Dashboards and report bursting directly off SAP BW and HANA

Pyramid is an official member of the SAP® PartnerEdge® open ecosystem. Pyramid 2020 is certified by SAP to interoperate with SAP BW/4HANA. Pyramid 2020 is pending certification by SAP to interoperate with SAP HANA.

In my previous blogs on SAP BW and HANA, I discussed how the flexibility of Pyramid enables the direct querying of the SAP data, bringing back results directly from either BW or HANA without requiring the extraction of the raw data and reloading of it into a proprietary database.

Designing and presenting a live, interactive dashboard using SAP BW or HANA is only the beginning of the process of distributing data to stakeholders, each with their unique view of data. The process of automating the printing of personalized data and analysis in a variety of pixel-perfect formats is key (a.k.a., “report bursting”). While scheduling and auto-distributing it securely is a critical requirement, the ability to achieve this with remarkably simple point-and-click, drop-and-drag functionality for SAP data is uniquely achieved with Pyramid.

Alternatives and their challenges

SAP’s main offering is presented in two toolsets: Business Objects (BO) and Analytics Cloud (SAC). While BO delivers interactive dashboarding and report bursting, the tools lack self-service capabilities for modern analytical applications and deployment. SAC, on the other hand, offers self-service, but as an immature solution, lacks fundamental analytic and publishing functionality.

On the other end of the spectrum, almost all third-party applications for the SAP data stack generally expect customers to extract and duplicate SAP data into their own engines to deliver analytic functionality. This alone kills off any notion of collaboratively working directly on SAP BW or HANA—not to mention that most of these tools do not offer report bursting/publishing, scheduling, and deep security functionality and governance.

Pyramid’s solution

It’s in this context that Pyramid can make a discernable difference in working with SAP BW and HANA.

First, highly sophisticated multi-model dashboards can be produced through the “Present” point-and-click module without extracting the data into a separate or proprietary data engine. Apart from offering incredible breadth and depth in design and analytic function, the dashboards can be deployed to thousands of users who will, in-turn, query BW and HANA directly, keeping data security access and analytic logic (as defined in SAP) intact.

Second, the same content can be added to the “Publish” report publication app. The template can be auto-scheduled to run on a regular basis and can auto-distribute the rendered personalized content to different end-users using data-driven logic. And at all times, the queries remain native and direct to SAP.

Business case

Lisa, the BI Analyst at Argus Cycles has a “dream branch dashboard” built using SAP BW and HANA data. She distributes it monthly as a standalone package to all 50 branches within her organization. A data analyst prepares the data then emails each dashboard individually to each branch. The company auditors have raised a security exception, in addition to management concerns over the large manual overhead and staff dependencies.

Lisa has been tasked to find a solution that will also effortlessly directly query their existing SAP BW and HANA system, and display additional HR dashboard components based on a separate HR SQL Server source, using common filters without loading data into their standalone in-memory engine. In addition, the output format for the dashboard must be in Excel, PDF, or PowerPoint as all are required by the organization.

Pyramid is uniquely placed to comfortably meet all Argus’ business requirements with their innovative architecture.

Present dashboard design

This dashboard includes five different visuals, each analyzing a different aspect of the business (i.e., product, sales, HR, sales promotions, and branches). HR data is accessed from a different source. The filters for state and year must apply to all visuals in the dashboard, even if the data comes from disparate data models.

Present dashboard design 

  1. The filters for State and Year apply to all dashboard elements, including HR branch data from a different data model.
  2. All SAP data is accessed by direct-query, without loading data into an in-memory database.
  3. HR branch data from a different data model appears on the same dashboard as the SAP data.

Publish template design

Pyramid’s “Publish” tool provides multiple output formats and the ability to generate and distribute a separate report for each user as per their parameters.

Branch Sales and Net Margin by Product Category Report

To publish this report, Lisa must be able to filter the report by State and distribute it to all the branches.

Branch Sales and Net Margin by Product Category Report

Output formats

The Publish tool has multiple output formats that can be selected.

Output formats 

Report bursting

In addition, the State and Year filters to be used for the distribution are simply dragged and dropped onto the Publish tool’s canvas, thus enabling automatic report bursting.

Report bursting 

Scheduling

Flexible recurring reports can be scheduled to ensure automation and elimination of staff dependencies.

Scheduling  

Security and distribution

Pyramid securely distributes emails in an automation according to a predefined CSV file or using a programmable formula.

Security and distribution  

Summary

Pyramid provides powerful self-service dashboard, scheduling, and distribution tools with direct access to SAP BW and HANA systems.

The “Present” tool provides the unique ability to slice content items from multiple sources, so users can accommodate additional data sources in a dashboard without having to load data into an in-memory database. The “Publish” tool distributes pixel-perfect publications in a variety of formats, sliced and securely distributed per user’s view. The publication can be automatically scheduled on a recurring basis and distributed according to a predefined CSV file or using a programmable formula.

This concludes this series of blogs that relates to Pyramid’s superior support for features common to both SAP BW and HANA, where I addressed:

In my next series of blogs, I will discuss how Pyramid, in contrast to Power BI and Tableau, provides support for SAP BW’s unique features of ragged hierarchies, numerical formats, multiple currencies, and captions. I will also be discussing time-dependent hierarchies, and support for multiple data connections to SAP BW, each with different parameterization.


SAP and Pyramid Analytics

Pyramid solves this entire problem with a complete solution that offers real self-service working directly on SAP BW and HANA. How? By delivering best-in-class functionality and performance on SAP BW without extracting or duplicating data, Pyramid preserves the full analytic power of the SAP engines, as well as the inherent security and governance.

Please explore our Pyramid + SAP Blog Series to learn how Pyramid supports our customers on SAP. Each post contains specific examples to illustrate key functionality:

  1. Real self-service BI for SAP
  2. Self-service BI directly on SAP BW
  3. Collaborative analytics for SAP BW and HANA
  4. Time intelligence for SAP BW and HANA
  5. Running Totals Made Easy for SAP HANA and BW
  6. Dashboards and report bursting directly off SAP BW and HANA
  7. Realizing the power of parameters in SAP BW and HANA
  8. SAP BW Time-Dependent Hierarchies
  9. Ragged Hierarchies and Data Formats in SAP BW
  10. Building Calculations directly on SAP BW and HANA
  11. Building data models into SAP HANA