SAP BI BW and BOBJ Concepts
BW, BI and BIW (Business Information Warehouse) are the same product. It’s SAP’s traditional Business Intelligence product. BO and BOBJ are the same thing. BO is what consultants call it (Business Objects), BOBJ (Bob-J) is what the sales people call it (sounds cooler right?). Bob-J might have been a term that became more popular after SAP bought them. BOBJ and SAP BI were competitors in the market for a while, so there was (and still is) a lot of common functionality. Here are some differences:
- Product Pricing: SAP BI is free for SAP ERP customers, especially for the “full” licenses. E.g. if you have license for only Employee Self Service or Warehouse Operator functions, you wont be able to use BI. But for any of the power user licenses, BI use would be free. Not all add-on modules are free, but a lot of the basic functionality needed in an average BI project is included in the cost. BOBJ is sold separately, and on a piece-meal basis. Reporting, ETL, Data Quality, pre-configured data marts are all priced separately. With BI all of this is included.
- Server requirements: BOBJ can run fairly well on an average-sized desktop. BI needs a server (you can wing it of course, but system requirements are much higher than for BOBJ). I’ve installed BOBJ (reporting and ETL) in a few hours (including time to read documentation and learn the process). BI needs to be installed by a basis consultant and takes a day or more.
- Productivity: Using using BOBJ is easy compared to BI. The reporting tools in BOBJ are really cool compared to BI as well. So if you need some basic BI functionality, BOBJ is an easy way to get up and running.
Step by Step guide to SAP BI BW
Create a simple BI data model with InfoObjects (characteristics, key figures) and an
InfoCube for storing data in the BI system.
In our scenario, the “container” for the revenue data is an InfoCube. It consists of key
figures and characteristics. The key figures provide the transaction data to be analyzed,
in our case sales figures and amounts. The characteristics are the reference objects for
the key figures; in our scenario these are Product, Product Group and Channel. They
contain the master data, which remains unchanged over a long period of time. The
master data of the characteristics in this scenario can be attributes and texts.
You create the data model in the following steps:
.. Creating Key Figures
.. Creating Characteristics
.. Creating InfoCubes
.. Map the source structure of the data in the BI system and define the transformation of
the data from the source structure to the target format. In this way you will be able to
define the data flow in the BI system.
The structure and properties of the source data are represented in the BI system with
DataSources. In our scenario, we need DataSources to copy master data for the
characteristic Product as well as sales data from the relevant file to the entry layer of
the BI system.
The transformations define which fields of the DataSource are assigned to which
InfoObjects in the target and how the data is transformed during the load process. In
our simple scenario, the transformations are kept simple and do not contain any
complex rules. The assignment is direct, that is the fields of the source are copied to
the InfoObjects of the target one-to-one.
You create the necessary objects for defining the data flow in the following steps:
Load the data.
The load processes are executed using InfoPackages and data transfer processes.
The InfoPackages load the data from the relevant file into the DataSource, and the data
transfer processes load the master data from the DataSource into the characteristic
Product or the transaction data into the InfoCube. When the data transfer process is
executed, the data is subject to the corresponding transformation. For the
characteristics Product Group and Channel, we show that it is also possible to load
small amounts of master data directly in the BI system instead of from the source. In
this case neither DataSources and transformations nor InfoPackages and data transfer
processes are required.
You create the necessary objects for loading data in the following steps:
.. Creating Master Data Directly in the System
.. Loading Master Data for Characteristic “Product”
.. Loading Transaction Data
.. Define a query that is used as the basis for a Web application and allows for an ad-hoc
analysis of the data in the Web.
You create the query in the following step:
.. Defining Queries
.. Create a Web application with navigation
Create a Web application with navigation options and functions, such as printing based
on the query.
You create the Web application in the following step:
Creating Web Applications
Analyze the data in the Web application, add comments to it, and broadcast it by Email
to other employees.
You analyze and broadcast the data in the following steps:
Analyzing Data in the Web Application
Broadcasting Web Applications by E-Mail
SAP BI BW Concepts
What is a free characteristic?
The Characteristics in this area are not displayed in the initial view of the Query but you can drill down and filter once we execute the Query.
What is Filter area?
The characteristics in the area are restricted and cannot be filtered or drilled down further
What is the restricted Key Figure?
The key Figures” restricted” by one or more characteristics
Example: When we want to compare the sales of product “A” between Different fiscal year periods, you will create a restricted key figure with “sales qty” as key figure and restricted by 0MATERIAL of value “A”.
What is a constant selection?
This feature allows you to mark a selection in the Query designer as “Constant”; navigation and filtering has no effect on this selection during run time; For example if you want to report a product’s sale in reference to a product group rather than all the products, you make the product group as the constant selection; any drill down, navigation, filtering will always give the sales quantity of the product group.
What is calculated key figure?
To do complicated calculations on key figures such as mathematical functions, percentage functions and total functions etc.,
What is percentage variance?
This is defined as Parameter1%parameter2
What is COUNT Function?
Count (Parameter) returns value 1 if parameter is not zero else Zero
What is SUMCT?
Sumct (parameter) result of parameter in all rows and columns.
What is a structure?
Combination of characteristics and Key Figures
What is reusable structure?
There are Query level structures which can be used in any queries
How do we create a reusable structure from a local structure?
Right click on the local structure, select save as, enter technical name and description
What is a cell editor?
Gives definition of specific cells in queries (Intersection of two queries one characteristics structure and key figure structure)
What is an exception cell?
Cell specific definition allows you to define explicit formulas to override implicitly created cell values. This allows you to design much more detailed queries use the icon to create exception cells.
What is hierarchy?
Structure of characteristics to view data in different ways.
What are the nodes?
Nodes are like branches in trees. The uppermost is root node and a hierarchy can have multiple roots.
What are hierarchy levels?
All nodes in the same level are in the same level.
What are intervals?
This is to group leaves together automatically. So when a new value is added to characteristics it is added to the proper interval automatically.
What is a link node?
This node is used to include a sub tree in a hierarchy more than once.
What are variables?
These are query input, replaced at run time by BEx queries.
What are the objects that support variables?
Characteristics, Hierarchies, hierarchy nodes, texts and formula elements
What is the scope of variables?
Variables are defined for InfoObjects; so they are available across InfoProvider
Give the variable types?
Characteristics, hierarchy node, text and hierarchy variables.
What is a characteristics variable?
You can select dynamic input for characteristics using this; for example if you are developing a sales report for a given product, you will define a variable for 0MATERIAL
What are text variables?
These are used to display dynamic texts for a given characteristics; for example take the sales report for a given product for the last for the last 3 months; the inputs prompted are product and fiscal year period; on the column level you have drilled down by fiscal year period; since the fiscal year period is dynamic.
What is user entry?
This is entered by the user at the run time of the Query. You can specify a default value for this; Example is the product sales report where you enter a product at run time.
What is replacement path?
It tells the system to replace the value of characteristics in a calculation/expression at run time.
Look at the example where the query displays dynamic heading for the fiscal year period; the variable type is text and processing type is replacement path.