.  Plus it simply wasn’t possible to capture all of the notes while trying to pay attention to this section.)

Keeping up to date on BI system is patching is important.  Though we as discussed earlier this week – easier said than done.

We did have a lab on sizing and how it is done.

Demystifying Auditing in BO with Radim Bacinschi…

We looked at how auditing works from the BI platform perspective and new auditing enhancements in SAP Business Objects in 4.0.  In 4.0 it is possible to turn on auditing which is reflected across all of the systems – this is a change from 3.1.  There is now unified (consistent) auditing across all of the tools/services. 

Session management is a recognized gap.  We can see what happens before or after a report is run, but we cannot see that a specific user is actively running a specific report.  (This is one issue we have been looking into.)

SAP BI Elite Enablement – Troubleshooting with Vishal Dhir…

Best practice is to hook into other apps such as SAP Solution Manager, IBM Tivoli, etc. 

Tracing, log files are used by sys admins to troubleshoot and evaluate performance. 4.0 makes it very easy to enable tracing.  You can configure tracing for processing servers, web applications, client tools, etc.

Troubleshooting – Collect the required data.  What is the actual issue?  Hang is not the same as a crash.

What is consulting – what is support?  See SAP note 83020.

Idea Place – enhancement requests or product suggestions, make it here so everyone can see it.  See SAP note 1515837.

For the evening we had a dinner reception at a local establishment.  SAP was a great host for this event - we had great food, a few beverage, and a relaxed environment to continue discussions with our collegues.  It was a great chance to continue to network and trade the usual SAP/BO war stories.  Thanks SAP for hosting such an enjoyable evening!

If you are interested, a few of those tweeting from the SAP BI4 Elite Enablement event:

@olorinpc, @jenskoerner, @racheljfloyd, @tpowlas, @Rajeevkapur_08, @jmsrpp, @brighttony.

Let us know what you think of the coverage!