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Component documentation OLAP  Locate the document in its SAP Library structure


SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence uses OLAP technology to analyze the data that is stored in the data warehouse. Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) characterizes business intelligence as a Decision Support Systemsince it allows decision makers to analyze multidimensionally modeled data quickly and interactively in accordance with business management needs.

InfoProviders provide the view of the data. Since the data in InfoCubes is stored in a read-optimized form, InfoCubes and MultiProviders based on InfoCubes are the preferred InfoProviders.


The OLAP Processor, a component of the BI server, lies between the user and the database: It makes the multidimensionally formatted data available to both the BI front end and, using special interfaces (Multidimensional Interfaces), to third-party administrator front ends. For this reason, the OLAP processor is optimized for the analysis and reporting of large datasets. Users can request ad hoc individual views of business-relevant data using the Business Explorer (see BI Suite: Business Explorer).

The following figure displays the status and tasks of the OLAP processor within the data processing process when a multidimensional analysis is executed:

This graphic is explained in the accompanying text

Queries are the basis of every analysis in SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence. To formally define a multidimensional request, a query defines:

      the structure – similar to a worksheet (see Structures, Defining Restricted Key Figures, Defining Calculated Key Figures, Defining Exception Cells).

      the filter that affects this structure

      the navigation space (free characteristics) (see Restricting Characteristics).

The BI system has a number of analysis and navigation functions for formatting and evaluating a company’s data. These allow the user to formulate individual requests on the basis of multidimensionally modeled datasets (InfoProviders). Subsequently the user is able to view and evaluate this data from different perspectives at runtime. The overall functionality for retrieving, processing, and formatting this data is provided by the OLAP processor.

In the context of BI Integrated Planning, you can use input ready queries for manual planning. For more information, see BI Integrated Planning and Input Ready Queries.


The following table provides an overview of the OLAP functions and services implemented in the analytic engine of SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence.


For more information, see Special OLAP Functions and Services, Performance Optimization and the BI Suite: Business Explorer section.

Overview of OLAP Functions and Services

OLAP Function

Operations in Detail


         Drilldown to characteristic / structure element. Remove element drilldown from the view (dice)

         Expand (drilldown) and hide (drill up) hierarchy nodes

         Swap drilldown elements


         Restrict (slice) characteristics to selections (single value, value range, hierarchy element, exclusion)


         Standard aggregation: Default, key-figure-dependent calculation formula for the aggregation of single result values

         Exception aggregation: Special aggregation setting in relation to a particular characteristic. For example, aggregation average of account balance with reference to the time characteristic

         Local aggregation or local calculations: For example, the calculation of individual values displayed for normalizing from the overall result


         Layout of the characteristics as key / description

         Display / suppress results rows

         Change position of hierarchy nodes (up / down)

Result-dependent selection and layout

         Threshold values (exceptions): colored highlighting of uncommon variances in key figure values

         Conditions: Key-figure-dependent restriction of characteristics according to defined conditions


         Hierarchical assignment of characteristic values with drill down for more than one element (‘Universal Display Hierarchy’)

Generic and business analysis functions

         Sorting with reference to characteristics and key figures

         Calculated key figures and formulas (enables statistical and mathematical calculation on the basis of key figure values)

         Currency translation

         Elimination of internal business volume: business elimination of internal transactions

Concepts for optimizing runtime



         OLAP Cache (can be implemented in cache mode, depending on the query)

Integrated additional functions

         Variables for parameterization and increased reusability of queries

         Report-report interfaces for navigation in different reports

         Authorization concept for controlling user authorizations with reference to accessing data



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