Bringing Web Intelligence to Life with User-Definable Inputs

  • by David Allison, SAP BI Consultant, Bluefin Solutions, Ltd.
  • September 6, 2011
Find out how to simply implement user-definable inputs that can be used within SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence reports so users can take advantage of dynamic values needed for more interactive reporting.
Key Concept

Input controls are a feature that BusinessObjects introduced in version 3.1, Service Pack 2, that allow users to interact with report and charts through widgets. Users can choose between single option and multiple option widgets such as text fields, radio buttons, and list boxes. The out-of-the-box concept for input controls is to simply restrict datasets without the need to refresh the data, and there are also ways to expand on this functionality.

When working with business reports there can be a requirement to have elements within the report manipulated by the users. For example, if the production costs of a product are cut by 5 percent, it is useful to determine how a division’s quarterly forecasts react. Or perhaps a sales director wishes to apply varying thresholds for alerters to highlight differing sales representatives’ performances.

The ability to create this interactivity is not available through out-of-the-box content. However, with creative universe planning and standard Web Intelligence coding, those users with a basic understanding of Web Intelligence and universes can accomplish this interactivity to great effect, taking Web Intelligence reports to a new level. Let’s find out how to do this without affecting the existing dataset.

In this article I look at two methods:

  • Using input controls, which may not be available to all – This method is achievable by a report writer with basic knowledge of creating variables
  • Using dummy measures and prompts to allow a user to input values during the refresh stage of running a report – This method is more in depth and aimed at those of you with a version of Web Intelligence prior to version 3.1, Service Pack 2

Each method has its pros and cons to consider.

David Allison

David Allison is an SAP business analytics and technology consultant at Bluefin Solutions, a large independent SAP consultancy in the UK. He has six years’ experience within the sector in both support and project work through multiple life-cycles, focusing on both front-end report building and usability as well data modeling.

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