Calculating Dates with Replacement Variables

  • by Raj Mani Thiyagarajan, SAP Certified BW Consultant, Kays Systems, Inc
  • April 1, 2004
This article provides useful information about how to perform calculations with date characteristics that are not defined as key figures. The author's technique can produce a report that shows the elapsed time between events - i.e., when a sales document is created and when it is billed. He walks you through six easy steps that calculate dates using replacement variables to represent dates as numbers.

In a number of business situations, it would be great to perform calculations with date characteristics that are not defined as key figures. This is possible in BW with a technique I developed. It uses replacement variables to represent dates as numbers. With these calculated key figures, users can then perform calculations to determine the period between events.

Consider this example: A time lag exists between when a sales document is created and when it is actually billed to the customer. The accounts receivable (A/R) manager wants to know how efficiently the company invoices customers and requests a report for each sales document displaying the date that a sales order was created, along with the actual bill date and how many days it took to bill the customer.

My technique allows you to provide the A/R manager with the required report. It is easy to use and should not require changes to the existing design of your InfoCubes or ODS files, because most InfoObjects are set up using a default that establishes a date as a characteristic. My method is ideal for item-level reporting, and you can extend its summarized reporting by evoking the Before Aggregation option for calculated key figures. It also eliminates some of the disadvantages of using key figures such as zero InfoCube compression.

I will show you how to employ my technique in a BW 3.1 environment. It will work in BW 2.x as well because variables also are available in the older system. It is end-user-friendly and requires no additional ABAP coding or other help from your Basis team.

Raj Mani Thiyagarajan

Raj Mani Thiyagarajan is an SAP Certified BW consultant with more than 3 years of experience implementing, mentoring, and teaching BW. He is the director of SAP Practice at Kays Systems Inc., and the author of BW Interview Questions and Answers Book.

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