What We'll Cover... What is BEx Broadcaster and what can it do? The Broadcasting wizard Developer options for BEx Broadcaster How to manage the Broadcaster Making it work in real life — lessons learned Wrap-up 1
2 What Is BEx Information Broadcasting ? It’s a standard part of SAP BW 3.5 and the latest version of SAP NetWeaver. It lets you send “reports,” BEx queries, Workbooks, and Web Applications to a variety of recipients i.e: Email addresses, BW users, BW roles SAP Enterprise Portal Knowledge Management folders SAP Enterprise Portal Image: SAP AG
3 What Can BEx Information Broadcasting Do? Broadcasts can be configured to run: Once only On a scheduled basis (every day, week, month, e.g.) During specific timeslots defined by the administrator Or any time (if you allow) When an event occurs; i.e., when an “exception” occurs As part of a process chain You tell the system What to send A link to regenerate the query, etc. based on live data, or A standalone (precalculated) version of the item How to send it There are several format and compression options Key concept: push vs. pull — Broadcasting is a push tool
4 Why Is Broadcasting Important? 1. Reduces the time users spend looking for information 2. Improves the likelihood that users will use your BI data 3. Expands the reach of BI data to non-SAP users as well! 4. Makes BW data available for users on the go 5. Lets you link your BW and Portal systems together! 6. Lets users collaborate, integrate BW content with other enterprise and Web content, etc.! Image: SAP AG
Push vs. Pull: Change in Mentality Users have to change their mentality to stop reviewing everything that is business as usual. The push mentality requires that users plan for what is important to them and set up fixed sets of reports that are used to manage the business. In general, the push approach reduces the time users spend looking for information and provides them with more time to examine data that really matter to them. You should carefully consider using BEx Broadcaster for core reporting that users perform through any handheld computer device. This simplifies the security setup and also increases the speed of any report (does not access the source system through limited bandwidth). 5
SAP NetWeaver 7.0: New Object Types and Output Formats New object types You can broadcast BEx query views and formatted reports in addition to Web applications, queries, and workbooks. Reports are a new BEx object type developed within the new BEx Report Designer tool. New output formats New output formats are based on the distribution type you select. You now can broadcast Web documents as PDF files. 6
SAP NetWeaver 7.0: Distribution Types Distribution types You can broadcast to any printer using Adobe’s PDF, Property Specification Language (PSL), or PostScript (PS). Under this option, you can also control printer headers and footers as well. Hint: Set up the printers under Tools CCMS Print You can broadcast user-specific information based on attributes in the master data attributes using a distribution list in BI (bursting of emails). The system can control the information so that users only see data related to them. 7
SAP NetWeaver 7.0: Exception Broadcasting Exception broadcasting is now available in BEx Broadcaster. Create exceptions in Query Designer and select a distribution type in BEx Broadcaster. You can also use additional distributions types (subordinate) and create rules for when you monitor or execute the exception report. Base exceptions on single events or levels of any performance measure. Use multiple distribution types to create a setting that broadcasts via many channels (e.g., the printer and Enterprise Portal 6.0). 8 Key concepts: Don't spend time monitoring business as usual activities — only get alerted when exceptions occur. Don't search for exceptions — send them automatically.
9 BEx Broadcaster: Exception Reporting You can make BEx Broadcaster send you an exception report when an exception occurs or if the system reaches a certain level First, you have to define the exceptions for the query and make the exception active.
10 BEx Broadcaster: Exception Reporting (cont.) To manage all alerts and workflow tasks from a single location, integrate an alert with the SAP Portal’s 6.0 universal worklist (UWL) in the Central Alert Framework (CAF) of SAP NetWeaver Application Server. To do so, go to the Central Alert Server (use transaction code ALRTCATDEF). Under the General Precalculation tab, power users can use defined exceptions to send a broadcast only when the selected trigger point occurs. Note that you can use only those exceptions defined in the query in the broadcast settings here.
11 An Advanced Option: Inserting Text into the Alerts Using the Central Alert Server, by selecting the distribution type “Create Alert” and selecting the" Alert Category”, you can also insert text from BEx Broadcaster into the alerts to make them more relevant to the recipient.
12 SAP NetWeaver 7.0: Query Performance To increase the performance of key queries, you can fill the OLAP Cache or the MDX Cache. This is useful if you have large numbers of users accessing a query, or you have a query that accesses a high volume of data. The Fill Precalculation Store distribution type allows you to precalculate Web templates, and the Precalculate Value Set option allows you to fill precalculated value set variables with values for characteristic values. The precalculated value sets are then available as variable values in BEx queries. The Reporting Agent in SAP BW 3.x could precalculate the data of a template and access it through the URL. It could not broadcast queries, workbooks, or Web templates by email or to KM folders.
What We'll Cover... What is BEx Broadcaster and what can it do? The Broadcasting wizard Developer options for BEx Broadcaster How to manage the Broadcaster Making it work in real life — lessons learned Wrap-up 13
14 BEx Broadcasting Wizard Ad Hoc Scheduling Access BEx broadcasting wizard from the context menu in a query BEx broadcasting wizard is a tool for end users to distribute queries and workbooks to individuals or larger audiences through email, printers, or SAP NetWeaver Portal.
15 Output Formats: HTML HTML file Use this option to send a single HTML file (standard static Web page). This is an easy way to send Web pages to handheld devices (Blackberry or Pocket PCs, e.g.), and also to custom Web applications. The report is a snapshot rather than live data
16 Output Formats: XML You can now broadcast query output in Excel format (XML for MS Office) without using precalculation server (available as of Support Package 8). Any parser engine that can read the XML documents supports this format; you can also use it for customized Web development efforts.
17 Output Formats: MHTML HTML as Separate Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) Files Provides a set of individual files for each Web item in your report The benefit of this standard Web format option is that it optimizes reuse of objects, since images are cached in the browser after they are first accessed
18 Output Formats: Online Links to Current Data The link back to the online source requires recipients to log on with a username and a password to see the content, but the user can see the latest data. This is the most secure method for protecting the access to your data. However, the recipient must have online access to your system, a username, and password. The recipient may not see the same data as what you believe you sent, since the data may have been refreshed since you sent the broadcast.
19 Output Formats: PDF The use of PDF as a publishing and broadcasting option is new in SAP NetWeaver 7.0. To make it work, configure PDF broadcast Adobe Document Services (ADS) on the Java Stack. The output format determines how many steps the Wizard has (e.g., PDF involves 6 steps, while online links have 5).
20 Output Formats: ZIP Files Zipping files reduces the size and improves network traffic: It is very good for sets of MIME files, which are relatively large Not a good option for handhelds (requires unzipping and several read steps) Normally not needed for single HTML files unless the report is very long Reduces network traffic and the size of the mail in the mailboxes Pros: File size much smaller; cons: not as easy to use, since you have to unzip the file and need to license the unzip program
21 Identify Recipients and Enter a Message Enter one or more email addresses, a subject, and body. The importance level flags the email for delivery to your recipient. Click on Continue to save and schedule the broadcast to execute later. OR Click on Execute to execute the broadcast once only, during the next available processing window, and exit.
22 This is the name under which you store your settings If you want to execute this broadcast more than once with these settings you can save them You can retrieve the settings later Define groups of settings for reports you send repeatedly (e.g., weekly status reports, month-end financial reports, etc.) Define a Name for the Broadcast Setting
23 Tell the System When to Schedule the Broadcast You can schedule the job to run every time the InfoCube is changed (the process chain has run) You can limit the users to when they can schedule jobs to avoid stress on the system. We can provide multiple predefined times when they can schedule the reports. You can also allow the users to create their own scheduling times (only authorized users see this) Developers should set up predefined time windows for scheduling broadcasts
What We'll Cover... What is BEx Broadcaster and what can it do? The Broadcasting wizard Developer options for BEx Broadcaster How to manage the Broadcaster Making it work in real life — lessons learned Wrap-up 24
25 Another level of access There are several other advanced options that developers can use to setup background jobs and to control who can access the Broadcaster Plan on training your Power users to know more than just the basics We will now take a look at the most common tasks
26 BEx Broadcaster Business typically give access to this tool to the power users or developers only, since it has more options and requires slightly more skills Access via Web Application Designer (Web AD) or Query Designer SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Query Designer SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Web AD
27 Regular Scheduling by Power Users Using BEx Broadcaster The output formats are the same as in Broadcasting Wizard But you can also “burst” the Broadcasts
28 Bursting Broadcasts If selected, everyone gets the same broadcast Here we can make the broadcasts contain only data that is relevant to each specific user The Country manager stored here is Masterdata and the attribute for the country manger contains the email address where we are sending the Broadcast On the conference CD I have included detailed, step-by-step descriptions and scenarios on how to set up bursting
29 Determine the Recipient of Bursted Broadcasts These fields determine the recipients in bursting of reports (mass broadcasts with user-specific views) In this example, I am bursting emails based on the company code and sending specific mailings based on each receiver's country (the BI system has to store the email address)
30 Select Characteristic Values You can determine the broadcast based on predefined selections, or you can use a control query to determine the characteristics values to include in the broadcast. Set the standard template for broadcasting from SAP Reference IMG SAP Customizing Implementation Guide SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence Reporting-Relevant Settings BEx Web Set Standard Web Templates
31 Filter Navigation Tab If you precalculate the queries, you can allow the recipient to navigate the reports by the characteristics you select. The more items you include, the larger the size of the broadcast items. This is not a problem if you are mailing to a few of users, but for thousands of users daily, you should select these items carefully. The benefit of the Filter Navigation tab is that you can select which items you want to enable without having to create new queries
32 Why Broadcast to SAP Enterprise Portal (5.0 and Later Portal Versions) vs. Email? More powerful Users can comment, rate, and discuss the broadcasted assets You can place the assets in iViews on cockpits/dashboards You can integrate the assets with other portal content Portal users without a BW user ID can now access BW content SAP Search and Classification (TREX) searches include broadcasted assets More user friendly Users can subscribe/unsubscribe themselves Easier, more flexible administration You can leverage the portal’s access control lists/capabilities No email address lists to maintain (users [un]subscribe) Avoids the email glut, and the BW/network performance hit!
33 Options for Broadcasting to the Portal The broadcast options are similar to the email distribution. You have several choices: 1 - Deploy via KM Favorites 4 - Deploy via the BW showcase role 2 - Deploy via a KM folder 5 - Deploy via custom iViews 3 - Deploy via Collaboration Rooms There is a demo role available since SAP Enterprise Portal 6.0. You can use this role for your publishing to the portal or enhance it any way you like. The portal role is available under com.sap.ip.bi.business_explorer_showcase You can broadcast the content to the portal at fixed intervals and have the content instantly available through independent Web pages. You can also broadcast to the portal through links back to your system.
What We'll Cover... What is BEx Broadcaster and what can it do? The Broadcasting wizard Developer options for BEx Broadcaster How to manage the Broadcaster Making it work in real life — lessons learned Wrap-up 34
35 Security and Access Settings Controlling which users can schedule ad hoc or through BEx Broadcaster is a critical maintenance issue You can control the user's ability to schedule the reports through the authorization object S_RS_BCS The administrator still uses the standard S_RS_ADMWB object In SAP NetWeaver 7.0 You also have new broadcast settings for the RSADMWBOBJ field, including: Maintain/Delete (23) Display (03) Execute/Schedule (16)
36 New Broadcasting Administration Interface in SAP NetWeaver 7.0 News: With SAP NetWeaver 7.0, there is a new transaction RSRD_ADMIN (or RSA1 Administration Broadcasting) where you can manage BEx Broadcaster
37 Output Formats Distribution Types Broadcast Types New Broadcasting Administration Interface Features
38 Monitor Schedules in Broadcasting Administration The Broadcasting Administration allows you to monitor and see who is scheduling what and if some times are more heavily utilized than others (e.g., 7 to 8 am). This is a great tool to help balance stress on the system.
39 Reorganize Bookmarks with Broadcasting Administration Reorganize and delete bookmark IDs and view IDs that the system created for Information Broadcasting but no longer needs
40 Manage Broadcast Logs RSRD_LOG displays all logs for BEx Broadcaster settings. Logs are only written for scheduled settings and not for directly executed settings. You can also use RSBCSRE03 to delete email logs that BEx Broadcaster created In large BI systems with many users and frequent broadcasts, the logs can be really big, so you should delete them periodically
41 Execute and Debug Using transaction RSRD_START, you can execute (and therefore debug for test purposes) any settings Make sure to activate the indicator for executing settings online
42 Create Jobs to Run After Other Jobs or Defined Events The best approach is to create time points (periodic broadcasts) as the default broadcasting option Link a job to another job to create set of events that allows the scheduler to build complex broadcast rules that may be hard to maintain (and understand)
43 Creating Process Chains and Time Points You can assign broadcast events to process chains. First you create a variant with and assign it to the InfoCube. The event in the process chain triggers the broadcast event. Creating time points You can create background jobs (transaction SM36) to schedule any jobs starting with the text "TP_BROADCASTING_". This allow users to broadcast at certain time points. In SM36, start the condition, select the date and time when the job starts, select the periodic flag and define it as hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or other. Time points control when end users can schedule broadcasts. This avoids heavy scheduling during data loads or times when many users access the system.
44 Create Time Points Create background jobs using transaction SM36 to schedule any jobs starting with the text "TP_BROADCASTING_"
45 Create Time Points (cont.) You can create empty periodic jobs, that the broadcasting wizard will later associate with queries
47 Reporting Agent Is Dead — Don’t Use It! IMPORTANT: “Old Reporting Agent scenarios still run in SAP NetWeaver 7.0. However, Reporting Agent will not be developed any further and is removed from SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Workbench. You can now only reach Reporting Agent using transaction code REPORTING_AGENT” SAP
48 Prerequisites for Workbook Precalculation 1. MS Office XP (or.NET framework version 1.1 or later) 2. MS Excel 2000 (or later) 3. SAP BW workbook precalculation services Note: servers with this installed will be visible under the transaction RSPRECADMIN and you can also perform server load balancing 4. SAPGUI 6.20/6.40 with BEx This is not needed for standard broadcasting of Web queries or web applications, only for workbooks. Note: can you avoid the precalculation server if you send broadcasts as “XML for Excel” available in Service Pack 8 for SAP NetWeaver 7.0
49 Prerequisites for Workbook Precalculation (cont.) Use transaction RSPRECADMIN in BW Administrator Workbench to reach the precalculation settings Hardware requirements vary depending on: Volume of data being broadcast Data formats Channels Number of users Type of queries or workbooks Broadcast frequency SAP provides no detailed recommendations
What We'll Cover... What is BEx Broadcaster and what can it do? The Broadcasting wizard Developer options for BEx Broadcaster How to manage the Broadcaster Making it work in real life — lessons learned Wrap-up 50
51 Decide Who Should Be Allowed to Do What: Governance Council There are many options and decisions to make about who should be able to access all the broadcast features. A good approach to decide who gets access and also when to create any time points is to create a governance council of a few managers and developers. Power users Regular users AuthorsDevelopers BW Admins Portal Email Process chains Schedule using preset time points Free schedule One-time BEx Broadcaster BEx broad- casting wizard Scheduling Tools Target - / - - --- - - /
52 Spam Filters and Server Blockers Review regularly to make sure that mail systems such as Yahoo, Google, AOL, Microsoft, and others have not flagged all your emails as spam Spam filters may automatically block users who create a high volume of emails in the browsers and mail servers. You have to make sure that the internal email system flags you as a valid email broadcaster.
53 Manage Time Points Be careful to not add all your broadcasts to the end of process chains. Long process chains may slow down the load processing of large systems with hundreds of InfoCubes. Good time points may be 6–8 am when the load jobs are finished and before a large numbers of users accesses the system. The key is to balance the times when users can execute jobs. If you do not carefully manage this, users tend to schedule their broadcasts between 7 and 9 am Another good time may be at the end of week or monthly loads on the weekend (i.e., Saturday or Sunday mornings).
54 Avoid Volumes of Junk Users tend to schedule queries for distribution and never disable the schedule after it has started to run. This creates mountains of junk that few actually use. Users who don't want a broadcast tend to simply delete it, or automatically remove the email. So, how do you know if anyone reads the broadcasts? Developers should perform a periodic review of scheduled broadcasts to see if there are any candidates for deletion
55 How to Stop Volumes of Junk: Monitor Broadcasts Establish a process to review and control internal spam kings Use transactions SCOT and SOST to monitor SMTP mails
56 KPI and Exception Reporting A major challenge in setting up the BI Broadcaster for exception reporting is the definition of what an exception is. Set this up in the query, and BEx Broadcaster uses it. If the query does not define the exception the way that a user wants it, it is not available to broadcast as an exception. Exception reporting requires that users execute and evaluate a query to see whether to broadcast it. This overhead can be substantial if you have a high number of users monitoring different queries.
What We'll Cover... What is BEx Broadcaster and what can it do? The Broadcasting wizard Developer options for BEx Broadcaster How to manage the Broadcaster Making it work in real life — lessons learned Wrap-up 57
58 Resources COMERIT (presentations, articles, accellerators) www.comerit.net Broadcaster at International Paper, ASUG 2006 – Dr. Berg & Joyce Butler http://csc studentweb.lrc.edu/swp/Berg/Articles/ASU G-2006-v6.ppt
59 Resources (cont.) BEx Broadcaster including BI 7.0 new features – Dr. Berg & Filip Lemmens http://csc studentweb.lrc.edu/swp/Berg/Articles/Portal s_2006_Broadcaster_v19.ppt SAP BEx Broadcaster: How to make it work in practice – Dr. Berg http://csc studentweb.lrc.edu/swp/Berg/articles/broad caster_v15.ppt
7 Key Points to Take Home Do not schedule all your broadcasts after a process chain has completed: It may slow down nightly data loads Control the times users can run reports to avoid high stress on the system Segment the broadcast tools based on the user roles and level of training Monitor the logs carefully and make sure that you control spam kings Do not give free scheduling to a high number of users Be aware that spam filters may catch many of your broadcasts If you are not on SAP NetWeaver 7.0, seriously consider an upgrade and stop using Reporting Agent 60
61 Your Turn! Dr. Bjarne Berg Director of BI, Comerit Inc. Bberg@comerit.net