Business Content — SAP HANA Style

  • by Ned Falk, Senior Education Consultant, SAP
  • Haran Vinayagalingam, Principal Consultant, SAP HANA COE
  • October 11, 2012
The concept of business content in SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW) does not exactly exist in the SAP HANA world. Instead, SAP provides Rapid Deployment Solutions (RDS) for SAP HANA. This option provides content and consulting services to enact a quicker implementation. Although it is possible to access the models used in the Operational Reporting RDS for SAP HANA directly, the packaged solution gets you up and running more quickly. Learn how to access the advantages of using this delivered content with HANA in a manner similar to what you've done with delivered content in SAP NetWeaver BW.
Key Concept

The Operational Reporting Rapid Deployment Solution for SAP HANA provides consulting and modeling content for a faster implementation of a pre-defined scope for your SAP HANA project.

All SAP products can potentially be run on or be accelerated by SAP HANA, thereby eliminating or circumventing the traditional disk-based databases. For example, running SAP NetWeaver BW on SAP HANA accelerates data loads and significantly reduces report run time. A number of SAP HANA accelerators (e.g., COPA or FICO) enable existing SAP applications to accelerate run times. You can also run standalone HANA instances to store and retrieve large amounts of data in real time with SAP HANA. While you could implement all your business functions in SAP HANA, many companies instead opt for a smaller-scale approach by using the Operational Reporting Rapid Deployment Solution (RDS).

Most companies implementing SAP HANA want to get the new system up and running quickly. For those familiar with BW, the use of SAP-delivered content allows for a quick implementation, complete with extraction and BW targets (e.g., InfoCubes, DataStore objects). In a similar way, you can use the SAP HANA Operational Reporting RDS content to accelerate the SAP HANA implementation. It has analogous goals and use cases previously applied to BW projects now in the context of SAP HANA. 

The Operational Reporting RDS is designed not only to push forward an SAP HANA project, but also to serve as a baseline for future growth and SAP HANA development. Because the technology is different, the implementation content for SAP HANA is offered as a part of the RDS. The RDS is designed for companies that are planning to use SAP HANA for operational reporting needs. Specifically, the Operational Reporting RDS for SAP HANA includes reports from various functional areas, such as sales and distribution, finance, materials management, and master data management. For a complete list, see Figure 1. The content and deliverables are essentially fixed, as SAP needs to define a limited scope and specific deliverables to ensure a cost-effective, timely implementation.


Figure 1
Implementation content for the Operational Reporting RDS (courtesy SAP)

Like BW content, the benefit of Operational Reporting RDS content is that it forms the basis for future SAP HANA enhancements. You can reuse the content or enhance it to better serve your needs. This delivered content sets the naming standards and object management standards. You should copy this content and enhance it as needed to suit the needs of your business use case; especially as improvements are made to the content with future RDS releases. We’ll take you through the content involved in the Operational Reporting RDS as well as landscape information and a typical implementation plan.

Operational Reporting RDS SAP HANA Models

The Operational Reporting RDS package includes pre-built SAP HANA models, SAP BusinessObjects reports, how-to guides, configuration guides, and test scripts. You can use these guides as best practice documents for custom development. The main deliverables are pre-built SAP HANA models, which consist of attribute views, analytical views, and calculation views:

  • Attribute views not only include a list of master data (e.g., tables KNA1, LFA1, MARA) but also combine relevant attributes and text tables to form complete details surrounding the master data. Several standard reports are offered as part of the master data, which includes customer list, vendor list, material master list, and others. You can use these master data reports instead of standard SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) reports (e.g., Customer List S_ALR_87012179, List of Customer Addresses S_ALR_87012180, Vendor List S_ALR_87012086). It is important to note here that these master data reports are based on SAP HANA and are real-time enabled. Unlike ECC reports, they can be customized by business users with minimal or no effort.
  • Analytical views are primarily reflective of transactional data (e.g., sales order, billing document details, general ledger postings, inventory movements, vendor spend analysis). These are typical day-to-day reports used by different business environments to manage day-to-day operations. These reports are real time, combine various business aspects to provide meaningful information, and are built on flexible BW tools. The attribute views combine larger fact tables (e.g., VBAK, BSEG, VBAK, LISI) as well as master data to form detailed transactional reports.
  • Calculation views can be graphical or script views with an emphasis on reporting performance. Many of the attribute views use master data (e.g., customer, vendor, material, general ledger). You can reuse the attribute views for other reporting areas (e.g., CRM, SRM, APO) as well.

Operational Reporting RDS models also consist of a number of calculation views, which provide complex reporting scenarios (e.g., inventory movements, general ledger line item details). As time goes on, the Operational Reporting RDS content evolves — for example, the newest content incorporates graphical calculation views that improve reporting performance significantly.

BusinessObjects-Related Content

Another significant part of Operational Reporting RDS includes SAP BusinessObjects content. This includes universes based on BusinessObjects BI 4.0. From the user-facing side of BusinessObjects, the Operational Reporting RDS for SAP HANA provides security roles, Crystal Reports, BusinessObjects Dashboards, Web Intelligence reports, and BusinessObjects Explorer Information Spaces. There is an equal number of Web Intelligence and Crystal Reports in the content library. You can create the Explorer reports on SAP HANA without any semantic layers (universes), but the Web Intelligence and Crystal content is universe-based and sourced from SAP HANA models.

There are three dashboards that are the flagship reports of the Operational Reporting RDS. From a functional perspective, these dashboards include a number of key performance indicators, and from a technical perspective, they are designed with the latest BusinessObjects approach, using direct query binding to dashboard components. Also, a user can use dashboards to jump to either Crystal or WebI reports (report-to-report jump). The security roles delivered along with the content are primarily menu-based security; these roles are designed based on a user job function (e.g., finance analyst, sales clerk). There are no standard BusinessObjects roles or analytical privileges delivered for row-level security.

SAP HANA Operational Reporting RDS Landscape

The Operational Reporting RDS requires SAP HANA 1.0 with the latest SAP HANA revision, SAP Landscape Transformation (SLT), SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0, and SAP ECC as the source system. It provides the engine to replicate real-time data from ECC into SAP HANA. SLT can be standalone or be part of an existing SAP NetWeaver instance, such as Solution Manager. However, the recommended method is to use a standalone SLT instance for performance and management reasons. The typical landscape is shown in Figure 2


Figure 2
A suggested landscape for an Operational Reporting RDS implementation

Implementation Considerations

There are certain use cases you should consider prior to implementing the Operational Reporting RDS. The Operational Reporting RDS for general ledger reporting requires new general ledger tables, such as FAGLFLEXA, which is only active if the ECC system is configured for the new general ledger. A company that is using a classic GL model requires further customization on a standard RDS. Another project-specific issue crops up when there are tables with large volumes of data. For this situation, the project might consider partitioning them in SAP HANA and indexing them in ECC to improve the load and reporting performance. More than 100 tables need to be replicated for the Operational Reporting RDS. Therefore, the data volume for these tables has to be factored in for the project duration.

As we mentioned earlier, RDS contents include configuration guides for each reporting area. The configuration guides detail any type of configuration needed for BI reports, such as mapping of chart of accounts, account group mappings, changing report logos, and building Explorer information spaces. Along with configuration guides, a number of other guides describe the SAP HANA models and BusinessObjects reports in detail. These additional guides include a list of source tables, purpose of reports, corresponding ECC transactions reports, and details of logic built into the models and reports.

The RDS content also includes detailed, step-by-step test scripts that are useful for testing and to understand the content. These scripts include ECC transactions or reports to create or reconcile data for testing. You should not only test the data accuracy, but also test delta records by creating additional data during the testing process to ensure the SLT works as it is configured.

The basic steps of an Operational Reporting RDS implementation of SAP HANA are:

  1. Install and configure the SAP HANA hardware.
  2. Install the SLT server. This is done by the Basis (SAP NetWeaver) team, and is similar to any other NetWeaver installation.
  3. Configure an ECC-SLT-HANA connection. The SAP HANA technical architect needs to set up a Remote Function Call (RFC) between ECC and SLT, and then a database connection between SLT and SAP HANA. Then the architect can set up the schema and initiate table replication.
  4. Download RDS objects from SAP Service Marketplace. These objects include RDS installation methodology and documents, an SAP HANA RDS model (.tgz file), and an RDS business object (BIAR file).
  5. Replicate and create required tables.
  6. Set up a time dimension.
  7. Import and activate SAP HANA models.
  8. Import BusinessObjects objects and configure the connections.
  9. Validate the reports.

During the planning process, consider these points:

  1. Customization. If the standard RDS content requires enhancement to suit your reporting needs, the enhancement requires additional time. Consider if you require new tables to be replicated, SAP HANA models or reports that need enhancements, or if any enhancements require additional testing.
  2. Table replication. Factor in the source system size. Certain tables (e.g., BSEG, FAGLFLEXA) may require additional time for initial replication, so you should factor them into the project plan.
  3. Security. Standard RDS content delivers BusinessObjects roles. However, if you need additional security, you can develop a customized solution and add it to the project plan.
Note
Using the Operational Reporting RDS on an SAP HANA environment requires the support team to have experience in SLT, SAP HANA, and BusinessObjects environments.

To download RDS content and customize it to your needs, go to https://websmp208.sap-ag.de/support. Under the Browse our Download Catalog node of the SAP Software Download Center, click SAP Rapid Deployment solutions (Figure 3). Click SAP HANA OR RDS v2.10 (Figure 4). Click 50110261 and find the .LCMBRAR file for BusinessObjects reporting and a .TGZ file for SAP HANA models (Figure 5).


Figure 3
RDS content access


Figure 4
Select SAP HANA OR RDS v2.10


Figure 5
Download object 50110261

Ned Falk

Ned Falk is a senior education consultant at SAP. In prior positions, he implemented many ERP solutions, including SAP R/3. While at SAP, he initially focused on logistics. Now he focuses on SAP HANA, SAP BW (formerly SAP NetWeaver BW), SAP CRM, and the integration of SAP BW and SAP BusinessObjects tools. You can meet him in person when he teaches SAP HANA, SAP BW, or SAP CRM classes from the Atlanta SAP office, or in a virtual training class over the web. If you need an SAP education plan for SAP HANA, SAP BW, BusinessObjects, or SAP CRM, you may contact Ned via email.

See more by this author

You may contact the author at ned.falk@sap.com.

If you have comments about this article or publication, or would like to submit an article idea, please contact the editor.

Haran Vinayagalingam

Haran Vinayagalingam is a Practice Lead with  SAP’s HANA Services Center of Excellence team. He is a certified HANA architect with experience implementing SAP HANA and SAP BW on HANA for large-scale enterprises. Along with numerous SAP HANA implementation experiences, he is the North American solution-delivery owner for SAP HANA Live.

See more by this author

You may contact the author at haran.vinayagalingam@sap.com.

If you have comments about this article or publication, or would like to submit an article idea, please contact the editor.


Comments

4/3/2013 2:18:36 PM
Haran

1)
a) First check to see if you have the correct schema mapping - please refer to installation guide
b) Confirm you have the correct underlying tables for each HANA model
c) confirm you have the appropriate privilege to activate contents.

2) Once you import the contents it should publish itself. LCMBIAR file has folders with links for each operational RDS reports, once you assign the folders to users they will be able to see them in the launch pad.
3/29/2013 2:22:19 PM
Ned

Lynn, It could be many issues.. mostly I would guess centered arround privliges... That said, the main focus of RDS, is condensed pre-packaged solutions and consulting. Unfortunately I work for SAP !!. When you do it yourself, it is harder, yet when it all works you will be a much better person for it:).
3/28/2013 2:49:18 AM
Lynn

Kindly advise, I have 2 issues as below.
1. After import Model file into HANA Studio. Which failed to open AN, AT and CA view. What is the proper step to ratifies the error accordingly.
2. After import LCMBIAR file in CMC promotion management, What is the following step to publish the Operating Reports in BI platform.
3/28/2013 2:48:03 AM
Lynn

Kindly advise, I have 2 issues as below.
1. After import Model file into HANA Studio. Which failed to open AN, AT and CA view. What is the proper step to ratifies the error accordingly.
2. After import LCMBIAR file in CMC promotion management, What is the following step to publish the Operating Reports in BI platform.

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