SAP BI Frontend Tools

In recent years, a lot has changed with BI front end tools. The tools from the well known BEx Suite (Business Explorer Suite) have been given a boost by the new ‘Business Objects’ based front end tools.

While BEx tools are still the tools one will mainly use, and SAP support for this product will continue for years to come, through BO tools, its development and functional enhancements will continue to advance.

SAP BEx (Business Explorer)

Everything about BEx Analyzer, Web Analyzer, Web App Designer and Report Designer

The Business Explorer Suite includes a wide range of reporting and analysis tools, which allows for flexibility in the desired layout and effectively represents analyses of company data. The spectrum of possibilities ranges from simple tables to various diagrams and complex cockpits, where several reports can be brought together.

A query created with the Query Designer can be executed in either the BEx Analyzer (an Excel interface Analysis tool) or in the BEx Web Analyzer without any further adjustments needed to the query. If more graphical processing is desired, this can be done in Design mode of the BEx Analyzer or with the Web Application Designer (specifically for web applications). With the Report Designer pixel-perfect reports can be created that are specially optimized for printing.

All of these reports can be published into a portal and made centrally available to all users. With the BEx Broadcaster you can also periodically send data or trigger events to occur (eg. update of data).

Structure of SAP Business Explorer Suite

Example Report created with SAP BEx
Example: BEx Report published in a portal

SAP Business Objects (BO)

Crystal Reports, ZEN & Co.

Business Object tools provide all the front-end visualisation capabilities of modern front end tools and combines these with reporting, monitoring, discovery and analysis functions.

The variety of visual possibilities, ranges from formatted reports over complex dashboards, through to ad-hoc and mobile evaluations (Mobile BI).

The BO tools are classified according to application area into four groups, whereby, some tools can be used for several areas:

Reporting

Tool: Crystal Reports und Web Intelligence Is on one hand used to generate print-optimised and formatted reports, and on the other hand, used for ad hoc and mobile reporting.

Analysis

Tool: Analysis und Design Studio (ZEN) Reporting capabilities range from Excel and web-based interactive analyses, through to solutions for mobile devices.

Monitoring

Tool: Dashboards, Design Studio (ZEN) und Exploration Views The main focus here is on the visualisation of information in the form of dashboards and dynamic layout.

Discover

Tool: Explorer und Visual Intelligence Enables generation of information through exploration, manipulation and accumulation of data and comes with no predefined reports from automatic visualisation.

Example Crystal Report
Example Crystal Report (source: www.sap.com)

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Helmut Ritter
Teamleader Business Intelligence
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