Technology Blogs by Members
Explore a vibrant mix of technical expertise, industry insights, and tech buzz in member blogs covering SAP products, technology, and events. Get in the mix!
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Active Contributor

We upgraded one of our customers BuisnessObjects Enterprise systems from 3.1 to 4.0. After the upgrade, they asked me why they cannot create a UNX universe in Information Design Tool on top of Bex Queries. I had to explain them what type of connections they have with BO 4.0 what the advantages and disadvantages are.

So, I decided to share my thoughts with SCN community what I explained to my customer.

With BusinessObjects 4.0, we have 3 different options to connect to Bex queries and create reports on top of that. These are

1. BAPI connection (OLAP Universe UNV) which was the traditional method.

2. Relational Connection through Data Federator which allow BW cubes to be integrated and joined with other SQL like databases (Oracle, MS SQL etc.)

3. BICS connection which SAP has introduce this with BO 4.0 release.

1. BAPI Connection (OLAP Universe)

This is the traditional method which we had to use to connect to BW cubes and Bex queries for reporting in Web Intelligence through Unverse Designer in BusinessObjects 3.x systems. This connection is using MDX parser to connect to Bex which is another layer and causing Bex queries to run slower in Web Intelligence then Bex Tools like Bex Analyzer. This connection also does not support hierarchies created in BW side.  RFC executes the standard MDX BAPIs to execute a query. The RFC is called by a Java program using the SAP JAVA connectivity objects. The RFC takes the inputs and executes the query using the MDX BAPIs and gives back the results as a flat table output (unlike OLAP) back to the Java program. The Java program then shows it to the user in Web Intelligence or another client tool.

For most of the people, this was a big problem. I know a lot of people who did not want to use BusinessObjects 3.1 on top of BW just because it did not support hierarchies. This was the only method to connect BusinessObjects to SAP BW.

Figure 1.

2. Relational Multisource Connection through Data Federator

This method was around in BO 3.x solution but Data Federator which was a separate server and sold independently, was needed for this kind of connection. Data Federator allows one to create multi connections to different data sources and use them in the universe. With BO 4.0, Data Federator is embedded inside. This gave Information Design Tool new capabilities such as combining different data sources without creating a data warehouse and reporting on top of it. This way made possible to combine and homogenize BW and SQL type databases like Oracle, MS SQL, MySQL, and etc. Moreover, with DF Jco connection, new dimensions, measures, or filter objects can be created at universe level which OLAP BAPI connection does not allow it.

Supported BW Platform: SAP NetWeaver BW 7.01 SP3 and upper.

How to integrate SAP with BO for BO 3.x systems using Data Federator 3.x:

However, this connection eliminates BW OLAP engine and puts the pressure on BusinessObject Enterprise. Calculations take place in BusinessObjects Data Federator engine instead of BW and causes to run slower than BW especially, if you are trying to join two fact tables (can be two InfoCubes) with millions of data. I can assure you this won't work at all. Data Federator will crash at some point. Also, this connection type flattens your BW cube which is multi dimensional as a result there will be no hierarchies.

How to create Data Federator Connection through IDT:

This connection should only be used for two reasons I can think of;

1. When BW data to be combined with different kinds of data sources with small amounts like master data tables.

2. As of now, BusinessObjects Explorer still does not support BICS or OLAP universes (UPDATE: BO 4.0 SP6 and above supports OLAP UNV universes) and needs UNX type of universes to connect BW.

Figure 2.

3. BICS Connection

SAP has introduced a new concept to connect BW, BI Consumer Services aka BICS with the release of BO 4.0. SAP recommends you connect BW through this connection. No universe needed for this type of connection to be consumed with. Web Intelligence can connect directly to Bex queries and the universe is created on the fly. Hierarchies are supported with this kind. Instead of connecting through MDX or SQL approach, this is direct client connection which performs better and faster than the other two connections.

This connection had problems when introduced first, but right now with SP4 this is way improved by SAP. Right now, it supports scaling factor, recognizes SUM aggregation type which was returning #UNAVAILABLE for measures when used with WebI variables. Furthermore, BICS is supported in Dashboard Design with SP4. Dashboard Design can directly connect to Bex queries through BICS. With new, components, hierarchical data can be shown on Dashboards.

How to create OLAP connections (BICS) in CMC:

How to create OLAP connections (BICS) in IDT:

Figure 3.

Here is a little table which connection supports which BO tool and the performance.

BICS Connection

MDX BAPI (OLAP universe)

Data Federator Jco Connection

BusinessObjects Explorer


Web Intelligence

BusinessObjects Analysis

Query as a Web Service (QAAWS)

Dashboard Design



Crystal Reports for Enterprise 4.0

Crystal Reports 2011 (Classic)





SLOW (Depends on data)

Creating objects

*  BICS connection is supported only with SP4 release before that is not supported at all.

** OLAP (BAPI) universes are supported through QAAWS.

*** UPDATE: With BO 4.0 SP6 and above, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer supports OLAP UNV universes.

For more detailed information documents below are a great source.

Questions and Answers: SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 and the Semantic Layer for SAP Netweaver BW by Didier Mazoué:

Best Practices for SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 in combination with SAP NetWeaver by Ingo Hilgefort:

Labels in this area