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Get to Know BusinessObjects 4.

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A collection of articles previously published on BusinessObjects Expert. Visit www.businessobjectsexpert.wispubs.com to see our full archive of articles and other resources.

The Evolution of Crystal Reports in BusinessObjects 4.0, by Adam Getz..................................................Page 2 Chart Engine Offers Exciting Options in Web Intelligence 4.0, by Scott Wallask......................................Page 5 E-tip: 5 Tips to Speed User Adoption of Mobile Dashboards, by BusinessObjects Expert staff.................Page 7 New Information Design Tool Brings Speed and Efficiency to Reporting, by Ashwani Sharma...............Page 8 BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 Sets the Tone with a New Start Page and Query Browser Panel, by Scott Wallask..................................................................................................................Page 11

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The Evolution of Crystal Reports in BusinessObjects 4.0


By Adam Getz, Manager BI and Reporting, TMA Resources
Get a high-level, side-by-side comparison of the features in Crystal Reports 2011 and Crystal Reports for Enterprise, and gain an understanding of the new functions available in Crystal Reports for Enterprise.

>> Key Concept


Two new features introduced in Crystal Reports for Enterprise radically change the Crystal Reports design and development experience. With smart formatting, the Crystal Reports Designer environment automatically detects patterns in report formats and automatically updates report formats upon the addition and removal of data fields. Meanwhile, through enhanced universe connectivity, there are no longer limitations with the integration of universe functionality within Crystal Reports. Now you can fully use all the functionality of universes within a Crystal Report. In addition, SAP has determined that Crystal Reports for Enterprise is the future of the Crystal Reports product line, and subsequently it provides the foundation for all future releases of Crystal Reports. To this end, there are a number of new features in Crystal Reports for Enterprise, including the following: Smart formatting of reports Enhanced connectivity with universes Streamlined, tab-controlled user interface New charting engine New multilingual support New alerting mechanism

In building the latest release of Crystal Reports, SAPs goal was to create an enhanced developer interface and the best possible connectivity with the new semantic/universe layer all with zero disruption in the use of legacy and existing Crystal Reports. Thus, SAP has released two new, yet distinct versions of Crystal Reports: Crystal Reports 2011 mirrors Crystal Reports 2008 and includes the addition of a few new features Crystal Reports for Enterprise is a newly designed version with a new code base, focusing on enhanced report design and enhanced connectivity with BusinessObjects universes

Crystal Reports 2011 allows for a smooth upgrade path for existing legacy reports, while Crystal Reports for Enterprise is the foundation for all future releases of Crystal Reports. Table 1 shows a quick comparison between Crystal Reports 2011 and Crystal Reports for Enterprise. In short, Crystal Reports for Enterprise contains a new version of the Crystal Reports Designer. It encompasses streamlined report creation and modification processes, provides significantly better support for BusinessObjects universes, and allows reports to take advantage of better connectivity to relational databases and SAP NetWeaver BW.

Crystal Reports 2011


 Provides a incremental update to Crystal Reports 2008 with a few new features  Focuses on serving the needs of legacy customers  Delivers existing functionality with no regressions  Offers seamless upgrades from legacy releases of Crystal Reports  Interface is identical to Crystal Reports 2008

Crystal Reports for Enterprise


 Provides a major update and redesign of the Crystal Reports Designer  Offers connectivity with new unx universe and semantic layer  Enhances the report design environment  Offers many new features and functions  Some features in legacy versions of Crystal Reports are not yet available in Crystal Reports for Enterprise  Has the limitation to universes as the only data source  Provides new user interface, including a tabbed toolbar, smart guidelines, and smart default formatting

Table 1

Comparing the two new versions of Crystal Reports

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The Benefit of Smart Formatting


Of the many features in Crystal Reports for Enterprise, one fundamentally changes how developers interact with reports. This new feature is called smart formatting, and it greatly enhances report developer efficiency. With smart formatting, the Crystal Reports Designer automatically detects patterns in report formats. When changes occur to a report (e.g., the addition or removal of fields), the Designer environment rapidly adjusts the format of the report by automatically moving and resizing fields that are contained on the report. So, if a report developer adds a fourth data field to a report that already contains three fields, the environment automatically adjusts the layout to a four-field layout. The report developer also no longer has to manually modify report formatting when adding and removing fields. Additional features of smart formatting include the following: Automatic resizing of columns upon object and column insertion and deletion

Automatic column shifting upon object and column insertion and deletion Guidelines for easy column resizing Ability to drag and drop columns to customize reports

prise takes advantage of the database abstraction, security, class and object layout, expressions, prompts, aggregate awareness, hierarchies, and conversions to business terms that universes provide.

Enhanced Connectivity with Universes


In the past, there had been several key limitations with integrating universe functionality within Crystal Reports. However, in Business Objects 4.0, SAP completely modifies its traditional universe layer, and Crystal Reports for Enterprise has been developed to take advantage of this new universe architecture. Thus, Crystal Report for Enterprise nowincorporates native connectivity tothe universe structure, and the universe interface is consistent and identical to the universe interface of other BusinessObjects products (e.g., Web Intelligence, BusinessObjects Dashboards). In addition, Crystal Reports for Enter-

Features Not Yet Available in Crystal Reports for Enterprise


As Crystal Reports for Enterprise incorporates a completely new code base, rather than being a next version of existing releases of Crystal Reports, there are a number of features that havenot yet been incorporated. However, SAP plans at some point on re-incorporating all these features within future releases of Crystal Reports for Enterprise, allowing the current version to the basis of future releases. Early limitations in Crystal Reports for Enterprise include: No direct relational database support No support for database connectivity (open database connectivity and Java database connectivity) No OLAP as a data source support, other than SAP Business Explorer queries

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No BusinessObjects Live Office support Inability to search via enterprise search No geographical maps No barcodes (previous versions of Crystal Reports allowed for data
Data source
Business Objects 4.0 Universe (unx) SAP NetWeaver BW 7 SAP NetWeaver BW 3.5 Direct database access SAP ERP BusinessObjects Live Office

fields to be displayed as bar codes rather than text) Because these features are not yet incorporated into Crystal Reports for Enterprise, you cannot easily convert existing reports in legacy versions of Crystal Reports to the enterprise version. Moreover, Crystal Reports
General recommendation
Crystal Reports for Enterprise Crystal Reports for Enterprise Crystal Reports 2011 Crystal Reports 2011 Crystal Reports 2011 Crystal Reports 2011

forEnterprise is more situated for the development of new reports rather than the conversion of existing reports from legacy versions. However, Crystal Reports 2011 does include all the features of legacy versions, so you can easily convert existing reports can to the 2011 version while retaining their functionality. In general, if you want to use the new universe layer in BusinessObjects 4.0, then choose Crystal Reports for Enterprise. However, if you require report upgrades from legacy versions, report creation application programming interfaces, or direct data access to relational databases, then go with Crystal Reports 2011 for now. Table 2 summarizes SAPs general recommendations about which version to use based on the data access required. n

Table 2

Recommendations about which current release of Crystal Objects to use

Adam Getz serves as manager for business intelligence and reporting at TMA Resources, at which he is leading a professional organization that conducts full life-cycle business intelligence implementations. He is a thought leader in the field of information technology and an expert in the deployment of leading business intelligence, database management, and data integration products. He has presented at a variety of local, national, and international events including the 2006 Business Objects International Conference, 2007 Oracle BIWA Summit, 2008 Oracle Open World, and 2010 and 2011 ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conferences. In addition, Adam is the creator and main author of bi-insider.com, a Web site, portfolio, and blog that provide rich technical and functional content to business intelligence and data warehousing professionals. Further, he has published numerous technology white papers that have focused on various topics in business intelligence and data warehousing. He currently serves as the chairperson of the Washington, DC, Area BusinessObjects Crystal User Group. You may reach Adam by email at agetz@tmaresources.com.

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Chart Engine Offers Exciting Options in Web Intelligence 4.0


By Scott Wallask, Managing Editor, BusinessObjects Expert
Web Intelligence 4.0s greatest strength may be the way it allows users and report developers to control all aspects of chart appearances.

You want a Web Intelligence chart with shadowed borders, blue font, and a symbol in place of a value? Cool. Wait, now you want to make it a 3-D chart instead? No problem if youre using Web Intelligence 4.0. The latest release of the Web Intelligence software puts design elements right in the hands of users and report developers, continuing a harmonized look and feel among all of the tools within BusinessObjects 4.0, said Roy Wells, principal consultant at Decision First Technologies. Wells spoke during a Decision First Webinar about Web Intelligence 4.0 on October 6, which you can still access on demand by registering. Similar to other BI tools in the BusinessObjects 4.0 release, Web Intelligence 4.0s user interface features tabs and easy navigation among functions (e.g., report elements, formatting, and analysis). For new users, this user interface should provide an earlier learning curve compared to past versions of Web Intelligence, Wells said. However, longtime users familiar with the old user interface may need more time to become accustomed to the changes, he added.

highlight of Web Intelligence 4.0. Through the engine, users can choose different chart types (e.g., box plots, tag clouds, tree maps) depending on how they want to display and analyze data. A tree map chart, for example, shows values as hierarchical data in the form of various sized and colored rectangles, which are also known as leaves (Figure 1). Tree maps can show users patterns of information they might not otherwise immediately notice. Meanwhile, a format pop-up window in the chart engine lets you easily alter chart components (e.g., value axis, 3-D

appearance, shadowed boxes, colors). The power of the chart engine comes from this formatting because it gives users and report developers new-found control over every last aspect of a chart, Wells said.

Previewing Data Is Easy


The query window has been redesigned, and users will find the Data Preview panel helpful, Wells said. After dragging measures and filters into queries, Data Preview allows users to see the resulting date without running the actual report, which saves time (Figure 2). Users can also explore the data in the preview panel, although the full amount of data is configured in the preview to the top 100 or 1,000 rows of information.

The Chart Engine Is Your Palette


The new chart engine (i.e., the system that renders charts) that serves as a
Figure 1 A tree map created in the new chart engine

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Other features users may have interest in include: Web Intelligence 4.0 can use legacy universes (.unv extension) and newer Information Design Tool universes (.unx extension). This expands the data types that Web Intelligence 4.0 can access compared to prior releases of the software. Users can more easily publish data as Web Services by clicking the globe icon in the left column to the chart editing tool. This handy icon was not available in prior releases. n

Figure 2 The Data Preview panel, located in the lower right corner of the screen

Scott Wallask is managing editor for BusinessObjects Expert. You may contact him via email at scott.wallask@wispubs.com and follow him on Twitter @BObjExpert.

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e Tip
5 Tips to Speed User Adoption of Mobile Dashboards
by BusinessObjects Expert staff
Increase user adoption of SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards (formerly Xcelsius) using these five tips.

Just like any killer app, one of the greatest struggles in implementing dashboards is getting people to use them. Driving user adoption is equally about the technical aspects of the dashboard and how you roll it out. Here are five important technical considerations that will make users love your dashboard and not cast it aside. Make your dashboards easy to find. Most users are too busy to look for dashboards, which is why the most visible dashboard wins. Your dashboards should not take more than a click to open up, whether this means an icon or link on a computer desktop or an easy-to-find app on a mobile device. Use simple, clean, well-designed interfaces. Dashboard interfaces should be simple and intuitive, with

minimal steps required to get at information. With many people accessing dashboards on mobile devices with small screens, its even more important for you to use screen real estate as economically as possible. Give users what they need, dont give them what they dont. Keeping your dashboard simple and clean means providing the information users need, and nothing else. Identify the most critical key performance indicators to design around, and eliminate extraneous information that doesnt provide value. As with all aspects of dashboard design, planning is key beware of bloated requirements. Keep datasets as small as possible. Smaller datasets maximize dashboard performance. Minimizing the

>> Note
This E-tip was adapted from Chris Hickmans presentation, Expert Guidelines for Mobilizing Your Dashboard, at the Xcelsius Dashboards Bootcamp in November 2011 in Las Vegas. The conference was hosted by Wellesley Information Services, the publisher of BusinessObjects Expert. number of round trips to the database helps ensure that users wont become frustrated by long loading times. Ensure that your results are accurate. Inaccurate data is the death knell of a perfect dashboard. Build trust in your dashboard from the start by ensuring that the back-end data being used is accurate, and the dashboard processes it correctly. n

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New Information Design Tool Brings Speed and Efficiency to Reporting


by Ashwani Sharma, SAP BI and BusinessObjects Consultant, Accenture
Learn about the new architecture of the SAP Business Objects Information Design Tool and see how it can improve Web Intelligence reporting.

>> Key Concept


The BusinessObjects Information Design Tool is a new modeling tool for the semantic layer that enables you to more efficiently create and deploy BusinessObjects universes compared to the tools predecessor, Universe Designer. data source at the design time and integration of data in real time, hence there no data replication takes place at this layer. Data remains stored in data sources and no changes or extract/transform/load (ETL) are applied to that data at their sources (Figure 2). The tables from the different data sources have different coloring schemes, which makes visualization easier for users. Using the

The semantic layer, also called a universe, acts as a backbone for BusinessObjects Web Intelligence queries and reports. One of the new features in BusinessObjects 4.0 is the BusinessObjects Information Design Tool, which allows you to more efficiently create universes. The architecture and functionality of the Information Design Tool has been enhanced as compared to its predecessor, Universe Designer, which also helps users create universes. There are four main components of Information Designer, all of which didnt exist in prior releases of BusinessObjects and contribute to the new tools effectiveness: query and calculation engine, business layer, data foundation, and data federation engine (Figure 1). Lets explore these four components in more detail: The query and calculation engine works at the query execution time to perform the calculation. The business layer is based on a data foundation. The layer is mapped to the tables and columns in a data foundation and contains a collection of classes and objects that represent what an end user needs. The data foundation contains the universe structure of tables and joins

(tables are connected to each other through joins). Once you connect to any data source you can extract the relevant tables from the data source and insert the appropriate join. Data foundation can be based on one or more relational connections. For OLAP sources, the connection is directly referenced by business layer and no data foundation is required. The data federation engine allows multiple data source functionality, which in practical terms means a user can create multisource-enabled relational universes. The data federation engine provides virtual data access in other words, you can point out the

BI Reporting Tools
(Crystal Reports, Web Intelligence, Xcelsius, and Explorer)

Query and calculation engine Business layer Data foundation Data federation engine

SAP BW

Non-SAP database

OLAP

Text

LML

Web service

Figure 1 Business Objects Information Design Tool architecture

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schemes, you can differentiate the tables from different sources to build the data federation multisource universe data access. If you have the same table from two distinct sources, you can identify which source an individual table comes from based on the tables color.

access to different databases (e.g., Oracle, My SQL and SAP Business Warehousing) in one place Because the data federation engine is an entry point for all the data sources, you can use it to control common security and administration activities The performance for query reading has been enhanced because data integration takes place at the semantic layer It lowers the total cost of ownership for integration projects because there is not complex ETL to put in place It provides heterogeneous access over all sources It provides multiple-source access

Real-life Application of the Information Design Tool


Lets look an example of how multiple sources can be beneficial, which is a main point behind BusinessObjects 4.0. In releases prior to BusinessObjects 4.0, one universe can be connected to one source only. Suppose that business needs a report that includes data from two source systems (e.g., Oracle and My SQL). What is the proposed solution? Using prior versions of BusinessObjects, you create two different universes on two different data sources (e.g., one on Oracle and one on My SQL). Then you create two separate queries and get the data in a Web Intelligence report by calling both the queries in one Web Intelligence document.

Benefits Behind the New Tool


I find the following advantages of having the above four components integrated into the Information DesignTool: It provides a single development environment for BI solutions and data federation engine jobs for multisource universe data access The data federation engine provides

Figure 2 Multisource-enabled relational universe showing, by color, the different sources from which the table pulls data

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A better solution comes from the new Information Design Tool via the data federation engine. The engine lets you create one universe on multiple data sources at the same time, and can perform Web Intelligence reporting onthe top of it. As part of Business Objects 4.0, Web Intelligence is about one-and-a-half times faster than BusinessObjects XI 3.1 when using twodata sources of relational type databases, which is a solid business case forupgrading. Detailed configuration on which this key performance indicator is measured includes: Database Oracle 11g and My SQL

Web Intelligence XI 3.1 + SP1 and Interactive Analysis 4.0 Customer master data having about 5,000 rows (2,000 rows from My SQL and 3,000 from Oracle)

Reusability of Universes
OLAP universes created with BusinessObjects XI 3.X are supported in BusinessObjects 4.0 as well. Interactive analysis can be used for reporting from 3.X OLAP universes. However, to edit the OLAP universes, a user needs the old Universe Designer, not the new Information Design Tool (i.e., to edit a BusinessObjects XI 3.X universe, you need to use that releases tools).

Also, you must save BusinessObjects 4.0 universe files with extension .unx, whereas you save the 3.X universe with extension .unv. There is also a process defined in BusinessObjects 4.0 for relational universes to convert XI 3.X universes to .unx. Finally, Web Intelligence is supported by the following universes: BusinessObjects 4.0 .unx (multisource enabled relational universe) XI 3.1 .unv (OLAP and relational universes) XI 3.1 .unv (relational universes) converted to BI 4.0 .unx n

Ashwani Sharma is SAP BI 7.0 Certified Consultant working with Accenture. He has wide experience in SAP BI and BusinessObjects integration implementations. Currently He is involved in a SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 ramp-up program. You can reach him by email at ashwani.sharma@ accenture.com.

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BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 Sets the Tone with a New Start Page and Query Browser Panel
By Scott Wallask, Managing Editor, BusinessObjects Expert
Introduce yourself to several new features in BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0, including whats available in the new Dashboard Design start page and a tour of user enhancements for query browsing.

With its user friendliness and common Web design elements, BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 looks and feels like a modern product. The latest word is that SAP will release BusinessObjects 4.0 on September 16, 2011, although the release date has already been delayed a few times this year. Several features of the upcoming Dashboards 4.0 release are attractive to front-end users. Lets look briefly at these features as detailed by Chris Hickman, senior business intelligence consultant at Decision First Technologies, during a Webinar on September 8 about Dashboards 4.0.

Drag-and-drop functions are also in place, so users can move and adjust panels to customize their viewing. Meanwhile, by clicking the Start Page button near the top of the screen, users can easily toggle between the start page and an open dashboard, Hickman said.

window in the Dashboard Designer allows users to create, edit, or delete universe queries, Hickman said. Users can access the panel by following menu path View > Query Browser (Figure 2). The panel window is easily dragged to any position on the screen, and it also permits users to view multiple queries at once. Meanwhile, the actual Query Browser is accessible by clicking the add query icon in the Query Browser Panel. In BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0, the Query Browser can directly connect to existing universes, so it streamlines the Query as a Web Service process users may be familiar with in BusinessObjects XI 3.1, Hickman said.

An Easy-to-Use Query Brower Panel


The Query Browser panel a new

The Start Page Gets a New Look


The Dashboard Design start page shown in Figure 1 is a new landing page for users when they log in to Dashboards 4.0. From this page, users can create a new dashboard, open a recently used dashboard, or open an existing dashboard from a local drive or the BI launch pad (a feature formerly known as InfoView in Xcelsius). The start page takes advantage of tabs, allowing users to switch between Highlights (e.g., sample dashboards), Key Resources (e.g., blogs and support), and eLearning (e.g., dashboard tutorials).

Figure 1 BusinessObjects Dashboards 4.0 start page

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Another new feature is the Query Refresh button, which, as you can guess, allows users to quickly refresh queries. Also note the Query Prompt Selector (available in the Components > Category window that defaults to the bottom of the left column). It updates the prompt values for a component and refreshes all dependent objects, he added.

It is possible to re-use existing dashboards from BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.x within Dashboards 4.0. The key is that BusinessObjects 4.0 is able to open XLF files from older dashboards and then save the files using newer Dashboard Design Objects, Hickman said. However, dashboards cant move backwards from 4.0 to XI 3.x, he added. In other words, it is not possible to take a dashboard created in 4.0 and

open it in XI 3.x. Other new highlights to note in Dashboards 4.0 include the following: Direct data binding is now an option in Dashboards 4.0, which was a highly requested feature from users, Hickman said. Direct data binding permits users to bind components directly to universe queries, which lets users perform more actions in dashboards and eliminates the need to bind data in spreadsheet cells. In previous releases of BusinessObjects, users must employ the embedded spreadsheet for designing dashboards, but now users can integrate with the semantic layer. As example, by integrating to the semantic layer, users can bind a chart directly to dimensions and measures from the layer. Dashboards can now contain translated text via the Translation Manager. Translating text is as easy as opening a dashboard, Hickman said. Regional data formatting now takes places place when a dashboard is published to the BI launch pad. The formatting is based on the users locale rather than being set explicitly within Dashboard Design, he said. For example, Dashboards 4.0 converts dates, times, and currency by drawing calculations from settings made in the BI launch pad. n

Older Dashboards Are Supported in New Release

Figure 2 Query Browser panel shown in its default position in the lower left of the

screen

Scott Wallask is managing editor for BusinessObjects Expert. You may contact him via email at scott.wallask@wispubs.com and follow him on Twitter @BObjExpert.

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