Thursday, December 27, 2007

year 2007: SAP flashback

To make a recapitulation of what year 2007 has brought for SAP world; what were main events, products, acquisitions, trails, resigns… happened in there. Site offers this view in two articles:

What to add from my perspective? I would like to stress out work what SAP is doing for community of SAP people. Nowadays SDN has evolved in great site to serve entire SAP world with splendid tools where everybody can not even find something useful but to contribute to this world in variety of possibilities. Some news about SDN can be found here.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

SAP TechEd 2007 videos

Here I have collected a few videos from SAP TechEd 2007:

SAP TechEd 2007 in Munich:

Enjoy :O)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

SAP community networks got over 1 mil members

On December the 10th 2007 both SAP’s community networks including SDN and BPX got over 1 millions members. SAP launched SDN in 2003 and till now it becomes important resource for all SAP people and significant part of SAP ecosystem. Communities are spreading fast in they continue to introduce new interesting programs as recently SDN Mentorship program and SDN NetWeaver Subscriptions program.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

SAP NW 2004s ABAP miniSAP, part 2 – BW customization

You have successfully installed miniSAP according guide and you got stuck because of fact that in default client 000 it is not possible to use BW functionality of miniSAP this version. In order to use BW you have to do follosing few steps.

Creation of new client: Login to client 000 with DDIC/minisap credentials and run TA SCC4. Switch to change mode by clicking on (CTRL+F4) and hit New entries button. Fill up following screen like following: e.g. client: 100.

Maintain parameter in login/system_client = your client in the instance profile or
DEFAULT.PFL as as logon client (e.g. login/system_client = 100).

Then restart SAP. Note by restart of SAP I mean restart SAP instance via SAP management console not just restart SAP GUI.

Copy new client: Login to newly created client e.g. 100 with SAP*/pass and run TA SCCL (Local Copy). Fill up field Source client with value 000; Selected Profile with value SAP_ALL and Source Client User Masters with value 000 then hit icon Start immediately. After accepting some popups you will get copying in progress status. It activity will take a while approximately 15 minutes depends on you hardware resources.

Create new user in new client: Stay in newly created client e.g. 100 with SAP*/pass and run TA SU01. Fill up some user name that you want to create in field User. Select Create icon, choose password for user etc… and Save it.

Login to new client with your new account and enjoy BW, e.g. run TA RSA1.

Logical system creation: Once you started TA RSA1 system prompts you for logical system name, here choose Create. You will get new screen in which click on New entry and enter e.g. NSP100 in field Log.System and e.g. NSP clnt 100 into field Name. Save your entry and assign some new transport request to store changes to be tracked for future transport. Then go back via F3 key or green arrow. You are back on popup where you are supposed to assign logical system. Here choose Assign button and you going to TA SCC4; double click on your new client and put your newly created logical system to field Logical system. Save it and go back via F3 or green arrow.

Replication of metadata: System shows you another popup window with question whether you like to replicate metadata; take button Replicate as well.

And… vous le vous… that’s it, you can play with BW.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

SAP NetWeaver 7.1

SAP’s technical foundations of its solution – NetWeaver is reaching next evolution cycle. Components like application server, mobile solutions, exchange infrastructure, collaboration, enterprise portal, business intelligence, knowledge management, business process management and master data management are creating a platform on which top SAP software sits. Since NW 04 (2004) was basically integration platform: unified Web Application Server (WAS), web services, enterprise services, XI, BI and MDM; NW 05 (2004s) is about composite platform: SAP composite apps – xApps; NW06 (NW 7.1) is/will be about business process platform: BPM, modeling tools.

Three main parts are added to NW 7.1 surrounded business process platform: Composition Environment (CE), Enterprise Services Repository (ESR) and NetWeaver Process Integration (PI).

Composite applications (composites) are functioning service-enabled interfaces to existing backend systems. NW 7.1 is coming with tools to develop, run, and manage composite applications using SAP's enterprise SOA. This is based on enhanced technologies like:

  • SAP NetWeaver Application Server for Java
  • Web Dynpro
  • SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio for service creation and provisioning
  • Service Registry and repository for service management
  • Guided Procedures for process modeling
  • SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer for UI modeling
  • SAP Composite Application Framework for Java business object modeling and service abstraction

Enterprise Services Repository is SAP’s web services repository.

NetWeaver Process Integration (NWPI) is next generation of SAP Exchange infrastructure (XI) kind of integration hub; handling integration between SAP/non-SAP applications.

See online documentation of NW 7.1 for details.

What is coming as next? Of course NetWeaver 7.2 :o)

Monday, December 3, 2007

SAP NetWeaver (NW)

What is SAP NetWeaver? It very much utilized buzz word used everywhere. Let’s summarize what is it according magazine:

SAP NetWeaver, the next evolution of mySAP Technology integrates information and business processes across technologies and organizations. What's more, SAP NetWeaver embraces Internet standards such as HTTP, XML, and Web services. Ensuring openness and interoperability with Microsoft .NET and J2EE — IBM WebSphere in particular, SAP NetWeaver is the foundation of SAP xApps and mySAP Business Suite solutions.

SAP NetWeaver – Application Server (WAS)

SAP NetWeaver Application Server (SAP NetWeaver AS) offers customers support for platform-independent Web services, business applications, and standards-based developments based upon key technologies like Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and SAP’s ABAP development platform. It also supports multichannel access to enterprise applications with Web-based, voice-controlled, or mobile applications. SAP NetWeaver AS supports security standards for the Internet, including HTTPS, secure sockets layer (SSL), and lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP). This support enables secure communication between all client and server components, authentication and single sign-on, central user management, digital certificates, digital signatures, and auditing.

SAP NetWeaver – Business Intelligence (BI)

SAP Business Intelligence (SAP BI) enables total insight into the enterprise, providing the tools needed to make the right decisions, optimize workflows and measure the success of a strategic approach. It allows you to efficiently collate data from all enterprise sources and analyze it in detail, monitor success-critical factors using external and internal benchmarks, promptly report the most important KPIs to all the relevant contacts in the enterprise and the extended network of affiliates, quickly adapt strategies to changed market conditions and display the results of analyses in a wide variety of formats including grids, graphs and maps.

SAP NetWeaver - NetWeaver Developer (Studio) Infrastructure (NWDI)

SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio builds on the open-source Eclipse framework. As a starting point for all Java development tools and the integration basis for all infrastructure components, SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio supports efficient development of Web Dynpro, Web services, and Java/J2EE business applications as well as Java projects on a large-scale basis for both SAP technologies and standard technologies.

SAP NetWeaver – Exchange Infrastructure (XI)

SAP NetWeaver Exchange Infrastructure (SAP NetWeaver XI) offers open integration technologies for process-oriented collaboration between SAP and non-SAP components of multiple enterprises. The knowledge needed for access to functions, system integration, and process support is stored in a common knowledge database. SAP NetWeaver XI builds upon common technologies, such as Web services, XML messaging, and Java and J2EE standards. SAP NetWeaver XI also provides predefined SAP integration knowledge and gives users collaboration content and implementation knowledge that helps them set up a partner network. The separation of integration knowledge from the underlying application code creates a reliable and scalable IT infrastructure.

SAP NetWeaver – Master Data Management (MDM)

The SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management (SAP NetWeaver MDM) component of SAP NetWeaver creates the preconditions for enterprise services and business process management. The functionality represents customers, products, employees, vendors, and user-defined data objects in unified form. With SAP NetWeaver MDM, customers can manage master data and supplemental content, such as texts, PDF documents, high-resolution images, or diagrams in a central business information warehouse.

SAP NetWeaver – Mobile Infrastructure (MI)

SAP NetWeaver Mobile is a platform-independent runtime environment for mobile solutions that employees can use to access enterprise data at any time and from any location, both online and off. SAP NetWeaver Mobile is based upon open and flexible technology standards like Java, XML, and (Simple Object Access Protocol) SOAP. With a high-performance development environment, users can create integrated mobile solutions that support a system- or browser-based user interface. Data is synchronized between back-end systems and mobile devices. Users can centrally manage and provide mobile solutions from a management console. The solution lets customers make enterprise solutions available to all employees.

SAP NetWeaver – Enterprise Portal (EP)

SAP NetWeaver Portal offers a complete portal infrastructure and high-performance functions for knowledge management and collaboration between enterprises. SAP NetWeaver Portal provides data and applications to employees, partners, and customers according to their tasks and interests in real time and without security risks. Solutions from SAP or other suppliers, legacy systems, databases, unstructured documents, internal and external Web sites, and functions for enterprise-wide collaboration can be quickly and easily linked in SAP NetWeaver Portal. Predefined content promises rapid implementation and lower costs for integration with existing systems. The portal solution is based upon open standards and Web services. It is tightly integrated with other SAP NetWeaver components, so it also supports heterogeneous IT landscapes. Compatibility with Java, J2EE, and Microsoft .NET is ensured.

SAP NetWeaver – Technology

SAP NetWeaver, the next evolution of mySAP Technology integrates information and business processes across technologies and organizations. It brings together structured and unstructured information, harmonizing data formerly trapped in multiple systems — with best-in-class business intelligence, knowledge management, and master data management. What's more, SAP NetWeaver embraces Internet standards such as HTTP, XML, and Web services. Ensuring openness and interoperability with Microsoft .NET and J2EE — IBM WebSphere in particular. And enabling you to benefit from business solutions tailored to meet your needs. Than a comprehensive integration and application platform is SAP NetWeaver the foundation of SAP xApps and mySAP Business Suite solutions. It's also the enabler of an enterprise services architecture that combines the enterprise applications experience of SAP with the flexibility of Web services and open technologies — for complete and services-based business solutions.

SAP recent news coverage

See here some news portals links which covers recent news related to SAP:

As a very first source of all official information there is a press room section within SAP's official homepage. This page is available in a lot of local country specific versions.

Following non official SAP portals here page with a lot of news. Very famous is portal a part of which is quite technical oriented source. ITtoolbox brings new section as well.

Quite useful page with all the recent news collected on one place brought by called SAP steers to middle. See as well Q&A interview with SAP's Peter Zencke about Business ByDesign.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

What is RICEFs in BI world?

From SAP ECC (former R/3) perspective we clearly recognize RICEF objects. Tuncay Karaca wrote very nice definition of RICEFs. Sometimes SAP people say RICEFW where W means Workflow which covers objects developed within SAP Workflow programming. Now let’s move to SAP BI world and try to identify development objects in BI area:

QR - Query (report, web template, web items, query variables, user exit)

IO – InfoObject (characteristics, key figure)

MP – MultiProvider

VP – VirtualProviders

IP – InfoProvider (InfoCubes, DSO/ODS)

ISet - InfoSet

IA – InfoArea

ISP - InfoSpoke

TR – Transformation

RT – Rule/Routine (Start/End/Expert/Update/Transfer routine/rule)

DTP - Data Transfer Process

AG - Aggregate

IS – InfoSource (in BW 3.x)

IP - InfoPackage

DS – DataSource (Extract/Transfer/Communication structure)

EX - Extractor (Function Module, report, table view, BAPI, user exit, ...)

APD - Analysis Process Designer

PC - Process Chain

Since this is a quite mix of different objects; try to sort them according the sub area of BW where they logically belong:

1. Reporting layer

QR – Query:

Report - Collection of a selection of characteristics and key figures (InfoObjects) for the analysis of the data of an InfoProvider. A query always refers exactly to one InfoProvider, whereas you can define as many queries as you like for each InfoProvider.

You define a query in the BEx Query Designer, in which you select InfoObjects or reusable structures for an InfoProvider and specify the view of the data (query view) by distributing them to filters, rows, columns, and free characteristics. You used this saved query view as a basis for data analysis and reporting in the BEx Analyzer, in BEx Web applications, in BEx Mobile Intelligence, or in formatted reporting.

Web template- HTML document that determines the structure of a Web application. It contains placeholders for Web items, data providers, and BW URLs.

Web items - An object that retrieves data from a data provider and presents it as HTML in a Web application. E.g. Analysis, report, filter pane, navigation pane, map, chart, etc.

Query variables - parameters of a query; defined in the Query Designer and that are filled with values when you execute the query or Web application. They serve as place holders for characteristic values, hierarchies, hierarchy nodes, texts and formula elements, and can be processed in different ways.

User exit – query variable can be pre-filled by user exit (report ZXRSRU01).

2. Data Warehousing layer

IO – InfoObject - Business evaluation objects (for example, customers or sales) are called InfoObjects in BI. InfoObjects are subdivided into characteristics, key figures, units, time characteristics, and technical characteristics (such as request numbers).

Characteristics - Type of InfoObject. An evaluation group such as company code, product, customer group, fiscal year, period, or region. Characteristics provide classification possibilities for the dataset. An InfoCube generally contains only a partial quantity of the characteristic values from the master data table at a time. The master data includes the permitted values for a characteristic, also called characteristic values. Characteristic values are discrete names.

Key figure - represents values or quantities. In addition to the key figures saved on the database, you have the option of defining derived (calculated) key figures in the query definition in the Business Explorer. Such key figures are calculated using a formula from the key figures of the InfoCube.

IP – InfoProvider - Objects for which the queries in SAP BW can be created or executed. There are two types of InfoProviders. One type includes objects that contain physical data. These are known as data targets, such as InfoCubes, ODS objects, and InfoObjects (characteristics with attributes, texts, or hierarchies). The other type includes objects thatdisplay no physical data storage, such as InfoSets, RemoteCubes, SAP RemoteCubes, and MultiProviders. InfoProviders are the objects or views that are relevant for reporting.

InfoCubes – Describes a self-contained dataset (from the reporting view), for example, for a business-oriented area. This dataset can be evaluated with the BEx query. An InfoCube is a set of relational tables that are created in accordance with the star schema: a large fact table in the center, with several dimension tables surrounding it.

DSO/ODS - DataStore Object/Operational Data Store object - Object that is used in the Tool BI part of Bank Analyzer to store master data and flow data in flat structures. A DataStore object contains key fields and data fields. There are DataStore objects for index tables of primary objects, and DataStore objects for the relevancy indicator as the basis for selecting data in the Source Data Layer.

MP – MultiProvider - Type of InfoProvider that combines data from several InfoProviders and makes it available for reporting. The MultiProvider itself contains no data; its data comes exclusively from the InfoProviders on which it is based (collated using a union operation). You can assemble a MultiProvider from different combinations of InfoProviders. MultiProviders, like InfoProviders, are objects or views that are relevant for reporting.

VP – VirtualProviders -
InfoProvider for which the transaction data is not saved in the object itself, but which is read directly for reporting. The data is stored in the BI system or in other SAP systems or non-SAP systems. Only read access to the data is permitted with a VirtualProvider.

ISet – InfoSet -
SAP Query element. InfoSets determine the tables, or fields within a table, to which a query can refer. InfoSets are usually based on table joins or logical databases.

ISP – InfoSpoke - Object for the export of data within the open hub service. Defined in the InfoSpoke are the following: from which open hub data source the data is extracted, in which extraction mode the data is delivered, and into which open hub destination the data is delivered.

IA – InfoArea -
Element for grouping meta-objects in the BI system. Each InfoProvider is assigned to an InfoArea. The resulting hierarchy is displayed in the Data Warehousing Workbench. In addition to their properties as an InfoProviders, InfoObjects can also be assigned to different InfoAreas.

TR – Transformation -
When data is loaded from one BI object to another BI object the data is run through a transformation. A transformation converts the records in a data package from the format of the source structure into the format of the target structure. A transformation consists of at least one transformation rule.

RT – Rule/Routine
(Start/End/Expert/Update/Transfer routine/rule) – Rule/routine where particular data object transformation is handled. It can be direct mapping from input to output, formula (FOX), ABAP routine, etc.

DTP - Data Transfer Process – It takes care about data ‘Distribution’ within SAP BI (from PSA or InfoProviders to InfoProviders).

AG – Aggregate -
Stores the dataset of an InfoCube redundantly and persistently in a summarized form on the database. When building an aggregate from the characteristics and navigation attributes of an InfoCube, you can group the data according to different aggregation levels. Remaining characteristics that are not used in the aggregate are summarized. New data is loaded into an aggregate using logical data packages (requests). You differentiate between filling and rolling up with regard to loading data. Aggregates enable you to access InfoCube data quickly for reporting. Thus, aggregates help to improve performance.

IS – InfoSource
(in BW 3.x) - Structure that consists of InfoObjects and is used as a non-persistent store to connect two transformations.

IP – InfoPackage
- Describes which data in a DataSource should be requested from a source system. The data can be precisely selected using selection parameters. An InfoPackage can request the following types of data: Transaction data, Attributes for master data, Hierarchies for master data, Master data texts

APD - Analysis Process Designer - Tool used to model an analysis process. The analysis process designer provides a graphical interface to model analysis processes. An analysis process is built using nodes and data flow arrows. The nodes stand for data sources, transformations and data targets. The dataflow arrows model the sequence in which the data is read and transformed.

PC - Process Chain - Sequence of processes that are scheduled in the background to wait for a particular event. Some of these processes trigger an additional event, which in turn can start other processes.

3. ETL layer

DS – DataSource (Extract/Transfer/Communication structure) - Contains a number of fields that are provided in a flat structure (the extraction structure) for data transfer to the Business Information Warehouse. A DataSource describes the properties of the related extractor with regard to the data transfer to the Business Information Warehouse.

EX - Extractor (Function Module, report, table view, BAPI, user exit, ...) – In most cases program used to fill the extraction structure of a DataSource with data from datasets in the SAP source system.

That’s it. Quite huge stuff. Please notice that I do not mention other BI staff in conjunction of SAP Portals (iviews, BEx porfolios, roles, Portal Connection Framework, INative) and other new SAP BI 7.0 objects like: UD Connect, Open Hub, SAP BI Connector, ResultSet API, query API, OLAP Query API, Java Metadata Interface, Common Client Interface, Business Intelligence Cockpit, BI SAP Query Connector, BI ODBO Connector, BI XMLA Connector, BI JDBC Connector, BI Java Connector, BI accelerator, BEx Broadcaster and finally I’m not mentioning SAP SEM objects like planning function/type/ sequence and other BI objects: metadata API, Metadata Repository, MDX, DB connect, Business Intelligence Java Software Development Kit

RWD software suite

Since approximately 2001 SAP announced cooperation with RWD Technologies in order to offer its customers solution to increase employee proficiency in using SAP solutions. Under the announcement SAP is distributing distribute SAP User Training and Performance Solutions incorporating RWD Info Pak, a suite of services and software to improve users' proficiency in working with SAP solutions. Aim of such software is combine change management and end-user training offering to accelerate implementations through the efficient development, organization and distribution of documentation, training materials and online help. SAP is offering this software suit as SAP Productivity Pack (SPP) here we need to distinguish between Europe and North America markets. While Europe software is distributed through SAP under the name SPP, in US as RWD uPerform.

If you are SAP customer and you obtained proper license you can download RWD software from in Software download section -> Download (from the navigation left panel) -> Installations and upgrades -> Entry by application group -> Installations and Upgrades -> Education Products. You will be able to see the RWD Info Pak product list and view the Information page on Info Pak and download it.

RWD Info Pack has following 4 components:

RWD Info Pak–Publisher – generates documentation by recording SAP transactions, creates printed or on-line materials in different formats for end-user training, support, configuration, documentation or testing.

RWD Info Pak– Glossary – is a database to maintain terms and definitions for process documentation created using Publisher. Definitions are automatically synchronized with all documentation. In that way user documentation is maintained quickly and accurately.

RWD Info Pak–Web Architect - creates customizable websites to tract documentation projects. Project training manager can create multiple views of all kinds of web content, whether produced by Publisher or another application. It also maintains project completion statuses so you can monitor and report on projects.

RWD Info Pak–Help Launchpad - creates context-sensitive links from your documentation directly into the SAP Help System. With Launchpad users can find the help they are looking for directly from within SAP transactions and without having to click on a separate desktop icon or link to a search page.