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Connecting SAP BusinessObjects Cloud to SAP BW

Emily Kucukalic Wednesday, March 29, 2017 Blog
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By Andrew Rankin

Connectivity is bound to be one of the most important requirements for SAP BusinessObjects Cloud (BOC) to be a successful product. We have to be able to get our data from real systems – it can’t just be from manual uploads! With a keen interest in SAP BW, I wanted to test out whether we could successfully bring data from our on-premise BW system into BOC, what would be involved and how well it would work.

After starting to read up, the first realisation was that to get BOC connected to any on-premise systems there is a little bit of pre-work to do! I’ll go through the very basics of this initial configuration and then show how we created a BOC model from an on-premise BW source system. The type of connection I am using here is one which involves a data import from BW to BOC – the data isn’t live in this scenario but we can refresh it later if required.

Connecting BOC to on-premise: There are a series of prerequisites and steps to get this in place but the good news was that once it was working I could potentially connect BOC to any of our compatible on-premise systems.

The first prerequisite was to have an on-premise server running Apache Tomcat 7.0 on which to set up the SAP HANA Cloud Connector. In our case we already had a server running Tomcat for BusinessObjects Platform – so for testing purposes, we could also use it for the SAP HANA Cloud Connector. In real life, you may want to set up a separate little server for this purpose.

This great blog helped at the time to understand all the steps – which were followed with success. In summary – I had to download, install and configure the following components on our on-premise Tomcat server:

  • SAP HANA Cloud Connector – which also requires:
  • SAP Cloud Agent
  • SAP JCo Connector

I then needed admin access to configure our SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) account to get secure access between the on-premise Cloud Connector and BOC. There were some final system settings to nominate in BOC which completed the on-premise connectivity configuration. We could now potentially connect to any of our on-premise SAP systems.

Creating a new BW Connection: With all the base config done, the next step was to create a connection to specifically map to our on-premise BW system. In a more realistic case, this would, of course, be a BW production system! Note that I had to nominate a fixed user and password to set this up… so there is potential to control security through that user.

Creating a Model: When I then went to create a new model based on BW data, as expected there was an option to connect to our on-premise BW system. But what I had to actually use to define the model was a BW Bex Query – so I created a new BOC query that is based on an existing on-premise BW Bex query.

While defining the BOC Query I had the opportunity to filter the Bex query data set by nominating any query variable (prompt) values and selecting the particular dimensions and measures that I wanted to include in the data set. After that, the data provided by the Bex query was imported and a new model was created with all of the data ready to go. Before finalising there is one last chance to do any further manipulation and then it’s done.

What Next? BOC has generated my new model, filled with data from the Bex query using the filters and selected dimensions & measures from the on-premise BW Bex query. The information now lives in our BOC tenant. As with any model, I could continue to further manipulate it and then create Stories.

Some time later we may find that the data in the model is out of date… so we can refresh it! There are various options including a manual replacement of all data or just append new data and if desired you can schedule this to automatically repeat on a regular basis.

Other Connections: The SAP BusinessObjects Cloud product keeps improving! In the past few releases, there have been several new connectors added to the list. Keep in mind there are 2 main types of connections to BOC:

new connectors added to the list. Keep in mind there are 2 main types of connections to BOC:

  • ‘Import Data’ Connection: As in the example provided above, this type of connection is going to allow you to import data from somewhere else with an initial model generation and load. Some of these are on-premise, others are cloud products.
  • ‘Live Data’ Connection: This type of connection is going to allow you to directly connect to data in another system and display results directly through a BOC model. Your subsequent reports will be displaying results live from your source system.

At the time of writing, we are on version 2017.04.0 and there are several different connectivity options – no doubt this list will grow with more options in the near future… which is one of the defining features of this product! Here is a list of what is currently available:

Import Data Connections:

  • SAP BW System
  • SAP BPC System
  • BO Universe
  • SAP ERP System
  • SQL Database
  • SuccessFactors
  • OData Services
  • SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer
  • SAP Business ByDesign Analytics
  • Concur
  • Salesforce
  • Fieldglass

Live Connections:

  • SAP BW

The SAP BW Live Connector is brand new!

Summary: The experience of setting up the connectivity between BOC and on-premise went well but understandably it took a bit of time! First I needed to understand and set up all the components and then go through all the steps (which included needing some help from SAP as a couple of problems came up). But it did eventually all make sense and more importantly, it worked! Also, remember this is a one-off exercise – from here on we can easily get data from any suitable on-premise SAP system.

It was pretty simple to create a BW model from a BW Bex Query and upload data and refresh it. I can imagine a key user in a business would be pretty happy to take things from there to work with the data and BOC tools to create insights or further develop pages for the Digital Boardroom.

For more information contact Andrew Rankin

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