Extending the Capabilities of the
SAP BusinessObjects Information Design Tool: A Pioneering Achievement

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Better Together

GB & Smith has a close and collaborative relationship with SAP. Last year, we came up with the innovative idea to create 360Suite extensions for the SAP BusinessObjects Information Design Tool (IDT). You probably already know that IDT is an SAP BusinessObjects metadata design environment that enables designers to extract, define, and manipulate metadata from relational and OLAP sources to create and deploy SAP BusinessObjects Universes. Universes are, of course, a flagship part of the SAP BusinessObjects product family, providing an easy to use and understand interface for non-technical Web Intelligence users to run queries against a database to create reports and perform data analysis. Thanks to the support of our colleagues at SAP Labs, a 360Suite extension for IDT is available starting with the release of BI 4.2 SP07. It’s a pioneering effort that proves there’s strength in numbers, and two heads are better than one.

What’s The Big Idea?

The big idea was to create extensions for IDT so 360Suite customers can take advantage of SAP’s semantic layer tools through 360Vers — one of many 360Suite solutions. The goal was to better orchestrate the edit/change activities undertaken by IDT developers and to improve version control with a check-out/check-in process. And we’re happy to announce that the first 360Suite IDT extension is complete! The best part of our design is that users can do everything inside IDT, without needing to employ another application within SAP BusinessObjects.

Nuts and Bolts

The IDT extension contained in our 360Vers solution is based on a check-out/check-in methodology. Before making changes to an existing Universe that can be accessed by other BI users, apply the check-out option to lock it. This initiates the version control process, and prevents other users from changing the same Universe at the same time. After making changes, apply the check-in option to unlock the Universe. Subsequent users will see a version number associated with the name of the person who made the last change, the date of the last change, and comments about the change. (Note that a complete change history is available on the 360Suite web platform.)

System Specifications

Supported SAP BusinessObjects BI VersionSAP BI 4.2 SP07
Required 360Suite Module360Vers
Supported Universe TypeUNX Universes

Leading by Example

Here’s an example of the workflow. Let’s assume you have an SAP BusinessObjects Universe named “efashion.unx”. Your aim is to update the formula of one of the measures called “Sales Revenue” and keep track of this change for future reference. Here are the steps you would take to check-out (lock) the Universe before making the change and check-in (unlock) the Universe afterward.

Check-out

Before making the change, right click on “efashion.unx” and select the “Check-out” option;

efashion-check-out-version-0-a

Check-in

After making the change, right click on “efashion.unx” and select the “Check-in” option. Next, enable “Change version” and enter text about the change in the “Comment” box;

check-in-version-efashion-0-a

Note that selecting the “Check-in” option assigns a new version number to the Universe;

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Here’s an example of the Version Information before and after updating and versioning the “efashion.unx” Universe.

Before

efashion-unx-version-information-0-a

After

efashion-unx-version-information-1-a

Onwards and Upwards

The 360Vers IDT extension is an easy-to-use version control solution from GB & Smith that further enhances the value of using SAP BusinessObjects IDT. It highlights the depth of our commitment to SAP and represents the first step in a new direction. Ultimately, we hope to enhance the capabilities of our IDT extension and develop additional extensions. The sky’s the limit!

Have you tried the 360Vers IDT extension? If so, let us know what you think! If not, contact us for more information or a free trial.

Note:

  • BusinessObjects Universe and Information Design Tool are trademarks owned by SAP.
  • 360Vers is a trademark owned by GB&SMITH.

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