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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. What We’ll Cover …. Background, terminology, and examples Tool options What makes a good cockpit? Which tool is right for me?

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Dr. Bjarne Berg


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    1. Building cockpits anddashboards: Shortcuts,design best practices, andguidelines to ensure you pickthe right SAP NetWeaver BItool for the job Dr. Bjarne Berg

    2. What We’ll Cover … • Background, terminology, and examples • Tool options • What makes a good cockpit? • Which tool is right for me? • Wrap-up

    3. Background and Terminology 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 Bjarne Berg 2008 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.

    4. Typical Components of a Cockpit: SEM Example • Higher-level navigation between views • External data • Graphical displays Comparative/ benchmarking Logical grouping of similar information

    5. SEM Management Cockpit Customized navigation menus and buttons Illustrate best practices, benchmarks, or target performance

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

    7. What We’ll Cover … • Background, terminology, and examples • Tool options • What makes a good cockpit? • Which tool is right for me? • Wrap-up

    8. 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

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

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

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

    12. Rules for Graphs and Real Estate • Try to avoid empty spaces, but don’t force unrelated measures into the cockpit — it confuses users • Don’t use as many types of graphs as possible, and never mix more than 3 types of graphs. If you use more, users have to interpret the pictures as well as the data. • Missing data points add irritation

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

    14. 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

    15. Cockpits with Web AD 3.x and SAP NetWeaver 7.0 • Web Application Designer can create Web-based cockpits using BW query data

    16. Cockpits with SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Web AD • New items include improved tab strip container in SAP NetWeaver 7.0 for designing BI Web applications • Reduces the amount of custom coding required with the help of Command wizards, Auto complete, and support for HTML tags

    17. SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Web AD New Features • Web Items: Tab Pages, Button, Script Item (SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Support Package Stack 7) • Drag and drop using Analysis item • New chart types (heat map, Gantt, milestone trend analysis) • Export BI Web applications in PDF format • Command Wizard for generating Web API commands • Integration with SAP NetWeaver 7.0 BEx Report Designer for formatted reports

    18. BI Web API Commands • You can use BI Web API commands for carrying out certain actions in BI Web Applications • Export to Excel, PDF, etc. • OLAP functions: Apply Filter values, 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, include many data sources, and be very flexible

    19. 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 standard JavaScript

    20. 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

    21. 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

    22. Broadcast Cockpit Views Using Web AD • In SAP NetWeaver 7.0, use Information Broadcaster to broadcast BI Web applications (e.g., cockpit views) to Enterprise Portal KM folders and via email in various formats (PDF, MHTML, HTML) • Information Broadcaster/Reporting Agent (SAP BW 3.x) can precalculate BI Web applications to enhance performance

    23. 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

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

    25. 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.e. controllers, report writers, analysts). No coding required to create great-looking Web-based cockpits Take advantage of prebuilt analytic business packages Source: SAP

    26. 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. It offers the integration with BI InfoProviders, views, BEx web applications, 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

    27. 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, favorites, and roles

    28. Visual Composer Data Methods • Can integrate data from multiple data sources, including SAP and non-SAP systems, 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 3.5 Support Package 14) • SAP NetWeaver BI 7.0 • JDBC • XMLA

    29. 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), it can take quite some time to execute them if the memory cache is not used consistently

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

    31. 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

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

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

    34. SAP NetWeaver 7.0 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, roles, etc.

    35. 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. Start with logical groupings of items (sales, finance, e.g.) 2. Limit colors to complementary formats (we will look at these later) 3. Share the same navigation menus and tabs as the portal 4. Avoid running text, flashes, animations, layering and scrolling text (this is an absolute no-no)

    36. 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

    37. 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 provides access to relational and OLAP data sources using JDBC, XMLA, ODBO etc. • Access to 200+ data sources using the JDBC drivers. 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, 2005

    38. 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 Interested developers should familiarize themselves with SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio

    39. 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

    40. Third-Party Cockpits • Some best-of-breed cockpit tools incorporate SAP BI as part of a Web item provider, 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

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

    42. What We’ll Cover … • Background, terminology, and examples • Tool options • What makes a good cockpit? • Which tool is right for me? • Wrap-up

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

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

    45. The Need for Speed • When cockpits bring together data from many sources during runtime, it can be slow and cumbersome • This is because when your system accesses the portal cockpit, it may have to execute supporting cockpit queries • Solution: You can present static images (i.e., static HTML from BEx Broadcaster into a portal iView) or you can cache queries results by using BEx Broadcaster in SAP NetWeaver 7.0

    46. The Need for Speed (cont.) • SAP NetWeaver 7.0 allows you to fill the resident memory of your server with pre-run results (cache). This provides faster response to the users, since the query result sets are accessed from memory instead of re-executed on the database side. SAP BW 3.5 SAP NetWeaver 7.0 IMPORTANT: Old Reporting Agent scenarios still run in SAP NetWeaver 7.0. However, Reporting Agent will not be developed further and is removed from SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Workbench. In SAP NetWeaver BI 7.0 you can only reach it by transaction code REPORTING_AGENT

    47. The Need for Speed - BI Accelerator SAP BW Any tool The SAP BI Accelerator makes query response time 50-10,000 faster. You use process chains to maintain the HPA engine after each data load HP, Sun and IBM have standard solutions ranging from $32K to $250K+ that can be installed and tested in as little as 2-4 weeks (+ SAP license fees) Breaking news: 32 Gb Blades are now certified by SAP (July 2008)

    48. What We’ll Cover … • Background, terminology, and examples • Tool options • What makes a good cockpit? • Which tool is right for me? • Wrap-up

    49. What SAP Tool Should I Use? There are many options and sometimes the choice is based on what you are familiar with and whether you enjoy using new tools

    50. New Tools Roadmap Source SAP AG, June 2008