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SAP Business Explorer (BEx) Tools
Peter Scott
Contents
Acknowledgements ................................. 2
1 Fundamentals of BW Reporting ......... 3
1.1 Basics of Data Warehousing ................. 3
1.2 Basics of BW Design ............................. 3
1.3 Business Explorer ( BEx ) Tools .............. 5
1.4 Summary ............................................... 9
2 The BEx Query Designer ........................ 11
2.1 Overview of the BEx Query
Designer ................................................ 11
2.2 Query Designer Layout ......................... 12
2.3 Using the BEx Query Designer
Toolbar .................................................. 13
2.4 Accessing InfoProviders ........................ 14
2.5 Creating a Basic Query Denition ........ 15
2.6 Restricted and Calculated
Key Figures ........................................... 16
2.7 Advanced Calculations ........................ 20
2.8 Using Structures ................................... 20
2.9 Creating Fixed Query Dimensions ........ 21
2.10 Using Characteristic Variables .............. 22
2.11 Creating Exceptions .............................. 24
2.12 Creating Conditions .............................. 25
2.13 Query Properties .................................. 26
2.14 Summary ............................................... 27
3 Creating High Impact Workbooks ..... 29
3.1 Overview of the BEx Analyzer .............. 29
3.2 Integration with Microsoft Excel .......... 29
3.3 Executing a Query ................................ 29
3.4 Creating Custom Templates .................. 30
3.5 Creating a Workbook with
Multiple Reports ................................... 33
3.6 Auto-Refreshing Workbooks ................ 33
3.7 Using Text Elements ............................. 34
3.8 Deleting and Detaching Results ........... 36
3.9 SAP Protection ...................................... 37
3.10 Saving and Distributing Workbooks ..... 37
3.11 Summary ............................................... 38
4 Creating Web Applications ................... 39
4.1 BEx Web Analyzer ................................ 39
4.2 BEx Web Analyzer Context Menu ........ 43
4.3 Overview of the Web Application
Designer ................................................ 44
4.4 Web Application Designer Layout ....... 44
4.5 Creating a Web Template ..................... 48
Manual Access ...................................... 48
Wizard Access ....................................... 49
Creating a Web Template ..................... 49
4.6 Inserting Additional DataProviders ...... 50
4.7 Publishing Web Templates ................... 51
4.8 Printing Web Applications ................... 52
4.9 Summary ............................................... 52
5 Report-Report Interfacing ( RRI ) ........ 53
5.1 Overview ............................................. 53
5.2 Dening Jump Targets .......................... 53
5.3 Summary ............................................... 56
6 NetWeaver 2004s BI Overview .......... 57
6.1 Changes to the BEx Query Designer .... 57
6.2 Changes to the Web Application
Designer ( WAD ) .................................. 58
6.3 Changes to the BEx Analyzer ................ 60
6.4 BEx Report Designer ............................. 62
6.5 Changes to the BEx Broadcaster .......... 64
2 Galileo Press 2006. All rights reserved.
6.6 The BI Accelerator ( BIA ) ...................... 64
6.7 Remodeling InfoCubes ......................... 65
6.8 Visual Composer ................................... 65
6.9 Looking Ahead ...................................... 66
Glossary ........................................................ 67
Index .............................................................. 69
Acknowledgements
This book is dedicated to my parents, Don and Valorie, who
have always been there to support and motivate me at
every turn and to my lovely wife, Bobbi, who inspires me
each and every day of my life. I love you.
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1 Fundamentals of BW Reporting
1.1 Basics of Data Warehousing
For many reasons, information was once nearly impos-
sible to extract from applications. Corporate systems
were unconnected, little historical information could be
stored, and the data that was stored was often inacces-
sible. These difculties led to the concept of a Data Ware-
house ( DW ).
Put simply, a data warehouse serves as a decision sup-
port environment where corporate data can be quickly
summarized at different operational levels.
Data warehousing is the process of choosing, migrat-
ing, cleaning, transforming, and storing data from dispa-
rate systems into one common location, whereby users
can easily extract and analyze information for manage-
ment decisions.
A data warehouse is also commonly referred to as a:

Data Mart

Corporate Information Factory ( CIF )

Decision Support System ( DSS )

Business Intelligence ( BI )

Business Warehouse ( BW )
One of the largest sources of data is typically an Enter-
prise Resource Planning ( ERP ) system. The process of
migrating data from an ERP system to a data warehouse
is usually referred to as Extraction, Transformation, and
Loading ( ETL ).
The multidimensional analysis offered by a data ware-
house, which enables DW users to analyze data trends,
exceptions, and variances of interest is called Online Ana-
lytical Processing ( OLAP ). Typical OLAP is used to answer
questions such as:

What was my best selling product in January?

What was the total company revenue for 2005?

Why was I over my budget in March?

What are my year-to-date sales gures?

How will my year-end look?


1.2 Basics of BW Design
SAP Business Information Warehouse ( SAP BW ) is an
end-to-end data warehousing solution that is usually
built on a three-tier environment that consists of a Devel-
opment ( DEV ), Test ( Quality Assurance, QA ), and Pro-
duction ( PROD ) server. This three-tier conguration sep-
arates development work from a live system, and allows
for sufcient testing with real data in the QA system.
Enhancements are transported through a well-dened
process that moves from DEV to QA for testing, and then
from DEV to PROD, where BW users can access them.
SAP BW has a three-tiered architecture, which consists
of the following layers. Figure 1.1 summarizes the archi-
tecture. The layers of the architecture are seen below:

Presentation layer
Consists of the SAP Business Explorer ( BEx ) tools
such as BEx Analyzer and BEx Browser.

Database layer
Consists of InfoCube s, Operational Data Stores
( ODS ), MultiCubes, and Master Data Objects that
can be reported on. This layer also includes the
Administrator Workbench.

Source Systems layer


Consists of ERP systems, legacy systems, text les, or
another SAP BW environment.
All SAP BW queries are constructed via using BEx tools,
which request data from the BW database. The BW data-
base follows an ETL process to populate InfoCube s, ODS ,
MultiCubes, and Master Data.
4 Galileo Press 2006. All rights reserved.
1 Fundamentals of BW Reporting
Objects for which queries can be created against or exe-
cuted on using BEx tools are collectively referred to as
InfoProviders. An InfoCube, which is a type of InfoPro-
vider , is a subset or collection of data from the BW data-
base that has relationships, which allow users to report
on many things simultaneously.
You dene queries with the BEx Query Designer .
You can display them as a BW web report using a web
browser, or view them within a Microsoft Excel Work-
book with the BEx Analyzer .
Many queries can be built from a single InfoProvider . A
single query denition has a one-to-one relationship with
its InfoProvider. The query results from a query deni-
tion are displayed on a web page, or in the BEx Analyzer.
You can format and store query results with many differ-
ent views, which can result in a many-to-one relation-
ship between a query denition and the formatted query
results. Figure 1.2 displays these relationships.
BEx Browser
BEx Browser BEx Tools
Source
Systems
Business Information
Warehouse
Database
R/3
R/3
Files
Files
Legacy
Legacy
Systems
SAP
BW
SAP
BW
OLAP Processor
OLAP Processor
Info
Cubes
Web Query
Business Objects
ODS
Master
Data
Master
Data
BEx Analyzer
Figure 1.1 High-Level BW Architecture
Formatted Web Page
Web Report
BW Query Designer Tool Formatted Results Query Results
Workbook
Formatted Workbook # 1
Workbook
Formatted Workbook # 2
Workbook
Web Browser
Formatted Reports
Crystal
Info
Cube
Query
Definition
Query
Result
Query
Result
Figure 1.2 Relationship Among InfoProvider, Query Denition, and Formatted Query Results
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1.3 Business Explorer ( BEx ) Tools
1.3 Business Explorer ( BEx ) Tools
SAP BEx reporting tools allow users to create, locate, exe-
cute, view, format, manage, schedule and precalculate
reports. The primary BEx tools include:

BEx Browser

BEx Analyzer

BEx Query Designer

BEx Web Application Designer

Reporting Agent

Download Scheduler
All the BEx tools in SAP BW are installed on a client work-
station using the SAP GUI installation disc.
The BEx Browser is a graphical desktop-like tool, from
where you can launch queries and workbooks and cat-
egorize them into Roles, Favorites, and Folders. The BEx
Browser also incorporates standard shortcut functional-
ity, which enables you to access documents, Windows
applications, Internet URLs, and SAP R/3 transactions
from a single interface. The BEx Browser allows users to
create folders to organize their content. Figure 1.3 illus-
trates how BW content can be linked with other business
tools in the BEx Browser.
The BEx Browser toolbar ( shown in Figure 1.4 ) con-
tains the following icons:

Exit

Save

Refresh

Start Business Explorer Analyzer

Find

New Folder

Delete

About SAP BW Browser

Help
Figure 1.4 BEx Browser Toolbar
You create content within the BEx Browser on the right
side of the screen. Right-clicking on a blank part of the
screen displays a context menu with several options. You
Figure 1.3 Linking BW Content with Other Business Tools in the BEx Browser
6 Galileo Press 2006. All rights reserved.
1 Fundamentals of BW Reporting
can create the following links within a folder ( Figure 1.5
displays the available options ):

Folder

Workbook

Internet Address ( URL )

SAP Transaction

Document ( Word, PowerPoint )

Shortcut ( to other applications on a local PC )


Figure 1.5 Adding New Content to a Folder
Each folder created for a role or user Favorites can be
further customized by assigning a background symbol
and color, which appear to be translucent. There are
eight backgrounds and colors, each of which has a nature
theme, from which to choose.
To customize folder options, right-click on a folder
on the right side of the BEx Browser window and select
Choose symbol and color. The graphical options are dis-
played in Figure 1.6.
Figure 1.6 Folders Customized with Background Symbol and Color
The BEx Analyzer is the primary reporting environment
for SAP BW. Most users nd it very intuitive because it is
integrated with Microsoft Excel. You can add Excel calcu-
lations, notes, charts and graphics to a single worksheet
and insert multiple reports into a workbook, thereby cre-
ating a package of reports. The BEx Analyzer combines
the power of OLAP with all the Excel functionality. You
can also use Visual Basic for Applications ( VBA ).
The BEx Query Designer is a standalone application
that enables users to build complex query denitions
without using programming. All subsequent BW report-
ing and analysis is based on query denitions. The BEx
Query Designer is displayed in Figure 1.7.
The BEx Query Designer can be launched from the
Start menu of a Windows PC, or from the BEx Analyzer,
the BEx Web Application Designer, or Crystal Reports.
The BEx Web Application Designer ( WAD ) is a desk-
top application that is very similar to other web page
authoring tools. For example, BEx WAD and Microsoft
FrontPage, as well as Dreamweaver, are alike in that they
all enable you to use a WYSIWYG environment when
launching a website. One unique feature of the WAD
is that it enables you to incorporate BW data and pre-
dened BW objects, along with standard HTML code and
web design application programming interfaces ( APIs ).
The Reporting Agent allows you to schedule various
reporting functions in the background during non-peak
times. Furthermore, you can precalculate all web tem-
plates created with the WAD . The advantage here is that
it shortens the wait time for users and reduces the work-
load on the servers. Youll nd the Reporting Agent within
the Administrator Workbench . You can access it directly
using the RSREP Transaction. The Reporting Agents most
commonly used functions are:

Execute and Analyze Exception Reports

Print Reports

Precalculate Web Templates


The Reporting Agent is divided into three panes:

Functions pane

Settings pane

Scheduling pane
You use the same process for all functions. The Settings
pane is used to navigate through a folder structure to
nd a query denition. Once located, you must enter
specic settings that pertain to the highlighted function
( e.g., Printing ). To establish new settings for a query,
right-click on the name of the query and choose New
Setting ( see Figure 1.8 ).
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1.3 Business Explorer ( BEx ) Tools
Figure 1.7 Creating Complex Queries Without Programming
Figure 1.8 Creating New Settings with the Reporting Agent
8 Galileo Press 2006. All rights reserved.
1 Fundamentals of BW Reporting
Each new setting requires a Technical name and a Descrip-
tion. Settings also allow for some layout and distribu-
tion options. Depending on the function selected, these
options vary. For example, the Print function allows a
user to build a cover sheet, page header, and page footer,
and design a layout template for the printed data. The
printing options are shown in Figure 1.9.
Once the settings are specied, they must be saved
and activated. The keyboard shortcut to save changes is
Ctrl+S and the shortcut to activate changes is Ctrl+F3. A
green status light will conrm that a Reporting Agent set-
ting has been saved and is now executable.
The Scheduling pane is used to generate a schedul-
ing package that will contain the details of the query set-
ting created earlier. A technical name and description are
required for each new scheduling package.
You attach a Reporting Agent setting for a particular
query to a scheduling package by dragging and dropping
the setting from the Settings pane to the package in the
Scheduling pane.
To schedule a package, right-click on the name of the
package and select Schedule ( see Figure 1.10 ).
Choosing a start condition that will trigger the package to
be executed completes the scheduling process. You can
schedule a package to run:

Immediately

At a specic date and time

On a periodic schedule ( Daily, Monthly, Weekly )

After a particular system event

After a particular job


Figure 1.10 Scheduling a Package with Specic Settings for a Query
Denition
Figure 1.9 Customizing and Formatting Printouts with the Reporting Agent
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1.4 Summary
Create a Query Definition
with the Query Designer
Execute the Query and view the
results in either a Web Browser
or the BEx Analyzer
Create a web application using the
Web Application Designer and
an existing Query Definition
Schedule or pre-calculate your web
application using the Reporting Agent
Download the results of your query to
your PC using the Download Scheduler
Figure 1.11 BEx Tools Workow
Once the start condition is specied, the package is
saved. Scheduled packages can be monitored from the
Job Overview screen.
Because the Reporting Agent is part of the Administra-
tor Workbench , you should ensure that it is not deployed
to all BW users. A strategy that limits development work
in the Reporting Agent to a handful of power users is
preferable. Furthermore, you must ensure that the pack-
ages created with the Reporting Agent are monitored
periodically for performance reasons, especially since an
incorrectly dened package can run for a long time and
therefore monopolize valuable system resources. You
should also make certain that scheduling packages are
inserted into process chains. To do this, use the Process
Chain Maintenance transaction code RSPC.
The BEx Download Scheduler is a desktop application
that downloads, or schedules a time for the download,
precalculated HTML pages, or Excel workbooks to a local
PC. These pages are precalculated using the Reporting
Agent. The BEx Download Scheduler tool is typically
accessed from the Windows Start menu under Programs
Business Explorer Download Scheduler.
The Download Scheduler wizard helps users to nd
packages assigned to their user ID, and places the results
of these packages into designated folders on the users
PCs. The output of the report can also be formatted for
a PDA device.
The overall workow for using all the various BEx
tools is shown in Figure 1.11. The most basic reporting is
accomplished by using the BEx Query Designer and the
BEx Analyzer. An alternative or complimentary report-
ing strategy to just using the BEx Analyzer is to use web-
based reporting. With web reporting, you dont have
to install any software on a users PC, which is why this
alternative is known as a zero-footprint solution. Query
designers can publish formatted, graphical reports using
the BEx Web Application Designer and distribute these
reports via URLs or a pre-existing intranet portal. High-
end formatting can be achieved by leveraging the Report-
ing Agent, Download Scheduler, or via integration with
Crystal Reports.
1.4 Summary
SAP BW has evolved into a full-edged Data Warehouse .
The BEx tools allow users with diverse backgrounds to
effectively access data in a timely manner. Queries are
dened using the BEx Query Designer and analyzed
within the BEx Analyzer or BEx Web Applications . Addi-
tional formatting can be achieved with the BEx Web
Application Designer or via BWs integration with Crys-
tal Reports . The next chapter will look at the BEx Query
Designer in detail.
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Index
A
Ad-Hoc Query Designer 62
Administrator Workbench 6, 9, 22, 65
Alert Framework 64
Alert levels 25
Architecture 3
B
BEx Analyzer 4, 6, 9, 21, 25, 26, 29, 30,
32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 57, 60
BEx Broadcaster 42, 43
BEx Browser 5
BEx Download Scheduler 9
BEx Queries 54
BEx Query Designer 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13,
14, 16, 17, 22, 26, 48, 57
BEx Query Designer toolbar 57
BEx Report Designer 62
BEx WAD 57
BEx Web Analyzer 39, 43, 46
BEx Web Application Designer 5, 9, 49
BEx Web Applications 9
BEx Web Report 55
BEx Workbook 30
BI Accelerator 64
Bookmark 40, 41, 43
Business applications 66
BW Browser 5
BW query analysis 57
C
Calculated Key Figures 15, 16, 20
Cascading Style Sheets 46, 47
Characteristic Properties 18
Characteristics 15, 18
Characteristic Value Variables 22, 24
Chart 41, 46
CKF 20
Comma-separated values 41
Command wizard 60
Condition 16, 25, 26, 40
Context menu 60
Cost Center 55
Crystal Reports 6, 9, 22, 62
CSS 47
CSV 40, 41
Customize folder options 6
D
DataProvider 49, 50
Datasets 12, 33
Data trends 3
Data Warehouse 3, 9
Default values 57
Delete results 36
Design wizard 45
Detach 36
Download Scheduler Wizard 5
Dreamweaver 6
Drilldown 43
E
E-Mail 43
Enterprise Portal. 49
Enterprise Reporting 57
Enterprise Resource Planning 3
ERP 3
ETL 3
Excel 29
Exception 16, 24, 25, 40
Excluding values 18
Export 40, 41
F
Favorites 6, 16, 34, 54
Filter 42, 43
Fixed ranges 25
Formatting 44
Formula 20
Formula Syntax 20
Free Characteristics 12, 13, 17, 40, 43
Function 20
G
Global Reference 15
Global view 37
Goto 37, 43
H
Hierarchy support 62
High Performance Analytics 64
HTML 44, 48
I
InfoAreas 14, 16, 54
InfoCube 3, 12, 14, 65
InfoObject 13, 17
InfoProvider 4, 14, 15, 16, 22, 42
InfoProviders 65
Information Broadcasting 40, 42
InfoSet 54
Integrated Planning 57, 60
J
Java connectors 65
JavaScript 44
Jump Targets 37, 53, 55
K
Key Figure 15, 18, 21, 26, 40, 46
Knowledge Management 64
70 Galileo Press 2006. All rights reserved.
Index
M
Master Data 3
Mathematical functions 20
Math functions 20
Microsoft Excel 38, 41, 60
MS Excel integration 57
MultiCubes 12, 35
N
Navigational Block 30, 34, 35, 36, 39,
40, 43, 46, 50
NetWeaver 2004s 57
NetWeaver Portal 65
New queries 21
Non-SAP data 66
O
ODS 3, 12, 14
OLAP 3, 26, 29, 33, 36, 39, 46, 47
Operand 20
P
PDF based printing 57
Presentation layer 3
Printing 38, 44, 61
Process Chain 9
Processing speed 57
Properties 17, 46
Properties pane 57
Q
Query Definition 13, 15, 16, 17, 18
Query Properties 26, 43
Query views 43
R
Receiver 53, 55
Refresh 33, 34
Report-Report Interface 43, 53
Reporting Agent 5, 6, 8, 9
Restricted Key Figures 15, 19
Results area 39
RFK 19
RKF 19, 20
Role 16, 46, 54
RRI 53
RSBBS 53
RSRT 54
S
SAP BW Variables Wizard 23
SAP Financials 33
SAP GUI 44
SAP HR 33
SAP Protection 37, 38
Save 37
Scheduling 8
Selection 18
Sender 53, 55
Standard formatting 62
Standardized interface 65
Status of Data 30, 35, 42
Structure 15, 20, 21, 22
T
Tabular Data 41
Technical Names 19
Template 30, 31, 32, 33
Text Elements 30, 34, 35, 40
U
Unicode-compliant 57
V
Variable 22, 23, 24, 27, 42
Variable Offsets 24
Variances of interest 3
VBA 29
Visual Basic .NET 57
Visual Composer 65
Visual modeling 66
W
WAD 6, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 50
Web Application Designer 44
Web Applications 39
Web Browser 39
Web design 60
Web Items 45, 46, 48, 49, 50, 59
Web report 4
Web Template 6, 44, 47, 50
Workbook 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36,
37, 38, 39
Worksheet 35