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SAP’s Jeanne Bigonnet (Product Manager, Analytics) joined APOS recently once again to discuss the latest updates for SAP Analysis for Office (AFO), and for the newer SAP Analytics Cloud, add-in for Microsoft Office.

Jeanne addressed recent updates to AFO, such as SAP Analytics Cloud Repository integration and automation of transport between SAP Analytic Cloud tenants, but the primary focus of the presentation was on the newer SAP Analytics Cloud, add-in for Microsoft Office, which takes advantage of Cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 to improve sharing and collaboration for Analytics and Planning.

You can watch this webinar on demand and download the presentation slides here.


Jeanne provided a number of extremely useful resources in her presentation. It is important to note that new features for the add-in are delivered automatically every few weeks along with updates to SAC. Use the resources below to keep up to date on feature deployment:


Alan Golding, APOS Solution Consulting Manager started the session with an agenda, which included:

  • SAP Analysis for Office Solution Update

  • Add-in for SAC Solution Update

  • Related APOS Solutions

  • Q&A

Jeanne Bigonnet began her portion of the presentation on Microsoft Office Integration with a description of SAP’s Statement of Direction for the 2 complementary add-ins for Microsoft Office known as:

  • SAP Analytics Cloud, add-in for Microsoft Office (a Cloud-based edition delivered through the Microsoft Store)

  • SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office (AFO, a Windows desktop edition delivered by SAP)

According to SAP’s Statement of Direction, AFO remains an important add-in, but all feature investments going forward will be made in the Cloud-based version of the product, SAP Analytics Cloud, add-in for Microsoft Office.

Jeanne went on to describe the two editions of AFO:

  • AFO, Standard Edition – used with SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise and SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation

  • AFO, Edition for SAP Analytics Cloud – used with SAP Analytics Cloud Enterprise

Jeanne noted that the two editions had similar feature sets, with the same connectivity functionality. The major difference between the two is licensing, which depends on whether you are running SAP BusinessObjects or SAP Analytics Cloud.

Jeanne laid out other differences between the two editions:

Note that the edition for SAP Analytics Cloud does not include or work with:

  • Add-On for BI platform (scheduling / pre-calculation) for on-premise SAP BW (including BW/4HANA) and SAP HANA

  • EPM add-in

  • BPC (Business Process Flow) plug-in

  • Microsoft PowerPoint integration

The roadmap for AFO includes continuous improvements. The recently released Service Pack 18 includes some important new features, particularly:

  • SAP Analytics Cloud Repository Integration

  • Transport from one tenant to another tenant

Jeanne presented a video demonstrating the new features in SP 18 of SAP Analysis for Office:

Recently released SP 18 includes:

  • SAP Analytics Cloud Repository Integration
    As requested by users; this feature allows you to open and save workbooks on SAP Analytics Cloud, add them to the SAC catalog, and share with other SAC users. Jeanne provides a link to Steffen Heine’s blog post on this topic (here).

  • Transport from one tenant to another tenant
    If the URL of a SAC or Datasphere tenant changes (e.g., from a test to a production environment), you can use the SystemTransportMap setting to automate the replacement of system information for all workbooks. (see Steffen Heine’s blog post on this here.)

To see Jeanne’s video, view the webinar on demand here.

New Features in SAP Analytics Cloud, Add-in for Microsoft Office

Next, Jeanne turned to the SAP Analytics Cloud, add-in for Microsoft Office, which will be the go-forward Microsoft Office integration product, receiving the bulk of new development in the future.

The add-in is fully integrated with SAP Analytics Cloud, and SAP has recently added connectivity with S/4 HANA and Datasphere. It is designed to take advantage of Microsoft’s Office 365, their Cloud-based offering that allows you to access your work from anywhere and enables sharing and collaboration. Support for Office 2021 has been added recently as well for organizations not using Office 365.

Jeanne noted that the add-in is not a successor to AFO, as it is based on different technology. Completely rebuilt on JavaScript, this add-in is the strategic go-to front end for Office 365 Excel in use with SAP Analytics Cloud, S/4 HANA and Datasphere.

Deployment of the add-in is performed via the Microsoft Store, which provides the added benefit of automatic updates to the software, just as you receive updates for SAP Analytics Cloud.

The old version of AFO worked only in Windows environments; the new add-in works in Apple OS environments as well.

Jeanne then explored the add-in’s functionality:

Jeanne explores the connect, plan and explore themes in great depth during her presentation with additional demonstrations, and I suggest you view the webinar on demand (here) for her detailed insights.

Jeanne concluded her presentation by exploring the road ahead for the SAP Analytics Cloud, add-in for Microsoft Office:

During her presentation, Jeanne demonstrated many of the recent innovations for the add-in, and here described the approximate schedule for new features.


Questions addressed by Jeanne and Alan:

Q: Can AFO and the SAC add-in co-exist?
A: Yes. Because they are completely different technologies, there are no issues with co-existence.

Q: Is there any plan to bring in AFO scheduling / pre-calculation on SAP Datasphere?
A: No. SAP has stopped investment in the older AFO technology, so no major new features will be introduced. It is also worth noting that Datasphere analytical models are not supported in AFO.

Q: Is there a way to migrate old AFO Excel workbooks to the new SAC add-in if the BW query should be the same?
A: For now, there is no migration capability between the two, but this is something we may need to think about, especially when we open up BW connectivity to the SAC add-in. I encourage you to create a request to help us prioritize this need.

Q: Are there any plans to support Word and PowerPoint in the near future?
A: There are no current plans to support Word, but we are investigating PowerPoint support.

Q: Are there any plans to implement dashboard widgets into the SAC add-in (like Power BI)?
A: No, but functionality resembling this is being considered for PowerPoint integration.

Q: Is it possible to schedule AO workbooks in SAC?
A: No, there is no scheduling currently planned.

Q: With regard to APOS BEx replacement with SAC and APOS Publisher for Cloud, can this solution create Excel CSV workbooks that look the same as AFO reports?
A: [Alan] Yes. When we broadcast SAC content to Excel format, we can use a preformatted template with widgets, headers, logos, precalculated columns, and macros – any Excel functionality that you want to accomplish.

APOS Solutions – Report Publishing & High-Volume Scheduling

Alan Golding briefly presented APOS technology capabilities that complement AFO.

These capabilities include Report Publishing

…and High-Volume Publishing or broadcasting.

Alan also presented a customer success story detailing how an APOS customer used APOS Publisher for Cloud to implement a BEx Broadcaster replacement strategy.

A leading, highly diversified, agricultural sciences manufacturer has been using BEx Broadcaster with SAP BW to keep its large network of customers, partners and resellers informed. The company planned to move their SAP BW deployment to SAP BW/4HANA, and needed to replicate BEx broadcasting capabilities on the new platform.

Customers currently using BEx Broadcaster, but who are migrating to SAP Analytics Cloud, will find the dynamic, rules-based broadcasting, as well as the variety of available formats and destinations provided by this APOS product quite compelling.

You can view the customer success story here.

For more information, see the APOS whitepaper: Developing a BEx Broadcasting Replacement Strategy.

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