SAP BusinessObjects BI4 – Some foibles uncovered

As I work closer to the new release of the BusinessObjects enterprise platform (BI4 ) and associated reporting tools I am frequently discovering idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies across the tool set.

BI4 has been marketed as a Unified and Integrated suite of tools but I am seeing a lack of consistencies across the reporting tool set.

This blog will start by focusing on the areas of connectivity and use of the various semantic layer options and I will revisit this content as I discover more or are rightfully corrected by the wider BOBJ user communities.

  • Explorer
    • You can only build information spaces on Excel data or a UNX style universe.
  • UNX Universe
    • With regard to SAP BW a UNX universe can only be built over an InfoCube and NOT a BEx query.
    • The workflow to build a UNX over a Cube takes a while to get your head around as you need to create a relational connections to a MultiDimensional source, and then a Data Layer and Business Layer on top.
  • OLAP Connection
    • OLAP connections can be considered another term for the BICS connector.
    • You can create an OLAP connection in the CMC or in the Information Design Tool (IDT) that points to a BW System, Cube or query.  However, when a user selects any of those 3 different OLAP Connections they will always need to select a BEx query.
    • In Summary  “Think BICS, See BEx”
  • Live Office
    • My testing so far suggests that when you build a data set in Excel using the Query Panel from Live Office you can only see UNV universes.
    • This suggests Live Office does not support the new UNX universe.

A concern I have is that in an environment where SAP BW is the primary data source organisations will need multiple different styles of semantic layers, UNX,UNV,BICS to allow use of all the reporting tools available in BI4.

So the challenge is how do organisations ensure the use of common business definitions and business rules over such an estate?  Your thoughts are appreciated…….

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