Business evaluation objects are known in BW as InfoObjects. They are divide into characteristics (for example, customers), key figures (for example, revenue), units (for example, currency, amount unit), time characteristics (for example, fiscal year) and technical characteristics (for example, request number).
InfoObjects are the smallest information units in BW. They structure the information needed to create data targets.
Characteristics are sorting keys, such as company code, product, customer group, fiscal year, period, or region. They specify classification options for the dataset and are therefore reference objects for the key figures. In the InfoCube, for example, characteristics are stored in dimensions. These dimensions are linked by dimension IDs to the key figures in the fact table. The characteristics determine the granularity (the degree of detail) at which the key figures are kept in the InfoCube. In general, a data target contains only a sub-quantity of the characteristic values from the master data table. The master data includes the permitted values for a characteristic. These are known as the characteristic values.
The key figures provide the values that are reported on in a query. Key figures can be quantity, amount, or number of items. They form the data part of a data target.
Units are also required so that the values for the key figures have meanings. Key figures of type amount are always assigned a currency key and key figures of type quantity also receive a unit of measurement.
Time characteristics are characteristics such as date, fiscal year, and so on.
Technical characteristics are used for administrative purposes only within BW. An example of a technical characteristic is the request number in the InfoCube. This is generated when you load a request as an ID and helps you locate the request at a later date.
Special features of characteristics:
If characteristics have attributes, texts, or hierarchies at their disposal then they are referred to as master data-bearing characteristics. Master data is data that remains unchanged over a long period of time. Master data contains information that is always needed in the same way. References to this master data can be made in all data targets. You also have the option of creating characteristics with references. A reference characteristic provides the attributes, master data, texts, hierarchies, data type, length, number and type of compounded characteristics, lower case letters and conversion routines for new characteristics.
A hierarchy is always created for a characteristic. This characteristic is the basic characteristic for the hierarchy (basic characteristics are characteristics that do not reference other characteristics). Like attributes, hierarchies provide a structure for the values of a characteristic. Company location is an example of an attribute for Customer. You use this, for example, to form customer groups for a specific region. You can also define a hierarchy to make the structure of the Customer characteristic clearer.
Special features of key figures:
A key figure is assigned additional properties that influence the way that data is loaded and how the query is displayed. This includes the assignment of a currency or unit of measure, setting aggregation and exception aggregation, and specifying the number of decimal places in the query.
1. Component of an InfoSource
An InfoSource is always a quantity of InfoObjects that logically belong together and are updated in data targets.
a. InfoSources with flexible update
An InfoSource with flexible update can be updated in any data targets (with the exception of hierarchies). Update rules are created for this InfoSource.
InfoObjects can be used in as many InfoSources and data targets as you like.
b. InfoSources with direct update
Using an InfoSource with direct update, master data (characteristics with attributes or texts) for an InfoObject can be written directly (without update rules) to the master data table.
2. Composition of a data target:
A data target consists of a number of InfoObjects.
In an InfoCube, the characteristics, units, and time characteristics form the basis of the key fields, and the key figures form the data part of the fact table of the InfoCube.
In an ODS object, characteristics generally form the key fields, but they can also be included in the data part, together with the key figures, units and time characteristics.
3. Attributes for InfoObjects