SAP BI Suite – BI Designer or Consumer Tools Overview

SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4 contains a number of designer or consumer tools which connect to various data sources and perform data analysis, monitoring and reporting. Each tool has its own strengths and there is overlap in their functionality. It can be a bit confusing to decide which one to use for a particular task. Following is the list of client tools with a brief overview that may help in figuring out how suitable they are for a particular BI need:

SAP Crystal Reports 2011
  • Crystal Reports is used to develop highly formatted reports which are printer-friendly and largely static.
  • Supports parameters
  • Newer version of SAP Crystal Reports 2008
SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise
  • Crystal Reports for Enterprise is the next generation of Crystal Report designer which will be foundation for future Crystal Report development.
  • Currently it doesn’t support all data sources as compared to ‘SAP Crystal Reports 2011’.
  • Crystal Reports for Enterprise should be used for new reports if the required features are available.
SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards
  • SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards is a data visualization software that allows you to create interactive dashboards.
  • Dashboard designer contains an embedded excel workbook which can be used to load data directly or data from other sources can be bind to the excel sheet.
  • Data from other sources can be directly bind to dashboard components by-passing the embedded excel workbook.
  • Dashboard design tool is generally meant for IT department which deploy the created dashboards to BI platform to be consumed by users.
SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence
  • Web Intelligence supports powerful adhoc query and reporting. The tool is also callled interactive analysis.
  • The reports created in Web Intelligence are much more interactive than Crystal Reports. It supports drill down , outlining and input control to filter records.
  • Web Intelligence is available both as a client tool of the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform, and as a stand-alone product.
SAP BusinessObjects Analysis
  • There are two tools in SAP Analysis: Excel Addon called ‘SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, Edition for Microsoft Office’ and ‘SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, Edition for OLAP’.
  • Allows to design workbooks applications and perform multidimensional ad-hoc analysis of OLAP data sources in Microsoft Excel.
  • ‘SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, Edition for OLAP’ is an alternative to Excel which duplicates the enhanced pivot table functionality.
SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio
  • SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio enables application designers to create analysis applications and dashboards for Web browsers and mobile devices based on SAP NetWeaver BW or SAP HANA data sources.
  • It is the product of choice when full support is required for data models and engine capabilities in SAP NetWeaver BW and SAP HANA.
SAP BusinessObjects Explorer
  • SAP BusinessObjects Explorer is a data discovery application that allows you to retrieve answers to your business questions from corporate data quickly and directly.
  • Through search, you can find relevant data that is held within consistent, meaningful datasets known as Information Spaces.
Visual Intelligence
  • Visual Intelligence is a data discovery and visualization tool.
  • It is the go to tool for self service BI.

Reports, dashboards and workspaces from above tools can be saved to SAP BI platform. Documents saved on the BI platform are accessible through BI Launchpad. BI Launchpad provides an interface to the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform repository that enables you to navigate to, view, and manage your business intelligence documents.

Official SAP tutorials for above tools are available at www.sap.com/learnbi. The tutorials are in the form of How-To videos which explain how to accomplish common tasks in these tools.

For a more detailed analysis of the capabilities of these tools, check out the webcast ‘How to select the right BI tool for your environment‘. The presenter categorizes the BI portfolio capabilities into four areas: reporting, monitoring, analyze and discover. He than evaluates the BI client tools with respect to these categories and required technical expertise.

For a webinar on Visual Intelligence tool, visit http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-31427. Here are the slides for the webinar.

Passed IBM Exam 000-035: IBM Tivoli Asset Management for IT V7.2.1 Implementation

Today, I took IBM Exam 035 (IBM Tivoli Asset Management for IT V7.2.1 Implementation). The exam focuses on functional knowledge of TAMIT (Tivoli Asset Management for IT). TAMIT manages IT infrastructure based on ITIL standard.

There is no certification guide currently available for this exam (Exam 035). I used the guide for Exam 016 which is the precursor to this exam and has been withdrawn now. Also I used the IBM SmartCloud preview site to review the new functionality introduced after 7.1 which is the version I am currently working on.

Below are the quizzes prepared while studying for the certification.

Following are quizzes for material which is common to both, 035 (TAMIT) and 015 (Maximo EAM).

IBM Tivoli Asset Management for IT, Asset Reconciliation

Following questions are related to Asset Reconciliation module of ‘IBM Tivoli Asset Management for IT’. They may help in preparation of certification test number 000-035 i.e. IBM Tivoli Asset Management for IT V7.2.1 Implementation.

Choose one of the following options and leave your answers in a comment below:

  1. Tivoli Integration composer is an IT asset discovery tool.
    • A – True
    • B – False
  2. Assets discovered through a discovery tool, like Microsoft SMS, are stored in:
    • A – Assets application
    • B – Deployed Assets
    • C – Software Catalog and Assets
  3. Which of the following are mandatory for creating Reconciliation Tasks: (select two)
    • A – Type of Reconciliation
    • B – Link Rules
    • C – Task Filter
    • D – Comparison Rules
  4. Asset Link Results application lists all successfully matches between deployed and authorized assets.
    • A – True
    • B – False
  5. Asset Reconciliation Results lists all unlinked assets and also the results of comparison rules.
    • A – True
    • B – False

IBM Tivoli Asset Management for IT, IT Assets Module

Following questions are related to ‘IBM Tivoli Asset Management for IT’. Questions cover the additional functionality of TAMIT in comparison to Maximo EAM in following applications: IT Asset, Licenses, Deployed Assets, Software Contracts and Software Catalog. They may help in preparation of certification test number 000-035 i.e. IBM Tivoli Asset Management for IT V7.2.1 Implementation.

Choose one of the following options and leave your answers in a comment below:

  1. Deployed assets applications list the authorized computers, printers, network devices and deployed software in an organization.
    • A – True
    • B – False
  2. If a software, let say Micrsoft Office, is deployed on 10 computers in an organizations, how many times it will be listed in ‘Deployed Software’ application:
    • A – 1
    • B – 10
  3. On purchase of a new printers, a record should be created in ‘Network Printers’ application in ‘Deployed Assets’ module by using new record operation.
    • A – True
    • B – False
  4. It is mandatory to create a release PO in order to make payment against a software contracts.
    • A – True
    • B – False
  5. Variant names of a software can be defined in which of the following application.
    • A – Deployed Software
    • B – Software Suite Setup
    • C – Software Catalog
    • D – Software Licenses
  6. Components of a software suite can be defined in:
    • A – Software Suite Setup application
    • B – Software Catalog application
    • C – Deployed Software application
  7. An organization has purchased 10 licenses for a particular software. Which application maintains the available and allocated capacity for the software?
    • A – Software Capacity
    • B – Software Catalog
    • C – Licenses
    • D – Software Contract

Read ‘Physics of the Impossible’ by Michio Kaku

 

Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel’ explores the popular science fiction concepts in the light of hard scientific facts. In doing so the author explains scientific theories in a way that is very engaging and comprehensible for a layman. Along the way author alludes to interesting details about how the modern scientific theories developed overtime and what are current areas of research which could make the impossible possible. All analyzed concepts are categorized based on how long it might take for human civilization to achieve them if ever.

In my opinion, this is a definite read for only one interested in science or science fiction.

Completed ‘Software Engineering for SaaS’ from Coursera

Completed ‘Software Engineering for SaaS’ course offered by Dave Patterson and Armando Fox, Professors at University of California, Berkeley. This course was offered through Coursera.org

The course started on 13th July and the duration was 5 weeks. Course taught the best practices for developing software as a service. It included weekly coding assignments where a SaaS application was developed using the following technologies:

Server Side: Ruby on Rails (Model: ActiveRecord, MVC View: Haml)
Client Side: HTML, CSS and AJAX
Cloud: Heroku
Software Methodology: Agile
Behavior Driven Development tool: Cucumber, Capybara
Test Driven Development tool: RSpec

Completed ‘Human Computer Interaction’ from Coursera

Completed ‘Human-Computer Interaction’ course offered by Scott Klemmer, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University. This course was offered through Coursera.org

The course started on 28th May and the duration was 5 weeks. It explored the design techniques and processes that help you build interfaces and technologies that bring people joy rather than frustration. Some of the contents I found similar to Mircosoft Silverlight learning site – Design toolbox. Overall it was a very good introduction to the way interfaces should be designed.

 

Completed ‘Machine Learning’ from Coursera

Completed ‘Machine Learning’ course offered by Andrew Ng, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University. This course was offered through Coursera.org

The course started on 23rd April and the duration was 10 weeks. It was an exhilarating opportunity to learn about this cutting edge field. The distinctive feature of the course was weekly programming assignments in Octave which were automatically evaluated by Coursera.org. Also the course was very well organized, we can expect that as it was offered by the co-founder of Coursera.