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Building cockpits and dashboards: Shortcuts, design best practices, and guidelines to ensure you pick the right

SAP NetWeaver BI tool for the job Dr. Bjarne Berg
© 2008 Wellesley Information Services. All rights reserved.

What We·ll Cover «
‡ Background, terminology, and examples ‡ Tool options ‡ What makes a good cockpit? ‡ Which tool is right for me? ‡ Wrap-up


Background and Terminology
Dashboard Scorecard Displays progress Performance management Monthly snapshots Summaries KPIs Targets and thresholds Linked to plans Cockpits Displays status and events Performance management Daily snapshots Summaries and events Metrics & KPIs Trends Linked to BI systems
Sources: Wayne Eckerson, 2005; Bjarne Berg 2006 2008

Purpose Usage Updates Data Measures Context Source

Displays performance Performance monitoring Real-time feeds Events Metrics Exceptions/alerts Linked to systems

Many companies and people confuse the concepts of dashboards, scorecards, and cockpits. They vary in terms of purpose, usage, source, data, etc. Most BI systems fall in to the cockpits category
These are typical parameters, and some may be slightly different (e.g., some metrics in a cockpit may only be updated monthly). However, such deviations should be exceptions.


Typical Components of a Cockpit: SEM Example
‡ Higher-

level navigation between views
‡ External

‡ Graphical

Comparative/ benchmarking Logical grouping of similar information

SEM Management Cockpit

Customized navigation menus and buttons

Illustrate best practices, benchmarks, or target performance


2005 5 .Navigations Linked to Multiple Views Central navigation can change multiple views Link more documentation Make multiple measures available Source: SAP AG.

and examples ‡ Tool options ‡ What makes a good cockpit? ‡ Which tool is right for me? ‡ Wrap-up 6 .What We·ll Cover « ‡ Background. terminology.

Tool Options ‡ SEM CPM ‡ Web Application Designer (Web AD) ‡ SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer ‡ Publishing to the portal ‡ Custom cockpits (BI Java SDK) ‡ Third-party cockpits 7 .

consists of frames Lowest level of individual measure display These presentation layer objects are already Webenabled and integrated with the Portal. They also provide built-in drill-downs and navigation. based on how you constructed your measures. 8 .Strategy Management and Performance Measurement ² CPM The presentation layer in SAP Management cockpits has four layers: ‡Cockpit ‡Wall ‡Logical view ‡Frame High-level overview (consists of walls) A logical grouping of measures The display level of the cockpit.

Delivery of business content The Strategy Management consists also of four areas 1. Balanced Scorecard 2. Value Driver Tree 4.What is SEM ² CPM? The Corporate Performance Monitor (SEM-CPM) is part of the Strategic Enterprise Management BI tool suite. Management Cockpit 2. 2006 9 . Measure Builder 3. It consists of the Performance Measurement (PM) area and the Strategy management area (SM). Strategy modeling 3. The Performance Management area consists of four distinct areas: 1. Risk Management Strategy Measure Value Driver Tree Objective Risk Initiative Source: J. Lombard. Benchmarking 4.

This is true for hearing. Read more about the cognitive revolution and the article that started it all: Newell and Simon ³The magic number 7´ (1956) 10 .SEM ² CPM Walls Walls are the highest level of the SEM-CPM Cockpit. feeling and smelling. seeing. Research has shown that more than 7 walls are hard to read and comprehend. Major consideration!! Humans have a hard time remembering. and retain information that is asymmetrical. 5 or 7. organizing. tasting. Ideal numbers are 3.

If you use more.Rules for Graphs and Real Estate ‡ Try to avoid empty spaces. but don·t force unrelated measures into the cockpit ³ it confuses users ‡ Don·t use as many types of graphs as possible. ‡ Missing data points add irritation 11 . and never mix more than 3 types of graphs. users have to interpret the pictures as well as the data.

.SEM-CPM Rules for Graphs and Real Estate (cont.) There is nothing wrong with using the same type of graphs on a cockpit (e. Users adapt quickly and can absorb the information faster.g. 12 . tachometers or line charts).

Tool Options ‡ SEM CPM ‡ Web Application Designer (Web AD) ‡ SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer ‡ Publishing to the portal ‡ Custom cockpits (BI Java SDK) ‡ Third-party cockpits 13 .

0 ‡ Web Application Designer can create Web-based cockpits using BW query data 14 .Cockpits with Web AD 3.x and SAP NetWeaver 7.

0 Web AD ‡ New items include improved tab strip container in SAP NetWeaver 7. Auto complete. and support for HTML tags 15 .0 for designing BI Web applications ‡ Reduces the amount of custom coding required with the help of Command wizards.Cockpits with SAP NetWeaver 7.

0 BEx Report Designer for formatted reports 16 . Script Item (SAP NetWeaver 7. Button. Gantt.0 Web AD New Features ‡ Web Items: Tab Pages.0 ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Support Package Stack 7) Drag and drop using Analysis item New chart types (heat map.SAP NetWeaver 7. milestone trend analysis) Export BI Web applications in PDF format Command Wizard for generating Web API commands Integration with SAP NetWeaver 7.

etc.  OLAP functions: Apply Filter values. PDF. include many data sources. and be very flexible 17 . remove drill downs ‡ Command Wizards guide you through the steps for creating a BI Web API command ‡ Commands appear together for easy access  Data Provider  Web Items  Web Templates Web cockpits developed by Web AD in SAP NetWeaver 7.0 can be interactive.BI Web API Commands ‡ You can use BI Web API commands for carrying out certain actions in BI Web Applications  Export to Excel.

Command Wizard and JavaScript ‡ Use Command Wizard for generating JavaScript code for the Script Item to use in custom cockpit applications This is a great feature for building custom features into your cockpits based on 18 standard JavaScript .

More New Cockpit Options ‡ Personalize BI query variables ‡ Bookmark the navigational state of the BI Web application ‡ Perform multidimensional analysis of BI query data ‡ Allow users to create exceptions and conditions for BI query data These features make it easier to customize the dataset that queries return to the Web cockpit 19 .

Web AD Cockpits in SAP Enterprise Portal Directly publish BI Web cockpits to Portal Content Catalog using the Publish option from Web AD Portal and BI system connection should be set up per SAP Note 917950 20 .

.0.Broadcast Cockpit Views Using Web AD ‡ In SAP NetWeaver 7.x) can precalculate BI Web applications to enhance performance 21 . HTML) ‡ Information Broadcaster/Reporting Agent (SAP BW 3.g. use Information Broadcaster to broadcast BI Web applications (e. MHTML. cockpit views) to Enterprise Portal KM folders and via email in various formats (PDF.

Tool Options ‡ SEM CPM ‡ Web Application Designer (Web AD) ‡ SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer ‡ Publishing to the portal ‡ Custom cockpits (BI Java SDK) ‡ Third-party cockpits 22 .

It is a browser-based modeling and design tool for rapid application development & prototyping in a code-free development environment. 23 .Visual Composer A Visual Composer is a tool to visualize the data.

e. No coding required to create great-looking Web-based cockpits Take advantage of prebuilt analytic business packages 24 Source: SAP .Visual Composer is Easy for Power Users to Learn Visual Composer is a power user tool that is simple to learn for someone with a little bit of technical background (i. report writers. analysts). controllers.

PDF and more via WEB API as access to other data sources such as OLAP and relational data sources) via Java connectors Image source: Cubeserv 25 . views. It offers the integration with BI InfoProviders.Visual Composer for Complex cockpits Modeling of BI applications using the BI kit of the Visual Composer allows business users to create analytical content for SAP portal. BEx web applications.

favorites.SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer DataProviders ‡ You can use BI queries and views as DataProviders for SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer models ‡ You also can use BI query functionalities for exceptions and variables along with SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer models ‡ SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer allows access to BI history. and roles 26 .

0  JDBC  XMLA 27 .Visual Composer Data Methods ‡ Can integrate data from multiple data sources. into one model ‡ Different options available for data access include:  BI Extension Kit  Remote Function Call (RFC)  Web services ‡ BI Extension Kit allows access to the following DataSources  SAP NetWeaver 2004 BI (BW 3. including SAP and non-SAP systems.5 Support Package 14)  SAP NetWeaver BI 7.

it can take quite some time to execute them if the memory cache is not used consistently 28 .Details about Visual Composer Cockpits ‡Delivered as part of Enterprise Portal in SAP NetWeaver BI 7.0 Usage Type (SPS8 and higher) ‡Different options available for rendering Visual Composer output Flash Web Dynpro (HTML) ‡Flash provides high-end visualization of Visual Composer models Since a cockpit may have many different DataSources (queries).

29 .The future of Visual Composer Source: SAP. 2008: Composition Environment including Visual Composer continues to be the go-to product for creating composite applications. July 2008 SAP July.

Tool Options ‡ SEM CPM ‡ Web Application Designer (Web AD) ‡ SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer ‡ Publishing to the portal ‡ Custom cockpits (BI Java SDK) ‡ Third-party cockpits 30 .

broadcasting. or Web calls Publishing The portal can either receive designed pages passively or actively create communities. or cockpits Broadcasting 31 . Web pages. collaboration rooms.Web Cockpit in the Portal Integrate queries and Web applications into the portal through publishing.

tables) ‡ iViews can also be interactive 32 . pictures.) ‡ The SEM-CPM cockpits are already part of the portal. BW. so you can access them there ‡ iViews can build custom portal cockpits with iViews from many data sources (Web AD. figures. SEM. SAP R/3. Web) and in many formats (graphs.Web Cockpit in the Portal (cont.

etc. 33 .0 Visual Composer Portal Publishing ‡ SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer Design time deploys Visual Composer models directly as iViews to Portal Content Catalog ‡ You can then use Visual Composer iViews in portal pages.SAP NetWeaver 7. roles.

Share the same navigation menus and tabs as the portal 4. Avoid running text. e. Start with logical groupings of items (sales.) 2. flashes. animations. layering and scrolling text (this is an absolute no-no) 34 . finance. Limit colors to complementary formats (we will look at these later) 3.g.Building a Web Cockpit in the Portal The trick in developing custom Web cockpits in the portal is to manage the real estate carefully Most pure iView-based cockpits are cluttered and hard to read and navigate 1.

Tool Options ‡ SEM CPM ‡ Web Application Designer (Web AD) ‡ SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer ‡ Publishing to the portal ‡ Custom cockpits (BI Java SDK) ‡ Third-party cockpits 35 .

Java programmers will recognize the Software Development Kit (SDK) main libraries such as the abstract windowing toolkit (AWT) and the GUI-oriented Swing object library as well Source: SAP AG. ODBO etc. ‡ Access to 200+ data sources using the JDBC drivers. XMLA. 2005 36 . ‡ BI Java SDK provides access to relational and OLAP data sources using JDBC.BI Java SDK-Based Cockpits ‡ BI Java SDK can be used for custom applications based on SAP BI and non-SAP data.

BI Java SDK-Based Cockpits (cont.) ‡ SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio can develop BI Java SDK-based applications ‡ Can use along with SAP Java Web Dynpro Tip Interested developers should familiarize themselves with SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio 37 .

Tool Options ‡ SEM CPM ‡ Web Application Designer (Web AD) ‡ SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer ‡ Publishing to the portal ‡ Custom cockpits (BI Java SDK) ‡ Third-party cockpits 38 .

or more commonly through BW queries fed by BAPIs or OLE DB for OLAP (ODBO) in BW ‡ Some even provide separate Multidimensional Online Analytical Processing (MOLAP) solutions tightly connected to SAP BW  Hint: reading RS_ tables inside BW Cognos Microsoft 39 .Third-Party Cockpits ‡ Some best-of-breed cockpit tools incorporate SAP BI as part of a Web item provider.

) ‡ Other BI and cockpit companies. such as Corda.Third-Party Cockpits (cont. are actively working on creating cockpit tools for SAP NetWeaver BI 40 .

and examples ‡ Tool options ‡ What makes a good cockpit? ‡ Which tool is right for me? ‡ Wrap-up 41 .What We·ll Cover « ‡ Background. terminology.

You can build war rooms for collaborative decision making using cockpits 4.War Rooms and External Access 1. Vendors and customers love it! 3. Note It is tempting to jump straight to the cockpit development. Cockpits require a true BI infrastructure. 42 . Shared cockpits are most useful 2. but it is almost impossible without a well-architected BW system to support it. External access to information is more common.

very random pages. Segment 1: Trackers . but long duration per page view. Paul Strupp. Segment 6: Wanderers .3% Low duration per page view. Therefore. Rarely reach transaction areas. You should use BI queries and OLAP for the other segments. Segment 2: Reservers . simple. but highly informative.15% Very few. Sun Microsystems Note The average manager navigates in no more than 7 dimensions and only 2 levels deep (49 views). 43 . Segment 3: Uncommitted . The other user community is best served by OLAP queries.Characterized by low duration overall. Segment 5: Single-clickers . Segment 4: Info Gatherers .10% Characterized by long duration. Complex decisions. Example source: Dr.37% Tracking . the majority of users of cockpits need a few.4% Concentrated in information areas. views.32% Visit homepage only.A Good Cockpit Is Simple The majority of usage of cockpits is in user segments 1 and 5. Few hits.

it can be slow and cumbersome  This is because when your system accesses the portal cockpit.0 44 .e..The Need for Speed ‡ When cockpits bring together data from many sources during runtime. it may have to execute supporting cockpit queries ‡ Solution: You can present static images (i. static HTML from BEx Broadcaster into a portal iView) or you can cache queries results by using BEx Broadcaster in SAP NetWeaver 7.

The Need for Speed (cont.0.0 allows you to fill the resident memory of your server with pre-run results (cache). This provides faster response to the users.0 IMPORTANT: Old Reporting Agent scenarios still run in SAP NetWeaver 7. since the query result sets are accessed from memory instead of re-executed on the database side. In SAP NetWeaver BI 7. Reporting Agent will not be developed further and is removed from SAP NetWeaver 7. SAP BW 3.) ‡ SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Workbench.5 SAP NetWeaver 7.0 you can only reach it by transaction code REPORTING_AGENT 45 . However.

000 faster. Sun and IBM hav standard solutions ranging from $32K to $250K+ that can b install d and t st d in as littl as 2-4 w ks (+ SAP lic ns f s) Breaking news: 32 Gb Blades are now certified by SAP (July 2008) 46 .BI Accelerator SAP BW Any tool The SAP BI Accelerator makes query response time 50-10. You use process chains to maintain the HPA engine after each data load HP.The Need for Speed .

What We·ll Cover « ‡ Background. terminology. and examples ‡ Tool options ‡ What makes a good cockpit? ‡ Which tool is right for me? ‡ Wrap-up 47 .

What SAP Tool Should I Use? SAP NetWeaver 2004s Web AD SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer SAP SEMCPM Thirdparty cockpits BW 3.x Web AD Multidimensional Analysis (full) Portal integration Information Broadcaster Formatted reporting Graphical options (delivered) Automatic code generation SAP integration Direct support for non-BW data Simplicity to use and learn Java SDK tools Portal iViews - - - 48 - - There are many options and sometimes the choice is based on what you are familiar with and whether you enjoy using new tools .

New Tools Roadmap Source SAP AG. June 2008 49 .

1 in 2008. ‡ Xcelsius+ will be launched in 2009. This tool can be integrated into your tool portfolio using existing SAP NetWeaver BI queries (NOTE: Crystal & Crystal Light will be the core tools for formatted reports starting 2010) Source SAP AG. June 2008 50 .BOBJ capabilities ² Dashboards and Reports ‡ Dashboards can be built using Xcelsius. and will be ³the flagship product for data visualization & dashboards´ ‡ BEx Web Application Designer will not be enhanced further beyond Release NW 7. Crystal Reports for pixel formatted reports has been available with SAP BI/BW since 2002.

and examples ‡ Tool options ‡ What makes a good cockpit? ‡ Which tool is right for me? ‡ Wrap-up 51 . terminology.What We·ll Cover « ‡ Background.

htm ‡ SDN BW How to Guides . SAP January 2006 issue f* Requires access to credentials to view full article text 52 .How to integrate Visual Composer Applications and BEx Web Templates 0000000a114084/content.htm ‡ SAP Online Help BW and EP Integration  http://help. Visual d/ad182ac7-0a01-0010-4fb8-8a4d217b19c1 ‡ BW Expert (www.lrc.Resources ‡ COMERIT (Presentations. Articles and Accellerators) f* f´Create Unparalleled Analytical Applications with SAP NetWeaver BI. and Macromedia Flexµ by Moya Watson and Judy Kestecher.

7 Key Points to Take Home ‡ There are many ways to build Web cockpits and SAP has ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ tools for them all Look at in-house Web skills before you decide on the tool SAP Performance Management is a great tool for those with limited Web skills. but requires consistency in performance measures (roll-ups) and structured navigation SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer is great for complex graphing Web AD is the tool of choice by experienced Web programmers who want total design freedom 53 .

and consistency that is going to determine if your cockpit is successful: Spend serious time designing instead of coding! 54 . it is the use of the real estate. colors.g. e.7 Key Points to Take Home ‡ Third-party tools for Web cockpits are emerging and some are quite advanced (Cognos. graphs.) ‡ While all these tools gives you a great deal of flexibility.

Bjarne Berg bberg@comerit.Your Turn! How to contact me: .