With Web Intelligence or Webi, you can query your organization's databases using your everyday business terms using an easy-to-use interface. You can create simple or very complex reports, and share the information you display with colleagues throughout your enterprise.
SAP Webi is designed to provide you and your colleagues quick, easy access to useful information. As part of your job typically involves making data based decisions, you need the right information available at your fingertips to help you make the right decisions.
Webi Intelligence allows you to access, analyze, and share corporate data over both intranets and extranets. It can read data from both relational databases (RDMS) and online analytical processing (OLAP) servers.
You use or access SAP Webi using BusinessObjects portal InfoViews within your internet browser. You also use the mechanism to share documents with others.
Web Intelligence can also be used in offline mode using the Web Intelligence Rich Client, a standalone Microsoft Windows application you must be installed locally on your PC. When working in offline mode using the Rich Client, you can continue to work with Web Intelligence Documents (WIDs).
You also use the Webi Rich Client while connected to the CMS or Central Management Server repository.
SAP Webi needs data in order to display it in a meaningful format to your users. It uses a concept called Universes, which can represent data from business areas such as Finance, Sales, Human Resources, Purchasing, Equipment Maintenance, Project Systems and many others.
Universes are normally created by a universe designer who is deeply knowledgeable of your organization's databases. Using the BusinessObjects Designer, the Universe Designer will create universes and make them available to users as InfoViews, normally within the BusinessObjects portal. When you want to create a Web Intelligence document, you first select a query that interests you.
In order to retrieve new data from your corporate data sources using Webi, you will need to create Web Intelligence documents or edit the query associated with an existing document.
In order to create a new document, you do the following:
Using one of the Web Intelligence query panels, you formulate your business question or query, that will be used to retrieve the information you need.
Once that is done, the query is sent to the Webi Server. The Webi Server then retrieves the data from the target database and stores in a microcube. The contents of this microtube are then formatted and displayed in a Web Intelligence report which can take the form of tables, cross-tab reports and interactive charts for your analysis.
One of the key strengths of SAP Webi is that enables you to work with familiar business terms versus more technical SQL (Structured Query Language) code used to retrieve data from your database.
Using what is known as a semantic layer, it provides a sort of Rosetta stone that translates your business terminology to database terminology.
Like most modern tools, it uses the familiar drop-and-drop technology to select, drag and drop objects to graphically create your queries. These objects, part of the universe, are used to group data into classes, which then are mapped into the Universe Schema, which then allows your system to retrieve data from your database.
Three Types of Objects
Many datasets are far too big to be useful for analytical purposes. In order to restrict the amount of data you get when running a query, you use query filters. For example, if you want only to see this data for this year, versus all years, you apply a filter for the current year.
|Equal to||equal to a value specified||[Country] Equal to Japan retrieves data for Japan country value only|
|Different from||different from a specified value||[Quarter] Different from Q4 retrieves data for all quarters except Q4|
|Greater than||greater than a specified value||[Machine Age] Greater than 10 retrieves data for machine ages over 10|
|Greater than or equal to||greater than or equal to a specified value||[Revenue] Greater than or equal to $100,000 retrieves data for revenue starting from $1000,000 and up.|
|Less than||lower than the specified value||[Flight Test Grade] Less than 95 retrieves data for Flight Test Grades less than 95|
|Less than or equal to||lower or equal to specified value||[Customer Age] Less than or equal to 29 retrieves data for customers age 29 or less|
|Between||between two specified values; also includes value specified||[Weeks] Between 30 and 36 retrieves data for weeks 30 to 36, including week 30 and 36|
|Not Between||outside the range of the values specified||[Weeks] Not Between 30 and 36 retrieves data from weeks of the year excluding week 30 through week 36. Week 30 and 36 are not included.|
|In List||same as values specified||[Country] In list 'US;Japan;UK' retrieves data for countries US, Japan and UK.|
|Not in List||different from multiple values specified||[Country] Not in List 'US;Japan;UK' retrieves data for all countries except US, Japan and the UK.|
|Is null||for which there is no value entered in the database||[Children] Is Null retrieves data for customers without children where Null is entered as a value for the database under the children column|
|Is not null||for which a value was entered in the database||[Children] Is not null retrieves data for customers with children where any value is entered into the database under the children column|
|Matches Pattern||including a specific string||
[Phone] Matches Pattern, '812' retrieves data for all phone numbers that have '812' in them.
[Festivals] Matches Pattern %SWX retrieves data for a festivals ending in SWX
|Different from pattern||doesn't include a specific string||
[Phone] Different from Pattern '812' retrieves all phone numbers that do not have '812' in them.
[Festivals] Different From Pattern %SWX retrieves data for all festivals not ending in SWX.
|Both||corresponds to two specified values||[Account Type] Both *fixed* and *mobile* retrieves data for customers who have both a fixed and mobile phone.|
|Except||corresponds to one specified value and does not correspond to another specified value||[Account Type] *fixed* Except *mobile* retrieves data for customers who have a fixed telephone but don't have a mobile phone.|
You can pre-define queries with predefined query filters, which, in effect, is a a filter of a filter. There are also both Single-Value filters as well as complex filters using logical operators for multiple conditions, using operators such as AND and OR as well as others.
A Web Intelligence Document can consist of one or more of the following components:
As the name implies, the Rich Client provides a full suite of report development capabilities. With you, can create tabbed reports and variety of graphics, both static and interactive. It allows you to prepare drill-down reports. You can also segment your reports and add more contextually relevant information by inserting free-standing cells and by using other segmentation techniques.
Breaks allow you to structure long tables of data into smaller, more digestible chunks of information, such as in units of time:
Calculations allow you to summarize large volumes of data, such as Sales Transaction data, to uncover the totals, trends and meanings.
In order to format a report in Web Intelligence, you use the properties manager, which allows you format all elements in a document.
You can format:
You can also format a report for PDF output or printing. In addition, you can format documents for improved mobile device viewing.
By designing and using formulas, you can display information that you cannot retrieve by using the existing database objects in the universe.
Formulas can consist of data objects, functions, operators and calculation contexts. Although you can create formulas directly in a report cell, it is usually better to save a formula as a variable. This provides for a higher degree of reuse across all reports.
What is a variable and how do you use in the context of formulas? A variable is a formula you save with a name and, based on the formula, a qualification is assigned to it. It then is shown in the Report Manager and is available like any other object.
Webi allows you to combine data from different Universes into a single document. You can combine one or more queries in an InfoView in a single Web Intelligence document.
By combining data within your corporate database with data from 3rd parties or from your own sources, you can significantly enhance the utility of your data.
By combining multiple Universes into different blocks and using data synchronization, you can merge data into one common dimension. You can also use a single query to project data in multiple blocks. By combining two queries, you can project into multiple blocks as well. It also possible to merge dimensions into a single block which then needs to be synchronized in order to be used successfully in a report.
It's a virtual certainty that high-level summarized data will need to explored by drilling down into it. You do this identify both the trends and reasons for what you're seeing. In order for you to be able to drill down on a web intelligence document, drill mode has to be enabled.
What is meant by 'Scope of Analysis'? Scope of Analysis for a query is extra data you can retrieve from the database to provide more details about the data returned by each of the objects in a query. This extra data does not appear in your initial document results, but it is and remains available in the the data provider. You can drill down into the report at any time (providing drill mode is enabled) and retrieve additional richer details about the objects you are analyzing. Within BusinessObjects Universes, the scope of analysis corresponds to the hierarchical levels below the object selected for a query.
You can establish the scope of analysis level when you build a query. When you do this, it allows objects lower down the hierarchy to be included in the query. They will initially not appear in the Results Objects, even though they are available to the user.
Query Drill Mode behaves differently than standard drill down mode. You use query drill when a report contains aggregate measures calculated at the database level. In this way, it leverages the database capabilities for greater performance and at the same time, provides for queries that Web Intelligence does not support at the drill down session.
Query drill down is also very useful for reducing the amount of data that Web Intelligence must store locally during a drill session. It does this by reducing the scope of analysis when you drill up and by purging unnecessary data. Many aggregate functions also cannot be accurately performed by Web Intelligence in it is therefore better to use the database capability
In order to share a Webi Document you have created with the Web Intelligence Rich Client, you must first export to the CMS or Central Management Server.
The CMS allows you to create complex folder structures to store and share your documents. Folders can be public or private and can use categories for further eas of use. You can export a document to the CMS with or without saving it locally.
You can share Webi documents with InfoView users by sending documents directly to their InfoView Inbox folder. You can also just save a document as a public document in your corporate repository if you're authorized. If someone you want to share a report with is not an InfoView user, you can still share them via Excel or Adobe PDF us Acrobat Reader. In addition, you can 'schedule' a document to run on a fixed time basis. This might be useful for example, to see weekly sales reports.
Web Intelligence has at least four different interfaces that Report Designers can use to create queries and reports:
Successful Webi Projects need, like all reporting projects:
Determining your SAP WEBI reporting requirements involve defining (WHW):
We call this the WHW model. This is a handy short-cut to determining the critical few KPIs vs the trivial many.
Your requirements will also dictate what data has to be populated in your universes or whichever data provider you are using.
You should always start your design process with your users by wire-framing. The best and cheapest way to do that is with a good old pencil and paper. Yes, there are fairly well established interaction models you should use and skilled Webi Consultants will know and use the best ones.
End users need to be involved every step of the way. Even better if the design team can interact with the users in their day-to-day environment, on the shop floor or in their office. What people say they need is often far different than what you find out from good user research.
Many wire-framing tools exist, and many more will be released to the market. Most are reasonably priced while others are enterprise class tools with prices to match. It takes skill both with the tool, user requirements gathering, a bit of artistry and leadership to develop models that users will accept.
Designing your universes must be done with great care. You have to balance the need to get all of the right information into your cube while keeping out the unnecessary.
Proper Universe Design requires advanced data modeling skills coupled with deep business knowledge of a particular clients business processes.
In order to achieve a high level of user acceptance, it is necessary to design dashboards that truly help them do their jobs. Keeping it simple is a good design paradigm, while it may be necessary in some areas for some level of complexity.
Training. Then more training. Ensure the data the system is producing is both useful and meets the user requirements - but no more. Change is hard and takes time. But it can be done.
It is unlikely that the requirements your users have today will be the same as they have tomorrow. The business will change, the environment will change, the people will change. The technology will also change as will user expectations. Webi reports should support the user in whatever job they're doing. Once you're live with your first Webi report project, you will probably have a whole list of parked requirements.
It is time then, to prioritize the next batch of requirements. You become a digitally driven company by continuously learning and improving your use of the tools, like Webi.