Introduction to the BEx web analyzer SAP BI

The BEx Web Analyzer is the initial Web frontend tool offered as part of the Business Explorer reporting options. The entire navigational and analytical process within the Web Analyzer is structured to be business user friendly. Much of the functionality that is available in the BEx Query Designer is now available to the business user from the executed Web query. Thus, most of the functionality that can be configured when using the Query Designer can also be configured by the business user on the Web. For example, in addition to configuration capability, the capability to create exceptions and conditions is available to the business user.

Also, new to the most current Frontend Support Package (FEP) is the capability to create calculated key figures (CKFs) directly from the frontend of the BEx Web Analyzer (once CKFs are created, if you save your report, they will be saved for that specific version of the report). This offers a significant enhancement for the business user on the Web. One of the concerns I’ve heard over the past several years is that the capability to create any sort of additional columns or calculations is assigned specifically to the BW IT group rather than to the business user. Well, now business users can create any CKF they need on-the-fly and save it. The BEx Query Designer functionality is unavailable to the end user in only a few areas—the creation of variables, restricted key figures, and some cell editor functionality. Therefore, the business user now has a variety of options available at their fingertips.

This Web-based frontend has easy-to-use drag-and-drop functionality that allows the user to navigate intuitively through queries. The Web frontend holds a very important position in the architecture of the reporting strategy. A Web-based strategy increases the ability to distribute the information from a report twofold; it not only gives the business user access to information via a thin frontend—a Web screen—and thus obviates the need to have access to the GUI version of the workbook or query, it also allows them to access other, third-party systems via the Web. shows the positioning of the Web-based frontend in the BEx-specific reporting strategy of SAP.

The capability of a business user to save a query or query view directly is also available in the BI environment, but your company, depending on its policies regarding what a superuser versus a business user can do, might not allow this option. In other words, if your company has a standing requirement not to save anything in production, then saving a query in the production system would not be allowed. I expand on this discussion of using the BEx Web Analyzer to help increase business user capabilities in the following sections.

Introduction to the BEx web analyzer

The following illustration shows the final result of a save process in the BEx Query Designer. A query developed in the BEx Query Designer has a format available for both the BEx Analyzer frontend (Excel based) and the BEx Web Analyzer (Web based). As you can see, this query has been saved in the Favorites folder, but we also have the option to store the query in a menu role, which is another Folder option. Both options make the query available for publishing to the SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Portal once an iView is created.

Introduction to the BEx web analyzer

NOTE An iView is created so that the final report can be assigned to the BI portal and from that point can be used by assigning the BI portal to another company portal or a federated portal.

Keep in mind that the purpose of this chapter is to introduce the BEx Web Analyzer reporting functionality and navigation in general, not to review each of the different options in detail. Individual options will be covered in more depth throughout the course of this book.

1.Accessing the BEx Web Analyzer
You can access the BEx Web Analyzer in a few different ways. As mentioned, any query that you create using the BEx Query Designer automatically is saved as a Web-based query and is available for reporting using the BEx Web Analyzer. From an existing query that has been executed, you can access any BI data provider via the New button, as discussed in more detail in the upcoming “Toolbar Functionality” section. Other options to access the BEx Web Analyzer include the following:

  • From the BEx Analyzer, choose BEx Analyzer | Tools | BEx Web Analyzer:

Accessing the BEx Web Analyzer

  • From the BEx Query Designer, choose Query | Execute, as shown next. This execute the query directly to the Web. Alternatively, you can click the Execute icon directly on the Query Designer toolbar.

Accessing the BEx Web Analyzer

In terms of key figures, the Incoming Orders and Order Entry Quantity will work for the moment and allow us enough flexibility within the report to see all the functionality of the BEx Web Analyzer. For characteristics, we will use the Division, Material, Distribution Channel, and a time characteristic, Calendar Year/Month, as free characteristics, and in the rows use the characteristics Sold-to Party and Country for starters. There is a restriction on Sales Organization for characteristic value 1000. This will enable us to show several features within the BEx Web Analyzer that need to have a filter on the report results to emphasize the results.

Accessing the BEx Web Analyzer

Once the query is displayed on the Web, it is embedded automatically into a standard Web template for ad hoc analysis that corresponds to the BEx Web Analyzer. You can call the standard Web template for the ad hoc analysis from the following BEx tools:

Accessing the BEx Web Analyzer

From a technical viewpoint, in BI 7.0 the standard Web template for ad hoc analysis and display of the BEx Web Analyzer is based on the template0ANALYSIS_PATTERN. This template can be set by default for the ad hoc analysis in the SAP Reference IMG under SAP NetWeaver | Business Intelligence | Setting for Reporting and Analysis | BEx Web | Set Standard Web Templates. You can copy this Web template to make changes to it and set it as your new default Web template for the ad hoc analysis in the IMG. For example, if your company requires specific disclaimers or a company logo that the entire company will be using, this is a good approach to accommodating that change. The default Web template for the ad hoc analysis is delivered in the SAP delivery version (D version), so you can change it in the active version (A version) as required. However, I recommend that you make changes to and edit the template in a copy.

Many additional standard Web templates are included in 0ANALYSIS_PATTERN to support all the different Web items that you see on the 0ANALYSIS_PATTERN screen, such as the Save As and Information buttons on the toolbar across the top of the report. We will discuss the components found in the 0ANALYSIS_PATTERN template during the WAD conversation. At this point, just realize that some standard templates are required for the ad hoc display of the report to be available on the Web.

2.Navigation Options in the BEx Web Analyzer
Navigation in the BEx Web Analyzer is a bit different from navigation in itscounterpart frontend, the BEx Analyzer. In the BEx Analyzer, the functionality of adding a characteristic or other component to the format is to use the context menu or dropdown and either insert the characteristic by drilling down or across with the options offered in the menu. This is a bit easier than using the drag and drop functionality in the BEx Analyzer.

In contrast, with the BEx Web Analyzer, we can use either the ability to drag and drop characteristics into the query format or using the context menu and the functionality from the navigational pane to pick the item from the dropdown list of options. Both are very easy and quick to use in the Web toolsets. These are user-friendly options that allow you to navigate by using your cursor, from just about anywhere on the screen, and position the characteristic where you want it. In the BEx Analyzer, several navigational steps might be necessary before you get the characteristic in exactly the correct position. With the ability to drag and drop, you can format the report in one movement—and more intuitively. Most of the navigation and manipulation within the BEx Web Analyzer is accomplished using the toolbar functionality found in the standard Web template. As you will see, this is a combination of multiple standard templates grouped together to support user-friendly activities.

The following illustration shows the use of the Division within the rows of the query. Initially this characteristic was in the Free Characteristics section and we moved it to the rows of the query

use of the Division within the rows of the query

Again, this is done with a drag-and-drop operation and not via a context menu option, although both methods are available for use. Specifically, with drag and drop, the user can perform the following actions:

  • Drag items from one section of the navigation pane to another, such as from the Rows to Columns, or from Rows or Columns to Free Characteristics.
  • Drag items from the navigation pane directly to the rows or columns of the analysis results.
  • Drag characteristics to the filter area to immediately perform the corresponding filtering of the results.
  • Drag items out of the analysis grid to remove them from the analysis

Using the navigation pane, you can do all the preceding actions without touching the actual report portion of the screen. Just by dragging and dropping from the navigation pane into the area/section that you require, you can adjust the display of the report.

Other differences exist between the BEx Analyzer and the BEx Web Analyzer, and they will become more apparent as we go through the list of navigation functions of the BEx Web Analyzer.

Toolbar Functionality
The best approach to reviewing all the BEx Web Analyzer toolbar options is to move from left to right across the toolbar. Following is the initial view of the toolbar on the Web-based query introduced earlier.

Toolbar Functionality

Each of the options in the toolbar will open a dialog box with its own specific components. The least conspicuous option in the toolbar is the most useful—the Settings option at the far right side of the toolbar. Note that this option and the Filter option are hyperlinks rather than buttons and thus are referred to as link functions. Whereas the functions of the buttons are reasonably straight forward to understand, the function of the Settings link is not too obvious, as you will discover later in the chapter. In any case, by using the buttons and link functions available in the BEx Web Analyzer toolbar, you can quickly navigate to important functions that perform convenient ad hoc analysis of your business data.

New Analysis, Open, and Save As The importance of each of these individual options is easier to grasp when they are considered as a group. The combination of these three components makes up a very important area of your overall reporting strategy. Before you make any decisions about how business users view and work with reports, you must define your long-term reporting strategy in terms of what business users can and can’t do. You must decide as part of this strategy whether to give business users more independence and flexibility by allowing them to generate their own reporting options and components instead of depending on the BW IT team to create and develop all of the required reports.

It is better for business users some ability to create reports in production; and believe it is a very useful process and needs to be considered by every company. Sure,you must first address possible issues affecting performance, data modeling, consistency between levels in your BW system, and functionality before you allow business users to create queries in production. I recommend allowing business users to create temporary “Y” queries within production, and setting specific limits in terms of query creation and the length of time a temporary query exists before it is deleted. This enables business users to create a query on-the-fly, use it, discuss its importance and use with their business user group, validate it, and confirm the results. This facilitates the exchange of information and knowledge between analysts and gets that information out to the field faster, which in some cases is the only competitive edge that you might have. Once you reach a decision on these questions, you can discuss and review the functionality of these components and see how they can help you satisfy your reporting strategy needs.

The two leftmost buttons on the toolbar, New Analysis and Open, take us to very different servers and very different approaches to saving the queries. Clicking New Analysis takes us to the BW server, and clicking Open takes us to the portal server. You can see this difference in the following two illustrations, in the System field of the Open dialog box, which displays the specific server assignment. So, the initial question you must address before clicking one of these buttons is whether you want to save your report to the portal (by clicking Open) or to the BW system menu (by clicking New Analysis).

Toolbar Functionality

Toolbar Functionality

Depending on which option you use, saving the report generates a different location that the report is available for viewing. With the New Analysis button, after closing the Open dialog box, the business user saves the report by right-clicking it and choosing Save View from the context menu, which generates a filtered view of the original report and saves it to the BW server. In the case of the Open button, after closing the Open dialog box, the business user clicks the Save As button and saves the report with this option, after which it is a query assigned to the portal and not available using the New Analysis button.

So, looking at these two approaches, we see that in the case of the New Analysis button, the BW team would be in charge of this process and the queries, and in the case of the Open button, the portal team would be responsible for the reports being set up and monitored. Either approach will deliver to your business users what they need, but the best approach for a particular company depends on whether it allows business users to “save” their work in the production environment.

I’ll discuss the New Analysis approach first, which does allow business users to save their work, the query view, in the production environment to BW. As previously mentioned, when you begin with the New Analysis button, you save the report from the actual body of the report by right-clicking the report and choosing Save View, as shown next. I have adjusted the report a bit from earlier in the chapter to show Country and Division.

Customer query

Choosing Save View opens the Save As dialog box, shown next, which allows you to assign a description and a technical name to the report. Notice that the System field (upperleft corner) reflects the system number for BW and the Type field is grayed out to show that this object can be saved only as a query view.

Save as

To view the Description and Technical Name fields, you may have to page down a bit. You can also use the icon to the right (looks like a wrench) to show the technical name and information about the query.

After you save the query view, you can access it again by clicking the New Analysis button, which opens a dialog box that allows you to either pick the query or search the list of existing queries. The initial step of clicking the New Analysis button is illustrated next.

clicking the New Analysis button

Once you execute this option, you will see an Open dialog box with the existing query views available, as shown next. You can also change the Type field from the Query View to Queries or InfoProviders (depending on your authorization and security).

Open

In terms of functionality and the decision of whether to use a query view or a query in this situation, it depends mostly on the configuration of the integration between the BI system and your portal. If the portal is set up to offer some components of the Knowledge Management (KM) system, then you should have the ability to use the Query option. This saves the query within the BI portal as the definition of the query, and no data is stored. If the portal is not set up to offer KM system components, then you should use the Query View option. The query view sits on the BI system and is a filtered version of the query. Since it’s already filtered, it will execute faster and more efficiently.

You can also use the New Analysis button to create a new ad hoc analysis. To do so, you first select a data provider to form the basis of your analysis. You can select data providers from a BI system or from a non-SAP data source, depending on how your system is set up. You make this selection in the Type dropdown box of the Open dialog box. Data providers of this type can be queries, query views, or InfoProviders, which you can select from the History, Favorites, Roles, or InfoArea views (tabs). In one of these views, select the required data provider and click OK. (The display of the data is based on what you have selected in the Display As dropdown box, discussed in the next section.) Table lists the tabs of the Open dialog box and describes their functionality.

Functionality in the New Analysis Open Dialog Box for the BEx Web Analyzer

Functionality in the New Analysis Open Dialog Box for the BEx Web Analyzer

NOTE A query view involves saving a specific view of a query and executing that view rather thanexecuting the entire query. A query view is a version of a basic query and can be used in the BEx Analyzer, the BEx Web Analyzer, and the WAD. The query view is updated dynamically with new data at the time of execution, and the “saved view” refers to the structure of the display.

On the InfoArea tab of the Open dialog box (accessed via the New Analysis button), you can double-click at each of the specific levels to navigate to the level with the InfoProvider that you are looking for, as shown in the following illustration. In this particular case, I used the options InfoArea | Financial Management & Controlling | Controlling | Overhead Cost Controlling | Cost Center Accounting to get to the level with the InfoProviders assigned.

open

The alternative approach to clicking the New Analysis button is to click the Open button, which is the approach that allows business users to save their work in the production environment of the BI portal. The use of the Open button offers you the option to open saved ad hoc analyses from your favorites, the BEx Portfolio view, or the My BEx Portfolio view. This is similar functionality as the New Analysis button but not as robust. The following illustration shows a view of the initial execution of the Save As process (after closing the Open dialog box and then clicking the Save As button).

Customer query sales analysis

Using this process, you can save the result of your ad hoc analysis with an appropriate name in your portal favorites or in the BEx Portfolio. The following illustration shows this view of the process. Notice also that there is a bit of a difference in terms of saving. In this case, we can only assign a description to the saved version of the query, whereas in the option of saving a query view, we were required to provide both the technical name and the description to save the query to the BW system.

Customer query sales analysis

This saves the type of data display (table, chart, or table and graphic) in addition to the navigational state of the data. To access the saved result of your ad hoc analysis again, click Open, and the display of the portal query is available.

portal query

Display As You determine the type of display for the data using the Display As dropdown box, shown in the following illustration. You can choose from the following options for displaying the data:

  • Table
  • Chart
  • Table and Graphic

Customer query sales analysis

Depending on the amount of information in the table, the use of graphics can be very helpful. The following illustration shows the use of the Table and Graphic option with just the Country and Division information displayed.

Customer query sales analysis

If you were to try to create a graphic with Sold-to Party and Division, too much information would be displayed and the graphic would be useless. This is where the use of the Web Application Designer (WAD) comes into play, with the additional functionality of managing the size and format of larger amounts of information. We will review that information and approach in Chapters "Basics of the Web Application Designer" and "Advanced Configuration Using the Web Application Designer" which cover the WAD. The following illustration shows some of the additional functionality in the Graphic display.

some of the additional functionality in the Graphic display

Information Clicking the Information button opens the dialog box shown in the following illustration. Here, you can see information about the selected data provider, including the key date, the age of the data, the time of the last change, the person who last changed the query, and the date of the last refresh. This is critical information for the business user, who needs to know the last time data was refreshed or the actual report was changed. You also receive information about which static and dynamic filter values the query has and the variable values with which the query is filled. If needed, any of this information can easily be displayed directly on the report, though you need to use some of the functionality within the WAD to do so,which will discuss later.

some of the additional functionality in the Graphic display

This shows all the fields available in the Information on Query tab. In the Query Documentation tab, any documentation or comments assigned to this Web query are available.

Fields of the Information on Query Tab of the Web Analyzer

Fields of the Information on Query Tab of the Web Analyzer

Send Clicking the Send button on the toolbar opens the Broadcasting Wizard, which enables you to use information broadcasting functions to broadcast your ad hoc analysis. The option in this case offers only some of the functionality. You can find and use the complete distribution process by using the Information Broadcaster (IB), which you can access via the Broadcasting Wizard from the initial step by clicking the “here” link at the end of the description of this step. The following illustration shows the initial step to complete the setup process. The setup involves a series of four steps, all of which are self explanatory. The IB offers some excellent options for alerts and proactive reporting.

BEX broadcaster

Print Version By clicking the Print Version button, you can configure settings for a print version of your ad hoc analysis. For example, you can set the format for the print version and define whether a header appears on the pages printed. After you choose your settings and click OK, a PDF document is generated, which you can then print. The following illustration shows the dialog box with all the settings available.

BEX Web page dialog

As you can see, the settings are basic: margins for the pages, scaling factors, page sizing, header information and format, and footer information and format. You can use the print functionality of your printer to gain additional functionality. If you want to set up standard or default settings for your business users from this screen and option, you’re out of luck. You can’t assign an object to store your personal parameters as a report will do based on your user entries against the variables in your reports (report variants). Therefore, you will have to set these parameters every time you are going to print something. This can be a bit cumbersome, especially for information such as a disclaimer, because you would have to type in the parameters every time you execute a print process. One option would be to create a template in the WAD for some of these settings and then assign it to the Web report as a selection option so the person building the report can select the template with the appropriate print functions already set. Some components can be managed by the WAD, but not all of them, and we will review these. Again, this can be a bit cumbersome since you need to decide on just how many of these different templates you are willing to support and create. So, review the functionality and position these types of tasks in the best component for the print process.

Export to Excel By clicking the Export to Excel button on the toolbar, you can export the query result to Microsoft Excel. The query data is displayed in the same way as queries are displayed in the BEx Analyzer. The filter restrictions and the data in the table are the same as in the Web Analyzer. Exceptions are highlighted in color in the same way as they are on the Web. This allows you to continue to edit the data using the Microsoft Excel functions. This definitely comes in handy with all the different Excel workbooks that a company may have and use to manipulate and homogenize data from different systems using some Excel functionality such as VBA or basic Excel formulas. Just download the information from the BEx Web Analyzer into Excel and you can set up standard V lookups in your Company Workbooks to link directly to the information downloaded from the BEx Web. As the following illustration shows, when the Export to Excel option is executed, the initial prompt is to Open, Save, or Cancel the download to Excel.

Customer query sales analysis

Comments Click the Comments button to create comments to assign to the data provider. This comes in handy during the budgeting and planning process. The options available in the resulting dialog box, shown next, are Comment (to create a comment), Formatted Text (to create a formatted text document), and Upload (to upload a document from another source). Approximately 25 to 30 different types of documents are supported for the Formatted Text option. You can upload just about any type of document that is available, and definitely all Microsoft document types.

Web page dialog

Filter The Filter option is located on the right side of the report screen. Again, depending on the sizing of your report, you may have to scroll over to see this link. You use this link to display the Filter pane. Basically, all the characteristics you have in the query are available via this pane to adjust the filtering process. You can enter values to be used for filtering for each characteristic used in the data provider. You can also filter the key figures that appear in the query. This is an excellent approach to manipulating the data all from one screen, rather than having to use the context menu or the drag-and-drop process. In terms of performance and processing, this is a very good option. Instead of having to drag and drop one characteristic or having to filter one characteristic at a time and wait for the system processing of each individually, you can change all the filter settings you need and then execute the query. You have to execute a process against the database only once to retrieve the data that is required. The following illustration shows the screen that appears once the Filter prompt is executed. If any variables are in the query, they will also be available from this view by clicking the Variable Screen button.

Variable Screen button

Settings The Settings link is an important and useful option in adjusting the initial format of the report. It allows the business user to not only adjust the format and then save it as either a query view or a query, but also to retrieve their personal settings in the future. Using this link, you can access numerous functions. You can make settings for the table, chart, and data provider used for the ad hoc analysis. Settings are available for the table layout (display alternating styles for table rows) and data cells (such as display icons for existing InfoProvider documents). You can also use data-specific settings (such as display scaling factors) for the table. For the chart, settings are available for the Chart Web item on which the chart is based (such as chart type selections) and for the chart texts (such as overwrite axis labels), as well as data-specific settings (such as swap display axes).

You can also make various settings for the data provider at runtime. For example, you can define where the results are to be displayed in the table. You can also display existing exceptions and conditions for the data provider or define new exceptions and conditions in a step-by-step process. When you choose Insert on the Exceptions tab, you navigate to a new browser window in which you are guided through the process of creating new exceptions step by step. You can display details for existing exceptions, change their status, or delete them. When you choose Add on the Conditions tab, you navigate to a new browser window in which you are guided through the process of creating new conditions step by step. You can display details for existing conditions, change their status, or delete them.

Table outlines all the options that are available by clicking the Settings link.

Functionality Available via the Settings Link for the Web Analyzer

Functionality Available via the Settings Link for the Web AnalyzerFunctionality Available via the Settings Link for the Web Analyzer

The Table component with parameters

The Table component with parameters

The Chart component with parameters

  • The Chart component with parameters

The Data Provider component with parameters

The Data Provider component with parameters

The two tabs that are not explained in detail in are Conditions and Exceptions. Interesting differences exist between the display of exceptions and conditions in the BEx Analyzer and in the BEx Web Analyzer, so a more detailed discussion of the options and components of these two wizards is in order. As you can see, both wizards can be launched from their associated tabs in the Settings area. Also, both wizards lead the user through their various steps, and the user can move back and forth in this process to adjust or correct a previous step.

Let’s look at the Exception Wizard first. It has six steps. To create an exception in the BEx Web Analyzer, click the Settings link on the toolbar and then click the Add button onthe Exceptions tab to start the process. The following illustration shows the initial wizardstep, which is to choose an exception type—either Status or Trend.

The Data Provider component with parameters

NOTE Exceptions created via the Exception Wizard can be saved in the KM folder in the portal or can be broadcast to other parties. However, exceptions created with the Exception Wizard in the Web Analyzer do not become a part of the actual query. The only way to make the exception permanent is to save it as a part of the portal query using the Save As button or as part of the query view definition using the Save View context menu option. This allows the exception (or condition) to be saved but assigns it only to that specific object (the query view or query) and not to the query itself. Therefore, you would not see the new exception or condition using the BEx Query Designer.

A status exception operates on absolute key figures. For example, a status exception is similar to a benchmark identified for Sales Volume – Sales Volume of Greater Than $1,000,000.00. A trend exception operates on relative key figures. For example, a key figure might be considered a trend exception if the deviation of the key figure is greater than a 5 percent variance. Both are good indicators; the choice depends on what the business user is looking to review or display—current information or comparison information over time.

When you choose the exception type, the subsequent wizard screens adapt to that choice. For example, in Step 4 of the wizard, Set Visualization, the choice for a status exception is a traffic light icon (normal view), whereas the choice for a trend exception is an arrow icon. This arrow icon is very similar to some of the functionality available in either the SEM-CPM (Strategic Enterprise Management–Corporate Performance Monitor) component of the Balanced Scorecard or the Strategy Management component of EPM (Enterprise Performance Management), where the trend of the analysis can be highlighted rather than just the position of the process. Therefore, the report analysis can be focused on the trending process of the key performance indicator and additional information is incorporated into the comparisons. Using this indicator rather than the absolute position of a specific value adds even more value to the delivered information that the business user will analyze.

Step 2 of the wizard is where the setup of the threshold values takes place. The user makes the settings for the key figure threshold values. A key figure is chosen for the exception definition, or all the key figures are involved in the exception. In addition, the timing of the exception evaluation can be either before or after any local calculations, such as formulas in queries or local calculations created in the BEx Web query. The additional setup of the threshold values for the alert levels and the operators is exactly the same as if you were creating the exception in the BEx Query Designer. There are nine alert levels: three in the Good alert, three in the Critical alert, and three in the Defective alert.

Define Exception

In Step 3 of the Exception Wizard, the user first can choose whether the result of the exception is applied to the data cells of an analysis or to the column/row header information. If this option is checked, the user can make a subsequent choice of which data cells are affected. The choices are described.

Define Exception

Web application web page dialog

Options for Step 3, Setting Targets, in the Exception Wizard

Options for Step 3, Setting Targets, in the Exception Wizard

The second setting in Step 3, The Exception Affects Characteristic Cells, also has three options: Rows, Columns, or Rows and Columns. This setting is not as involved as the first setting but is also very useful. Depending on what characteristic cells you would like to highlight, you can use either Rows or Columns.

Step 4 involves setting the visualization properties of the exception. The first of the following illustrations shows the options available. The Background Color option is displayed here. The other options are to display just the symbol in the cell and not the value, to display the symbol first and the value second (as shown in the second illustration), or to display the value first and the symbol second.

Define exception

Web page dialog

NOTE As previously mentioned, if the setting in Step 2 is Static, the traffic light icon is displayed, and if Trend is chosen, the symbol is an arrow.

Step 5 is for setting the characteristic restriction against the characteristics in the analysis. This step has several options (in the dropdown boxes) for thecharacteristic restriction:

  • All Values
  • Standard
  • Only the Results
  • Everything Except Results
  • A Fixed Value (specify the value that will be used in the exception)
  • A Fixed Hierarchy Level (specify the level that will be used in the exception)

The following illustration shows Step 5

The following illustration shows Step 5

Finally, in Step 6, the properties of the exception are assigned. The two settings in this screen are for the Exception Is Active option; therefore, the exception will be immediately applied before the display of the results and the description of the exception.

The following illustration shows an example of applying the exception generated by the Exception Wizard. Here, we defined the exception against the Incoming Orders, set the Good setting for anything above 1,000,000, and set the Defective/Bad setting for anything less than 500,000; the values between those two benchmarks are displayed as the normal color (colorless) in the background.

Customer query

The second wizard available in the Settings area, the Condition Wizard, has only four steps. The first step is to set the condition type—either Ranked List Criterion, Threshold Value Condition, or Mixed Condition. These condition types cover most of the common filters required by business users and can be very useful to focus the business users’attention on the critical list of values. Table provides the description and functionality of each setting. As in the Exception Wizard, depending on the setting in this step, other information will change. For example, Step 2, Set Condition Parameter, will change to fit the requirements.

The following illustration shows Step 1 of the Condition Wizard, with Ranked List Criterion being chosen. The second illustration shows Step 2, with the condition set to the top 10 based on incoming orders.

Define condition

Define condition

Settings for the Condition Wizard in the BEx Web Analyzer

Settings for the Condition Wizard in the BEx Web Analyzer

Step 3 involves setting the characteristic assignment. The following options are available, as shown in the next illustration:

  • All Characteristics in Drilldown Independent: This option is optimized for range list conditions, but can be used for threshold values with relevant values.
  • Detailed Characteristic Along the Rows or Columns: This option is optimized for threshold conditions. The characteristic is applied to the most detailed characteristic of the specified axis.
  • Individual Characteristics and Characteristic Combinations: This option is used to select any characteristic or characteristic combination.

Define condition

With the combination of options within Steps 2 and 3, you can set up a condition so that you can track a particular division, plant, or other characteristic and measure its performance on specific conditions. This is a very good approach to monitoring the performance or progress of a particular region, division, or other critical entity.

Finally, in Step 4, you identify whether the condition will be immediately active, identify whether the business user will activate it after execution of the query, and provide a description of the condition. I suggest choosing that the business user activates the condition after they have executed the query. That way, they will be able to see the entire picture, and then drilldown to the condition option.

NOTE The Toggle State button can be used to switch from an active to inactive state of a condition or exception.

The following illustration shows an example of applying the condition generated by the Condition Wizard. Here, the condition for the Top 10 by Incoming Orders generates a report with only ten sold-to parties. You have to be careful with these types of processes when the rows have more than one characteristic; make sure that you are getting the appropriate result set and not filtering on just one country but getting the top ten sold-to parties for all countries (as in this scenario).

Customer query sales analysis

Options and Functionality for Navigating in the Report Environment
As mentioned earlier in the chapter, several different options and approaches are available to navigate in the BEx Web Analyzer. Often, numerous ways exist to do the same thing, and it’s handy to know all the options you have available to do the same activity. This section discusses the context menus available in several locations in the query. The functionality in these context menus overlaps the functionality in the toolbar, discussed in the previous section, although using the toolbar’s Filter and Setting options is normally easier and faster than using the context menus. If the business user doesn’t want to have the Filter and Settings options, then the context menu is the only other choice. The context menus discussed here are those available by right-clicking in the navigation pane (to the left of the query), by right-clicking the headings of the columns and rows, and by right-clicking the actual values within the report

The navigation pane displays the navigational state of the data provider. All the characteristics and structures of the data provider are listed. You can alter the navigational state to analyze your data by dragging characteristics or structures to an axis (rows or columns) of the table (or you can remove them). You can swap axes in the navigation pane using drag and drop, and the table changes accordingly. You can also drag characteristics to the filter pane using drag and drop. Because much of the functionality and activities in this section are consistent with the processes used with the BEx Analyzer as well as with numerous other reporting systems. You can also perform the functionality of drag and drop with the navigation pane context menus, which is part of the focus of this section. The following two illustrations show the details of the context menu options; the first shows the context menu that appears when you right-click in the Rows area, and the second shows the context menu that appears when you right-click in the Columns area.

Customer query sales analysisCustomer query sales analysis

Table lists and describes the options available in the context menus under Rows and Columns.The context menu selections listed in are the same as the selections available from the context menu accessed by right-clicking the characteristics within the body of the query.

context menu selections

As indicated, the Properties context menu option requires further discussion. As previously mentioned, some functions are found in many areas, but the Properties options are unique in some ways. Properties can be accessed via the context menu either from the navigation pane (navigational filter) or from the analysis grid (body of the query). With your cursor on either the characteristic or the characteristic value, rightclick and choose Properties from the context menu. The Properties attributes are the same parameters from either of these areas—characteristic or characteristic value. Below Table lists and describes the fields and the options to fill those fields, and the results that you would view in the query. The following illustration shows the initial screen of the Properties dialog box for the characteristic Sold-to Party. In addition to these parameters, you also have an icon at the very bottom of the screen to turn on the technical names for the objects.

Properties can be accessed via the context menu

Options for Each Tab for the Properties of the Characteristic

Options for Each Tab for the Properties of the CharacteristicOptions for Each Tab for the Properties of the Characteristic

The other two options within the Properties option—All Data Cells and Axis—are very similar to the context menu options available on the key figures themselves, so we’ll review the components of these from the point of view of a key figure property. These options are the only components in the context menu that are different between the BEx Web Analyzer and the BEx Analyzer. You can find these by right-clicking the heading of the key figure columns. The following illustration displays a basic list of activities available in a context menu for the header of the key figures column. As indicated in the illustration, we are going to focus first on the options under Calculations and Translations.

Customer query sales analysis

One option that is available is Cumulate After Applying Single Value Calculations and Result Calculations and is a fairly straight forward calculation. It generates a cumulative result rather than a specific value for that transaction. So, in this case, if you were to turn this on and have a list of values, each row would be a cumulative total of the complete list.This can be very handy for tasks such as reviewing the To Date values of a period of time. If you use this component, the system will automatically roll these values up for you. The newest option to the business user is Formulas | New Formula, which allows the business user to create CKFs on-the-fly directly within the report. Once this is complete, save it as a query view or portal query and you have your unique calculation. Again, remember that this is unique to your query.
In addition a number of options are available in the key figure context menu under Calculate Single Values As and Calculate Results As, as outlined in below Tables. They are shown in the following illustration from the query point of view. Another option that you may notice in the above illustration is Global Currency Translation. This option accesses the dialog box for currency translation on the fly within the query navigation. If the BW IT team has set up the appropriate currency translation components then this option will allow you to generate a display of all of the data using a Global currency.
This allows the business user to see all of the information in their currency of choice—EURs, Canadian Dollars, Pounds, or US Dollars. The nice option included in this parameter is the ability to set up a series of currency translation keys that will allow you to see the information based on different currency views or exchange rates. For example, if you want to use this for the calculation of changes in inventory values based on currency fluctuation or currency fluctuation for exported material or any of the other multiple scenarios involving currency exchange rates, this will help you display the results as you need to in the appropriate currencies. In terms of the other options available in this context menu. The following illustration shows the options found using the context menu from the executed query.

Structure member properties incoming orders

Options Available from the Calculate Results Values Context Menu

Options Available from the Calculate Results Values Context MenuOptions Available from the Calculate Results Values Context Menu

Options Available from the Calculate Single Values Context Menu

Options Available from the Calculate Single Values Context MenuOptions Available from the Calculate Single Values Context Menu

You can also access the properties of key figures through the context menu, under Properties. This opens a Properties dialog box for key figure, which has options to alter the display of a key figure that are very similar to the options you see in the Characteristic dialog box (yet another example of the ability to access the same functionality from separate locations). In the following illustration of the Properties dialog box for a key figure, you can see that the Calculations tab has the same options that are available in the context menu under Calculations and Translations.

context menu under Calculations and Translations

The addition of the ability to create your own formulas (choose Calculations and Transactions | Formula from the context menu) is very useful. As the following illustration shows, you have all the same functionality as in the Query Designer to create your CKFs. A few standard calculation options are not available, but this should not be a significant issue since about 80 to 90 percent of the functionality is available.

Formula builder

By adding this additional component to the frontend of the query, the business user can generate some very complex calculations. In the following illustration, simply used the Formula Editor to generate an average value for incoming orders by using Incoming Orders Value divided by the Order Entry Quantity. You can see that with this capability and the use of the key figure properties to generate calculations such as Rankings, Averages, Standard Deviations and other approaches to manipulate data, the business user can get very creative with their personal views of the queries. This means that each business user needs to be well trained in the areas of performance tuning and data modeling to make surethey are comfortable with the overall processing that the system goes through to deliver the data and results via the BEx Web Analyzer.

Formula builder


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