BI Suite: Business Explorer
The Business Explorer is the SAP Business Information Warehouse component that provides flexible reporting and analysis tools for strategic analyses and decision-making support within a company. These tools include query, reporting and analysis functions. As an employee with authorization for the Business Explorer, you can evaluate old and current data to varying degrees of detail and from different perspectives on the Web and also in MS Excel.
Using BEx Information Broadcasting, you can distribute business intelligence content from the SAP BW as precalculated documents with historical data or as links with live data via e-mail or you can publish them in the Enterprise Portal.
The Business Explorer gives a large spectrum of users access to the information in SAP BW: Using the Enterprise Portal, using the Intranet (Web Application Design) or using mobile devices (WAP or iMode-enabled mobile telephones, Personal Digital Assistants).
The following graphic illustrates the integration of the Business Explorer as an analysis and reporting component within the SAP Business Information Warehouse:
The following overview shows the functional areas of the Business Explorer:
Queries, reporting and analysis
The data in the SAP Business Information Warehouse is structured into self-contained business data areas (InfoProviders). You analyze the dataset of the Business Information Warehouse by defining queries for InfoProviders in the BEx Query Designer. By selecting and combining InfoObjects (characteristics and key figures) or reusable structures in a query, you determine the way in which you navigate through and evaluate the data in the selected InfoProvider.
Analyzing data on the basis of multi-dimensional data sources (OLAP reporting) makes it possible to analyze several dimensions at the same time (like, for example, time, location, product) You have the option of carrying out any number of variance analyses (for example, plan-actual comparison, fiscal year comparison). The data, displayed in the form of a table, serves as the start point for a detailed analysis for answering a variety of questions. A large number of interaction options, such as sorting, filtering, swapping characteristics or local calculations allow flexible navigation through data for the runtime. You can also display data in graphics (for example, bar charts or pie charts). In addition, you can evaluate geographical data (for example, characteristics such as customer, sales region, country) on a map. Furthermore, using exception reporting, you can establish those objects that deviate from the norm or are critical, send messages automatically (through background processing in the Reporting Agent) about deviating values by email or SMS, or calculate the values at a glance in an alert monitor.
In the SAP Business Information Warehouse, you can analyze data in the Business Explorer in the following areas:
· In the BEx Analyzer (MS Excel-based) in the form of queries.
· In BEx Web Applications
Integration of the two areas is seamless: You can display queries from the BEx Analyzer with one click in a standard view in the Web browser. Similarly, you can export a Web application to MS Excel 2000.
Web Application Design allows you to use the generic OLAP navigation in Web applications as well as business intelligence cockpits for simple or highly individual scenarios. You can implement highly individual scenarios with customer-defined interface elements by using standard markup languages and Web design APIs. Web application design comprises a broad spectrum of Web-based business intelligence scenarios, which you can adjust to meet your individual needs using standard Web technologies.
You are able to use the BEx Web Application Designer, the desktop application used to create Web applications, to generate HTML pages that contain BW-specific content such as tables, charts or maps. You can save the Web applications as a URL and access them from an intranet or on mobile devices. In addition, you can integrate Web applications into an Enterprise Portal as iViews.
The BEx Web Analyzer provides you with a standalone, comfortable Web application for data analysis that you can call using an URL or as an iView in the Enterprise Portal. You can open a query or a view in the Web Analyzer or you can define a new query. You can switch from the tabular to the graphic view using the tab pages, or you can request information from selected data providers and you can call the BEx Broadcaster.
With BEx Mobile Intelligence, you can call up Web applications (created with the Web Application Designer) on the move. The system automatically recognizes what kind of mobile device is being used to call up the mobile application (WAP device, PDA, iMode or normal desktop browser).
The integration of Crystal Reports into SAP BW enhances the functional area of the Business Explorer. With Crystal Reports, you can now create formatted reports. It is important in formatted reports that you can specify the layout design to one pixel and also have convenient print options.
Not only can you use Web applications or mobile applications online for analysis and reporting, you can also use them offline. The system generates the HTML pages in the Reporting Agent at a predefined time. You can then use the BEx Download Scheduler (a wizard that takes you through the download process step-by-step) to download the precalculated HTML pages from the BW server onto your desktop PC or to schedule the download for a later time. You can now use precalculated Web applications offline and transfer them to a PDA device.
See Offline Scenario.
BEx Information Broadcasting
BEx Information Broadcasting allows you to make objects with business intelligence contents available to a wide spectrum of users according to your requirements.
You can use the BEx Broadcaster to precalculate BEx Web applications, queries and workbooks and publish them in the SAP Enterprise Portal or you can distribute them by e-mail. In addition to the precalculated documents that contain historic data, you can also generate online links to queries and Web applications.
From the BEx Query Designer design tools and the BEx Web Application Designer, you can publish queries or Web templates to any BW role or directly into the Enterprise Portal. The Business Explorer portal role shows the various options that are available to you when you are working with content from the SAP BW in the Enterprise Portal.
See also Information Broadcasting.
Integration into the SAP Enterprise Portal
You can integrate business-relevant content from the SAP Business Information Warehouse seamlessly into a SAP Enterprise Portal. Integration takes place with the help of the BEx Broadcaster, the BEx Web Application Designer, the BEx Query Designer, the KM Content, SAP Role Uploads or the Portal Content Studio. Depending on the type of integration, you create various objects with various displays in the portal. For more information, see Overview: Integration- and Display Types of BW Content in the Portal.
The SAP Enterprise Portal enables you to access applications from other systems and sources, such as the Internet or intranet. Using one entry point, you can reach both structured and unstructured information. In addition to content from Knowledge Management, business data from data analysis is available to you from the Internet and from the Intranet.