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SAP BusinessObjects

Dashboard Essentials
Presented by: David Lai
Date: April 13, 2011

David Lai
SAP Business Objects Consultant
SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards Enthusiast
Author of web blog and coauthor of
Co-author of SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 Cookbook.
Rebranding of Xcelsius
Xcelsius in its original conception was a way to build visualizations and
dashboards using Excel data.
As Xcelsius evolved, the name no longer became relevant in the SAP
product line
Thus SAP felt it would be better for customers if Xcelsius was to be
rebranded as SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards

Common issues that dashboard designers are faced
Data connectivity
External 3rd party addons
Query Browser (New BI4 feature)
Dashboard resources

Common Dashboard Issues

Architectural Issues
Deciding on what type of data connection to use
Dashboard Performance
Aggregation of data within Xcelsius
Hierarchical selection
Multiple selection
Drilling up and down hierarchies

Data Connectivity
SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards
can connect to 12 different types of
data sources

12 Connectivity Options
BO Enterprise

Query as a Web Service

Live Office
SAP Netweaver BW
Crystal Report Data
Flash Variables
FS Commands

Web Service Connection

XML Data
Portal Data
LCDS Connection
External Interface
Excel XML Maps

Live Office and QaaWS @ Design Time

Live Office and QaaWS @ Runtime

When to use Live Office Complex Formatting

Crosstabs with a dynamic amount of columns or formulas in the cells that

require complex formulas that can be done in the WEBI report.

With QaaWS we can use ETL but that would require extra data
maintenance and universes/universe objects which some organizations are
not okay with.
Great for rapid development as we dont have to wait for ETL resources to
complete the ETL work

When to use Live Office

We can make use of WEBI report scheduling on queries that take
long to run.
The dataset needs to be small enough (less than 500 rows) so that
we can just grab the entire set without having to query.

Crystal Reports
Crystal Reports can be utilized when there is no Universe

When to use Query as a Web Service

Query as a Web Service does not have to build a WEBI report and queries
Good for large data sets that need to be broken down with prompt parameters
Can perform row level security querying

Data Logic / Maintainability

Keeps Data Logic in the data layer so that database handles all the
number crunching through the ETL
Dont have to maintain Live Office connections on the Excel
Less overhead on the dashboard source file

Thoughts on Live Office and QaaWS

Is it strict where Data Logic should reside in your
Is it necessary to invest in the ETL work? Are ETL
resources available?
Is performance a major factor?
Real time or Delayed data?
Is the organization comfortable with managing both LO
and QaaWS to get the best out of both worlds?

BI Web Services

Available for SAP BusinessObjects XI 3.1 SP2 and up

Hybrid of Live Office and Query as a Web Service
Allows you to create web service objects from Web Intelligence blocks
(Complex formatting without the need for ETL)
Can used scheduled reports
Can use Web Intelligence drill down feature which is extremely useful
No more Live Office management required on Excel spreadsheet

BI Web Services - Continued

On SAP Business Objects XI 3.1, you can only use Web Intelligence rich
client to generate BI Web Services
On SAP Business Objects BI 4, you can generate BI Web Services from
Interactive Analysis (Web Intelligence web client)
In SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards and Life Cycle Manager, the BI Web
Service objects are treated as Query as a Web Service objects

Some quick dashboard performance tips

When using Live Office, use as little live office connections as possible.
They take up a lot of overhead
Re-use dashboard components such as charts and selectors as much as
Keep dataset sizes to a minimum. When you are going over 1500 rows, it
takes a significant amount of overhead.
Try to use formulas such as VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, SUMIFs, etc sparingly.
For VLOOKUPs you can use Filtered Rows instead.
Use & instead of Concatenate

Inovista Microcharts

A powerful 3rd party addon that allows a designer to create standard or

hierarchical tree structures and present numerous data visualizations in a
compact way
Fills SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards tree explorer gap
Each column can represent a different chart type
Huge amount of control options to customize table functionality
Allows designers to build visualizations that are in line with Stephen Fews

Filtered Summary Component

Straight forward approach to summarize groups of data

Inject summarization, searching and filtering capabilities for end users
Shorten development time and improve dashboard maintenance
Dont have to run another query in order to get aggregated calculations

Gmaps Plug-in

Navigate geographic information within a familiar Google Maps interface

Visualize performance at any level from worldwide to a street-level picture
Retrieve detailed information on map properties

Query Browser

Powerful new feature in SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4 that allows

designers to connect directly to Universe objects
Dont have to manage separate WEBI or QaaWS objects
Allows designers to bind output data directly to object selectors and vice
versa to reduce complexity.

Build your query


Bind directly to
query object

Query Browser - Continued

Multi Select without having to use the real estate hogging List Builder!

Multi Select from

list of values!

Query Browser Need to know

Must be on SAP BusinessObjects BI4

You must use Information Design Tool to convert existing Universes into
UNX format for the Universes to be visible on Query Browser
Query selection is the same as Query as a web service (no complex

SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 Resources

SAP Community Network
The Official SAP Community Network provides a wealth of knowledge on SAP products, forums to help developers overcome any
problems, blogs to learn new tips and tricks, and much more.
Business Objects Board
Before SAP bought Business Objects, this was the largest support forum that developers would go to. Even after the acquisition
of Business Objects, the forum still remains very active. Xcelsius Gurus Network
Website for all your SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (Xcelsius) news, tips, tricks, templates, consulting and training.
Great blog that contains a huge amount of tips, tricks, and best practices for SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards. There are close
to 10 authors who contribute to making this blog a success.
David Lais Business Intelligence Blog
David Lais blog that provides a great amount of tips, tricks, and best practices mainly on SAP BusinessObjects related products.
He also provides insight into other Business Intelligence toolsets.
SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 Cookbook
Over 75 simple and incredibly effective recipes for transforming your data into exciting dashboards with SAP BusinessObjects
Dashboards 4.0. Available May 2011

Questions and Answers