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BO Explorer implementation

Checklist for SAP BI

Applies to:
Supporting the Business Objects Explorer + BW Accelerator

Summary
This article helps in understanding the Support components of the SAP BW Accelerator as the underlying
layer and then the BO Explorer

Author(s): Hari Guleria


Company: erada Systems Inc. (http://www.erada.com)
Created on: 07 March 2010

Author Bio
Hari  Guleria  is  a  ’BI  Business  Value  Strategist  &  Architect’  at    erada  Inc,  and  BI  DataBridge  llc,    launching  SAP  BI  software 
products like SmartCube (automated InfoCube modeling), BWA Workbench (tool for BWA administration) and RapidPro (ABAP 
optimization tool). The team is currently working on ‘Datentech’ a 100% BI Data Profiling, Scoring and Management tool. Hari 
has completed 3 FLC BWA projects and participated in two BWA implementations. 
Hari routinely works with customers as their business value Architect, i.e. building sustainable BI methodology by working with 
business  owners  and  vendor  partners,  assuring  SAP  and  SAP  BI  Business  Value  enablement.  Hari  is  highly  business  need 
focused.  His  strength  is  in  BI  Strategy,  Architecture  and  Business  Value  assurance,  and  assisting  BI  customers  realize  their 
business goals. He is the author of the book ‘BI Valuenomics 1’ due for release in April 2010 and 2 in June 2010. 
Prior to this Hari worked at SAP America with their Value Realization group focusing on SAP BI strategy and value audits. Before 
that Hari held national BI & EP practice director roles with major SAP premier partner companies. Hari started SAP with Andersen consulting (now 
Accenture) in Saudi Arabia in 1995. 
Prior  to  SAP    Hari  comes  with  over  9  years  of  Sr.  sales,  marketing  and  strategic  planning  experience  with  European  multinationals.  He  has  been 
assisting customers meet their SAP R/3 business goals since 1995 and BI goals since 1997. He has been a regular speaker at ASUG, and BITI national 
SAP conferences. Hari has over 14 full life‐cycle SAP projects under his belt.  
Hari may be contacted at hguleria@erada.com 

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BO Explorer implementation Checklist for SAP BI

Table of Contents
BW ACCELERATOR ......................................................................................................................................... 3 
BO EXPLORER ................................................................................................................................ 3 
BO Explorer background ................................................................................................................................. 3 
BOEx Technical Profile ................................................................................................................................... 3 
BOEx Service components ............................................................................................................................. 3 
Support options ............................................................................................................................................... 3 
BOEx Implementation Checklist ......................................................................................................................... 4 
Check 0: What all will I not have to do with a BOEx ....................................................................................... 4 
Check 1: Why do customers buy BO Explorer ............................................................................................... 4 
Step 2: Align User Expectations ..................................................................................................................... 4 
Check 3: Aligning user expectations ............................................................................................................... 4 
Aligning user expectations is the most critical aspect of the BO Explorer deployment. ..................................... 4 
Check 4: Enhance your BW before planning for BOEX.................................................................................. 4 
Check 5: What can I do with BOEx ................................................................................................................. 5 
Check 6: What is the best and worst thing about BO Explorer ....................................................................... 5 
Check 7: How can I use BO Explorer best of all ............................................................................................. 5 
As an executive tool for ................................................................................................................................... 5 
Sept 8: Preparing BW DSO’s and InfoCubes for BO Explorer ....................................................................... 6 
Step 9: Review your standards ....................................................................................................................... 6 
Step 10: Check BW for Redundancy .............................................................................................................. 6 
Step 11: If BOEx is so great how can it go wrong? ........................................................................................ 6 
SELECTION 1 .................................................................................................................................................... 6 
•  By not setting the user expectations correctly............................................................................................. 6 
Check 12: Why do I need to remodel my InfoCube for BOEx? ...................................................................... 7 
Step 12: Understand the BOEX Implementation ............................................................................................ 7 
Check 13: Who should support a BOEx Implementation................................................................................ 7 
Check 14: What support does BW team need to do of BOEx is through BWA .............................................. 8 
BASIC Rule  Plan your work and only then work your plan ......................................................................... 8 
BOEx Miscellaneous ....................................................................................................................................... 9 
Other questions .................................................................................................................................................. 9 
High level – BO Explorer Architecture & Data Flow ......................................................................................... 10 
Copyright........................................................................................................................................................... 11 

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BO Explorer implementation Checklist for SAP BI

BW ACCELERATOR
See document: https://cw.sdn.sap.com/cw/docs/DOC-119971

BO EXPLORER

BO Explorer background
It used to be called Polestar and is now BO Explorer.
BO Explorer (BOEx) is an appliance provided jointly by SAP/BOBJ that can be a stand alone or an add-on to
the BW Accelerator.
The role of the BO Explorer is to provide ‘blistering speed’ analytics by leveraging [1] Columnar based
structures for [2] text based analytics (contextual informatics)
Currently the BO Explorer can source data from BW, Business Objects and other source systems.

BOEx Technical Profile


At an executive level the BOEx consists of
• BOEx is a web based ‘textual analytics tool that provides ‘Blink Analysis’ based on text based
questions. An executive can simply type ‘2008 Q4 total sales for shoes?’ and the BOEx will provide
you available options
• It is the world’s greatest executive informatics mining tool that is miles ahead from the traditional
data mining tools. Data mining provided a lot of data. Informatics mining only delivers information.
• BOEx Blades: BO Explorer blade can be applied to existing BW Accelerators for exceptional speed
analytics
• Without the BWA the BOEx will provide answers but at considerably slow speeds.
• Test run the BOEx by uploading the largest Excel file you can find http://goexplore.ondemand.com
and then play to your satisfaction.

BOEx Service components


The BOEX has 3 layers of service components that must be considered at the time of BO Explorer
implementation
• Layer 1: BOEx Software: The BOEx Software is maintained and supported by SAP. SAP will
require a support contract that works with the regular OSS support
• Layer 2: BOEx BWA Appliance support: This support layer includes everything on the BO
Explorer other than layer 1 support. This includes, or may not, the hardware, software’s and all
associated objects and services in the BO Explorer
• Layer 3: Customer Support
o Layer 3.1: BO Explorer Network Support: This includes all the network interfaces to and
from the BOEX, the redundancy network lines and other data center support services
o Layer 3.1: BO Explorer Application Layer support: Data Indexing

Support options
Layer 1 support must come only from SAP (BOEx Software in each blade)
Layer 2 support comes from your BO Explorer HW vendor (everything other than the BOEx SW)
Layer 3.1 support needed to be defined in a RACI with the Data Center support administration
Layer 3.2 support comes from the BI Basis and BO Explorer BI Support team

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BO Explorer implementation Checklist for SAP BI

BOEx Implementation Checklist

Check 0: What all will I not have to do with a BOEx


Here are some of the things I used to train BW teams to do to improve BW performance. We DON’T
have to do all this any more
1. Build Queries
2. Build DSO’s
3. Build InfoCubes
4. Create dashboards and Scorecards
5. Building cached and canned queries
6. Etc..

Check 1: Why do customers buy BO Explorer


Customers do not by the BO Explorer appliance. What they are buying is query performance for executive
Informatics Mining

Step 2: Align User Expectations


Align User Expectations Like everything else for once again the BO Explorer is not a silver bullet that will
resolve every query response.
As with all products, the BOEx appliance can provide exceptional query performance if applied in the right
manner and if the user expectations are set right

Check 3: Aligning user expectations

Aligning user expectations is the most critical aspect of the BO Explorer deployment.
The value offer of BOEx is ‘Enable exceptional performance for Executive Informatics Mining’
The reason for this is that
• BOEx is not designed to provide complex cross function reporting for operational management.
BOEx is designed for executive level informatics browsing to view trends and process distribution so
as to enable them to ask further questions.
• BOEX does not need data base access or OLAP time. It creates queries in the fly with daa and
graphs
• If ‘Executive Self Service Informatics is your goal’ BOEx is your appliance
• If replacing your DW, BI or BW is your goal BOEx is not your solution.
• However if you have a 200 million records and you need to summarize that into a one single
question BOEx can show the answer without any query in the background.

Check 4: Enhance your BW before planning for BOEx


Some companies have fundamentally defective standards BW.
Rule 1: If your BW standards are defective then BOEx will provide lesser value
Rule 2: If system has duplicate KPI’s then BOEx will provide as many answers as there are duplicates

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BO Explorer implementation Checklist for SAP BI

Check 5: What can I do with BOEx


At blistering speeds you can
• Change the report mix from customers to materials
• Flip form data to chart
• Flip from one chart type to another
• Add a filter
• Save an exploratory view
• Drill down into values you want to further analyze
• Select different characteristics, or measures, in the exploratory view
• Add a calculation to an existing measure
• Apply sorts and ranks to your exploratory views
• Share an exploratory view with others
• Upload data from large excel sheets and instantly analyze the data
• Personalize row filtering selections
• Plus more

At any speed you cannot


• Get a single answer if your source system has multiple KPI’s
• Create cross-application operational executive reports
• Create cross source system reports unless the master data is harmonized
• Merge data from many sources to get one consolidated answer
• Get historical trends and comparisons, i.e. current month to last 5 years current month
• Get time stamped analytics, i.e. stock position as of x date
• Plus more

Check 6: What is the best and worst thing about BO Explorer


• Its greatest strength is its simplicity
• Its greatest weakness is its simplicity
Because of this reason it is imperative to understand what BOEx can and cannot do in order to align user
expectations and avoid post production headaches.

Check 7: How can I use BO Explorer best of all

As an executive tool for


• Mapping out of the ordinary, unknown informatics nuggets, i.e. seeing graphical deviation or
abnormality trends
• Executive Informatics mining, i.e. finding things you were not even looking for.
• Executive analytics assistant, i.e. defining tasks for your business analysts to work on by finding
attributes that exist outside the normal distribution

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BO Explorer implementation Checklist for SAP BI

• Executive friendly analytical mining tool, i.e. running self-service queries that are totally never
developed or existing in any system
• Asking questions that have never been asked before
• Analytics at the speed of thought
• Going where no query has ever gone before

Sept 8: Preparing BW DSO’s and InfoCubes for BO Explorer


One of the most critical requirements for BO Explorer is standards. Without standards there could be
100 answers to a single question or you may be looking at the wrong solution without knowing it. The
question remains as to who is responsible if your CxO picks the wrong KPI and takes a decision?
The key standard being mentioned here is Naming Standards. The reason for this is that in a traditional BW
environment developers personally attach a specific KPI to a specific query. The developers always know
what to attach to which query.
However it is extremely common to find KPI’s like Total Amount with a Technical ID of ZTAMT in the system,
and then find that there are a 100 other total amount KPI’s in the system too, one for sales, one for returns,
another for procurement, etc. Now go find the needle in the haystack..
There is an inherent need to clear all ambiguity from text based analytics by maintaining razor sharp
standards, from definitions, technical ID’s to short text descriptions. Small change in standards but a big leap
for analytics.
There are automated tools available that will model your InfoCubes for BW Accelerator and or BO Explorer.

Step 9: Review your standards


Create a set of global SAP BW BI standards that can identify each single component individually for which
region, which business are, who the owner is and so forth. Do not use Z for custom objects anymore.
Replace them with a modern global standard.
BW Standards: manual standards: BW standards come in two forms
Manual 1: made by ex ABAP resources from SAP ABAP background – they prefer to use Z which
was mandatory in SAP but not in BW. Their environments are loaded with only Z objects
Manual 2: made by modern BI architects where global naming standards can uniquely identify each
object by simply its tech ID

Step 10: Check BW for Redundancy


Do a source field analysis and check where there is data duplication in the BW environment. Eliminate
duplicate and redundant objects from the BW and BWA environments.
There are automated tools available that allow ‘Source Field to InfoObject Discovery’ for an analysis and
cleanup planning of your BW environment. These tools work at field and data source level reporting and are
essential for elimination of duplicate KPI’s and objects.

Step 11: If BOEx is so great how can it go wrong?

SELECTION 1

• By not setting the user expectations correctly.


• Just like the BW Accelerator is not a silver bullet. So too the BO Explorer is not a silver bullet
SELECTION 2

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BO Explorer implementation Checklist for SAP BI

• Getting too many answers and not knowing which one to choose
• Not getting the details one thought users could get
• Not being able to ask complex questions
• Assuming BOEx will answer all the BW Queries
• Assuming executives can sit in a room and ask any question and get the answer in under 1 second

The most important component of a BOEx project is to set user expectations straight from the start.

Check 12: Why do I need to remodel my InfoCube for BOEx?


On one side of the school of thought is the recommendation that we do not need to remodel the InfoCube for
BOEx as BOEx will take care of all the data
On the other side is the school that insists re-modeling for these reasons
1. BW InfoCubes need to be cleansed for BO Explorer. Without this the BOEx may not provide entirely
right answers. Without entirely right answers executives may take not entirely right decisions.
Without not entirely right decisions the company may not head in the right direction.
2. It is a well known fact that ‘Companies do not collapse due to one big bad decision, but due to the
accumulation of a lot of not entirely right decisions’.
3. BW Cubes are modeled for query performance without any consideration for speed. Space is not a
problem in BW
4. BWA Cubes are modeled for space minimization and not for performance as performance will be
provided by the BWA, and space is extremely expensive in the BWA. A space reduction of 30% will
mean 30% less blades which will mean initial one-time saving and an annual saving on support costs
5. BOEx cubes have to be modeled for elimination of redundancies and duplicates. BOEx is highly
dependent on standards and these must be incorporated for optimal performance.
6. Remodeling can be undertaken with an intention of enhancing only the space and data load
capabilities, or for elimination of redundancies. Data load performance is also an additional benefit
for considering re-modeling.

Step 12: Understand the BOEx Implementation


A BO Explorer needs to be planned and deployed
Option 1: Quick and easy Technical Implementation – fast to deploy costly to maintain, could result in
headaches due to not meeting business expectations
Option 2: Planned and optimized BOEx implementation with a firm plan, BOEx Re-modeling, Slimming of
InfoCubes, RACI documented, Training, etc accomplished before the BOEx blade is inserted into the BWA
appliance.

Check 13: Who should support a BOEx Implementation


Up to 1 week before the BOEx Implementation 90% of the work needs to be done by the Basis team,
preferably by the same resource that supports the BW basis
1 week before and thereafter 95% of the support needs to be provided by the BW support team
So the BW team needs to be more involved with the BOEx implementation than the Basis

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BO Explorer implementation Checklist for SAP BI

Check 14: What support does BW team need to do of BOEx is through BWA
BW Checks
1. Cubes are cleaned for BOEx
2. Cubes are remodeled for BWA and BOEx
3. Redundant data is identified and cleansed or planned for cleansing

BW Accelerator Checks
The BW team support will consist of (but not limited to)
1. Indexing and re-indexing of Cubes
2. Daily Process chain Check up
3. Daily Roll up comparison of indexed cubes
4. Daily Data Reconciliation between BW and BOEX data
5. ** Ability to forecast BOEX data growth (Tool based)
6. ** Ability to compare BOEX and BW Indexed cubes (Tool based)
7. ** Ability to physically view Indexed data in BOEX (Tool based)
BW Basis Team
1. Monitor Space usage and Alerts

2. ** Forecast when the next blades will be required (tool based)

3. Review Patch and upgrade

BO Explorer Checks
The BW team needs to support

1. Data Roll-up to BOEx checks


The Basis team needs to support

1. BOEx space utilization checks

2. BOEx Space forecasting

BASIC Rule Plan your work and only then work your plan
This will eliminate surprises 2 to 4 weeks after go-live

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BO Explorer implementation Checklist for SAP BI

BOEx Miscellaneous

Other questions
1. What do we need to train BW and Basis on?
2. How do I know if the BOEx data is right or worng?
3. What is the best method to manage BOEx loading process?
4. How does one determine if an InfoCube needs to be re-indexed for BOEx or not?
5. What the new BOEx features that we can plan for from now?
6. What are the new BOEx features we should know?
7. How does one model for BOEx?
8. Where can I get the 2009 Hasso Plattner presentation & speech on BO Explorer? (author)
9. Should I put the entire BW into BOEx, or select InfoCubes?
10. Can I put all of my R/3 into the BOEx?
11. Can I put my Business Objects universe into BOEx? (yes)
12. How do I optimize what cubes go into BOEx?
13. What is the BOEx Go-live Strategy?
14. Can BOEx data get out of sync with BW data (Data Reconciliation)?
15. What do we need to know about BOEx Monitoring?
16. How does BOEx answer question of Calculated Key Figures and Aggregates?
17. How does BOEx react to Custom BW developments?

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BO Explorer implementation Checklist for SAP BI

High level – BO Explorer Architecture & Data Flow

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BO Explorer implementation Checklist for SAP BI

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