Friday, December 25, 2009

Terms in SAP’s release strategies

Interesting in what are phases of developing software in SAP? Just read more here! SAP is defining release as state of a software component that represents an important milestone or a considerable enhancement of a software component's functionality. Release of SAP applications, SAP NetWeaver, and its enhancement packages are introduced to the market in two phases:

1.    In Restricted Shipment – So called first delivery phase. This phase starts by stated release-to-customer date. By this data software can be used in production environment. Meaning that SAP is providing support to it by issuing SAP Notes and Support Packages. Basically this phase follows by sub phase In Restricted Shipment Planned. 

Restricted Shipment phase is driven by SAP Ramp-Up program, which is process for launching new application releases into market with support and development involvement. Customer can participate in SAP Ramp-Up to be an early adopter of this software.

2.    In Unrestricted Shipment – So called second delivery phase. After completion of Rump-Up program unrestricted phase is next. This happens usually several months after the release-to-customer date. This date is called default release date. During this phase, all customers can obtain the software. This phase follows by sub phase In Unrestricted Shipment Planned.

You can observe all of those phases in SAP’s Product Availability Matrix (PAM) on OSS.

- update as of 08-01-2009 - 
For explanation of terms related to Status and delivery date of patch see this post.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New version of SAP BW: 7.20

-update February 24, 2010 - Kindly notice, that version 7.2 wasn't  released and is replaced by BW 7.3

Here’s an update to my previous post dedicated to history of SAP BW. After approximately 4 years we are going to have more significant version of BW of 7.x family. Here's brief version history of 7.x family:

·         SAP NetWeaver BW 7.00 - 1st major release of 7.x
·         SAP NetWeaver BW 7.01 (SAP NW BW7.0 EHP 1)
·         SAP NetWeaver BW 7.02 (SAP NW BW7.0 EHP 2)
·         SAP NetWeaver BW 7.10 (was special codeline for Business by Design (BBD or ByD) not released for customers)
         SAP NetWeaver BW 7.11 (SAP NW BW7.1 EHP 1)
·        SAP NetWeaver BW 7.20 -2nd major release of 7.x
·        SAP NetWeaver BW 7.30 -2nd major release of 7.x, replaces BW 7.2

Version 7.20 is supposed to be released on 15th of Feb 2010 as part of SAP NetWeaver 7.2 which is in “Release to Customer” status as of December 2009. BW 7.20 is coming with a lot of new features. So what’s new in SAP BW 7.20?

Major topics:

·         Tighten integration of BW and BOBJ:
o    BOBJ Data Services XI 3.2 – is enabled as BW’s DataSource, can trigger BW’s process chain, can extract data from BW’s Open Hub
o    BOBJ Metadata Manager XI 3.2 – common metadata for BW and BOBJ products
3rd party databases as source systems for BW (Teradata & HP Neoview), reduced complexity and time needed to integrate data of those two DBs into BW
Data warehousing:
o    Semantic partitioning
o    DSOs - further performance optimization in scope of DSOs activation, remodeling tools
o    Enhancement of Near-Line Storage (NLS)
o    Flexibility in data flows – data flow copy tool, DTP copy tool! – finally
o    New technical business content for SAP NetWeaver BW Administration Cockpit
o    HybridProviders – Combines real-time information with historic data
o    Extended archiving – Data request archiving for DTP requests
o    New wizards for system setup – via web
Data extraction:
o    Generic delta capability
o    Automatic switch of InfoPackage from Init to Delta type
o    New DataSource Adapter Type “Web Service Pull”
o    Bulk loads of data into PSA, via BOBJ Data Integrator
Data staging:
o    improved hierarchies: Integration of hierarchies into flow, remote hierarchies
o    DTPs: fetch only the last request from a given source, referential integrity checks tor navigational attributes of target IO during the load of MD
o    Transformations: Semantic grouping possible in transformations, possibility to select the InfoObjects (fields) the user wants to use in a Start/End routine, Currency and unit conversion also available for DSO and InfoSource as targets, Navigation attributes of InfoCubes/DataStore objects can be used as source fields in transformation and as filter/select options in the DTP
o    Adjustment of process chain error handling, better PC monitring
o    Flexible deletion of PSA/Change Log
o    Multi Source System InfoPackage transport
o    Before Export Check
o    General search in Data Warehousing Workbench extended
o    Bulk Change function for authorizations
Further improvements within performance of BW-IP and BWA
New tool: SAP BOBJ Explorer

All details can be found at SDN presentation.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

SAP Chart Designer

SAP Chart Designer is a tool for defining customizing settings for the Chart Engine XMLCHART) of the IGS. You can model your new graph within this tool with all its properties and layout settings e.g. chart type, enter texts for the titles. Then you save your graph in this tool as XML file. You can now use this XML as the customizing input for your IGS chart, for example in your BSP application when using .
You can download this tool via SDN at this page.
There are two version of this tool depending on version of IGS: ChartDesigner640.exe and ChartDesigner700.exe.

SAP TechEd 2009 live

This year SAP was broadcasting live spots from SAP TechEd through their SAP TV. Replays are available at SAP TechEd homepage per SAP TechEd location:

·         EMEA – Vienna
·         USA - Phoenix
·         ASIA - Bangalore

Here I picked up few videos just related to SAP/BOBJ BI (+ABAP) technology:

Replay Eric Schemer — Project Pioneer: New SAP BusinessObjects Analytical Clients for Web and Office
Replay George Mathew — SAP BusinessObjects Explorer Wave 2 and In-Memory Analytics
Replay Marge Breya —Future of Work: Technology Requirements for the Next-Generation Executive
Replay Franz Aman — Best BI for SAP and Heterogeneous Environments: Innovations and Integration Available TODAY
Replay Sal Visca — Next-Generation BI
Replay Johan du Plessis — SAP BusinessObjects Explorer Customer Session
Replay Waldemar Adams — BI and SAP BusinessObjects Solutions
Replay Alexis Naibo — Demo Jam Winner: SAP BusinessObjects Explorer on iPhone
Replay Ingo Hilgefort — Running BusinessObjects on SAP
Replay Ty Miller — SAP BusinessObjects Explorer
Replay Dan Kearnan — SAP Business Intelligence Strategy
Replay Thomas Jung — Next Generation ABAP

Some videos are available on youtube as well.

2010: five-year enterprise software plan

Early in December along an annual SAP Influencer Summit in Boston; SAP has published their so called five year enterprise software plan. Usually those are announcements that are kind of controversy. There are a lot of critics and especially skeptics about this plan. A lot of gossips are spread saying that in some of areas SAP is too behind the others on the market and so on. The plan seems to be that SAP is trying hard to catch some new trends and technologies. So what are the next big thing according SAP? Here we go:

1. Integrated business analytics – More and more business analytics will continue to be integrated with SAP's products. E.g. financial applications will be added with tools allow users do on the fly calculation and analysis regardless of where un/structured data resides.

2. On-demand computing - SAP plans for year 2010 are to release an on-demand Supply Chain Management (SCM) app., sales automation, travel and expense, services management and an app. called project Kona that will allow users to quickly adopt BusinessObjects (BOBJ) software.

3. Cloud architectures – Currently this is the most painful area. SAP is very late with their SaaS application Business ByDesign (BBD) which is still not stable enough to be rolled up for regular sale to customers. Anyway SAP is saying that they are still quite calm about “clouding” and they see sense of it only for small customers while those bigger one are not willing to step up the cloud and to replace their current apps. Therefore here SAP is advising kind of “stepwise-migration” approach to cloud computing.

4. Flexible pricing – We could see kind of problems with maintenance fee (enterprise support) this year. SAP was trying to increase those fees while several users’ groups were strictly against it. It seems that SAP is fully aware that this is not a proper way how to treat customers and new pricing models will be introduced soon. E.g. “pay as you go” for customers as they grow with their SAP applications or “term/subscription -based” licenses.

5. Mobile and in-memory computing – Mobile apps. are penetrating everywhere and there must be an information supply for those app. That’s why SAP seems these demands and trying to supply it. On other hand in-memory computing is just continuation of SAP’s vision of real-time computing (see book Real Time: A Tribute to Hasso Plattner). SAP started to accelerate their SAP BW system by new technology where data of data warehouse are stored persistently in operational memory of servers. Here it seems that they see other area where similar concept can be used.

SAP BW and BOBJ roadmap

This is just a small update of integration of Business Objects (BOBJ) and SAP BW products with regards of reporting tools. For details of all product portfolios see my previous post. All screenshot are taken from this year’s TechEd session BI200 Business Intelligence Roadmap which is accessible for free at SDN.

J2EE Migration Kit

Are you planning to migrate from JAVA compliant application servers (like IBM WebSphere Application Server, Apache Tomcat, Oracle (BEA) WebLogic Server, Sun GlassFish Enterprise Server (Sun Java System Application Server), JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, etc.) to SAP NerWeaver AS?

In this case it might be helpful to take a look at J2EE Migration Kit prepared by SAP. The kit is divided into four areas: 

Process – goes through scoping an issues and risks to estimation effort to migration as is self.

Services – There are several different services that can SAP be involved in migration.

Tools – like estimators, migration guides, SAP NW Developer Studio plug-in

Resources – useful links to helpful for migration.

Here’s an example from migration guide how SAP NW components replaces original ones:

Whole kit is accessible at SDN site.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

SAP Best Practices for Business Intelligence

SAP is publishing its set of products, method, documentation and preconfiguration, to allow customers better and easily evaluate, implement, enhance and use its software. Usually Best Practices (BP) can be used in projects across all project phases. Basic information about BP can be found at address: Moreover there is BP related to BW as well. You can find them structured under Cross-Industry Packages -> Business Intelligence down to the link provided above. There are two flavors of those BP:

•    SAP Best Practices for Business Intelligence (based on SAP BusinessObjects)
•    SAP Best Practices for Business Warehousing (based on SAP NetWeaver)

- update 18.3.2013 – as links were changed, here’s new ones:

In rest of my today’s post I focus only at BW part of this BP. Current the newest version is 3.70 published on March 2009. Two language versions are available: German apart of English. BP is comprised of four sections:

•    BW specific information – documents and accelerator for BW projects (BW overview, brochures, functions in details, BW projects plans, roles on BW projects, Sizing, Multi-Dimensional Modeling, archiving, authorizations, web reports enabling, translating BW objects, reporting user guide, …)

•    Business Blueprint – so called Solution Scope document provides overview of scenario-based business processes covered by BP.

•    Preconfigured Scenarios – for several areas like: Financials (Financial Accounting Analysis, Controlling Analysis, CO-PA Analysis, Cost Center Planning, Reporting Financials), CRM (Sales Analysis, Cross-Functional Analysis: Financial and Sales Data, Booking Billing Backlog Analysis, Sales Planning, Scheduling Agreements Analysis, CRM Analytics), SCM (Purchasing Analysis, Manufacturing Analysis, Inventory Analysis, Demand Planning Analysis, Resource and Operation Data Analysis), PLM (Project System - Controlling and Dates), Human Capital Management (Cross-Application Time Sheet, Time Management - Time and Labor, Personnel Development – Qualifications, Travel Management - Travel Expenses, …).

•    Demo & Evaluation - SAP Tutor Player files with some of above mentioned scenarios.

•    BW Accelerator – technical information plus building blocks about BW Accelerator Index and Server.

Usually BP comes with two DVDs: documentation and configuration. BW BP are shipped with documentation DVD; but no configuration DVD.

Monday, November 9, 2009

SAP Productivity Pak 4.0 (SPP 4.0)

The newest version of SAP Productivity Pak is released. The 4.0 version ahs following improvements:

  •   HP Quality Center Integration - Option to produce a manual test script for HP Quality Center 9.2 via the HP Quality Center Microsoft Excel Add-in  
  •   Enhanced Document Editing - Allow authors to produce high-quality procedure documents from SAP Productivity Pak by resizing and cropping screens, and by annotating screen images with callouts.
  •   Enhanced Course Experience - Allow authors to rapidly create rich eLearning courses with branching.
  •   User Management - Enhance the way SAP Productivity Pak adds and maintains users en masse.
  •   Easier Content Translation - Import/export SAP Productivity Pak course, screen titles, and template content to XLFF for translation
Notice that SAP is using a name of SPP for RWD software suite. For overview of RWD see here.

SAP Download Manager – how to get and install it

Last update 02-Oct-2020

Over the years below, links became obsolete. The SAP Download Manager can be found on new site under SAP Support Portal Home -> My Support -> Software Downloads -> Download Manager or it is possible to use direct link.

SAP Software packages are possible to be downloaded using tool Download Manager. SAP has changed the rules as of 2nd of April 2007. As of this data it is not possible to download its software directly via HTTP/FTP protocol from OSS. This is thick client tool running on MS Windows and some of UNIX/Linux operational systems. SAP claims that using Download Manager, the download process is more stable; download can be restarted in case of abortion; etc. Usage of SAP Download Manager applies to all SAP applications regardless of whether or not they are using the SAP Solution Manager.

Sometimes SAP OSS notes refer to this tool as Download Basket. Application itself is written in Java. Before you install it you need to prepare your computer to run Java applications via JAVA runtime environment. Following JAVA RE are supported: Java 2 Runtime Environment version 1.4.x and up (e.g. SUN's Java 2 Runtime Environment version 1.4), Java 2 Runtime Environment version 1.2 or Sun's Java 2 Runtime Environment version 1.3. SAP recommends to use Sun's Java 2 Runtime Environment version 1.4. Afterwards download tool via quick link /swdc SAP Software Distribution Center, Download.

After installation you have to enter your OSS credentials to enable the tool read you download basket with software packages that you market for download via browsing on OSS.