BI Report Text Searching in the Semantic Layer Without Duplications

  • by Pinckney Ma, Independent Consultant
  • Luke Ma Sun, Independent SAP BI Consultant
  • June 10, 2015
Learn a new method for automatically aggregating data that replaces the laborious task of manually aggregating this kind of data. This technique generates additional new semantic levels of characteristics as description keys. Using these new semantic characteristic keys, users can easily generate reports with any existing descriptive text without duplications.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article you will learn how to:

  • Find which semantic keys need to be created in the main master data
  • Create semantic key InfoObjects
  • Populate the semantic key values in master data
  • Insert semantic keys into reports to prevent duplicate rows
Key Concept

A semantic type key is defined for report display. It grants unique key values for the exact same text string. In this way, when text searching, the same text string is aggregated into one row due to its unique value of semantic key.

Text searching is a common requirement for businesses. However, text display characteristic keys generate duplicative rows in reports, requiring business users to have to do additional manual aggregation. I show a new method for aggregating data using semantic keys that automatically eliminates duplicative rows. Because semantic keys give unique key values for the same text strings, when text searching is performed, the same text string is aggregated into one row due based on this unique key.

Although an SAP CRM example is used in this paper, the concept can be easily extended to all other modules. This technique generates additional new semantic levels of characteristics as description keys. By using these new semantic characteristic keys, business users can generate reports with any existing descriptive text without duplications.

I use a hardware producer as my example. In this scenario, the products are laptops and PCs, and XP or Windows 7 is the software installed on them. If there are issues with the products, and they are caused by the OS compatibility or OS itself, then the ticket registrar considers the issue symptoms with regard to the OS and further traces the issue to see which OS (XP or Windows 7) caused the problem.

The main purpose of BI reports is to provide intuitive and clear enterprise production issues that, in turn, help top-level management efficiently guide and control production quality and quantity. A BI report usually displays (or is drilled down to) characteristic symptom category keys, product keys, and component keys. However, the business team and managers do not care about these technical keys. Sometimes they just need answers to simple questions, such as “How many units have failures in OS XP or Windows 7 when customers open the shipping boxes?” or “How many units have failures on OS XP?”

To get the answers to these types of questions, you cannot just run BI reports because all BI reports usually use characteristic keys for presenting, filtering, and drilling down. The reports do not support searches that use text such as XP or Windows 7. To obtain corresponding text string-related data such as this, business users need to manually aggregate data from duplicated rows for the text strings with certain characteristics into a single row. The aggregation is based on the same text descriptions, and the data is obtained by downloading reports to Excel files or by using analyzer-generated workbooks. Therefore, the workload is a big burden for the business users.

Pinckney Ma

Pinckney Ma is an independent SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (SAP NetWeaver BW) consultant. Previously, he worked as a senior consultant at BearingPoint and Knightbridge. Pinckney is certified in SAP BW 3.5 and SAP NetWeaver BW 7.0. He earned his Ph.D in computer engineering and has 20 years of IT experience, including over 10 years in data warehouse and SAP NetWeaver BW implementation experience. He has worked on SAP NetWeaver BW implementations in many areas, as well as other SAP modules including FI, CO, profitability analysis (CO-PA), sales and distribution (SD/OTC), Advanced Planning & Optimization (APO), materials management (MM), SAP BusinessObjects Global Trade Services, and Flexible Real Estate Management (RE-FX).

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Luke Ma Sun

Luke Sun is an independent SAP BI consultant. He is certified in Business Intelligence with SAP NetWeaver 7.0 and Application Associate – SAP HANA.  He has over 5 years of experiences in various SAP BW and BI implementation and support projects.

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