Cascading Prompts: The Next Generation of F4 Value Help Filtering

  • by Matt Vasey, SAP BI Lead Consultant, Enterprise Wide
  • September 20, 2017
Use native SAP HANA modelling techniques and enhancements to provide end users with a user-friendly, real-time variable selection process across massive amounts of data.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article, you will learn how to:

  • Model an extensible master data calculation view to provide fast and stable filtering of the value help List of Values
  • Consume SAP HANA calculation views as ABAP Dictionary objects through SAP BW to be consumed through enhanced F4_RESTRICT_Business Add-Ins (BAdIs)
  • Create and enhance current BEx queries to be used to capture user input via BEx variables  
  • Enhance RSR_VARIABLE_F4_RESTRICT_BAdIs to capture user prompt inputs from variables and return a specific filtered list of value help values
Key Concept

Achieving consistent and relevant user prompt selections across multiple BI front-end tools has been a key area for many BI implementations. Value help and the cascading filtering of a list of values have often been a limitation and complex area in SAP BW, particularly when large volumes of master data are present. A combination of native SAP HANA and SAP BW modelling can optimize and improve the SAP BW F4 value help across the SAP BW environment. 

A key area for many SAP BW and BI implementations centers on the user’s ability to drill down through various hierarchies—for example, time, product, or location—to output specific reporting information in a timely, usable, consistent manner. Traditionally, this process can be done via a prompt selection screen before the report run time to filter the report result set, or after the report run time, via numerous in-report filtering mechanisms such as drilling down through hierarchies.

Complex, flexible data structures, coupled with ever-growing data volumes, produce master data structures in the hundreds of million records, hindering users’ ability to achieve efficient filtering of prompts.

Traditionally, F4 variable input help returns a long list of unwanted values to the user. For example, if a specific vendor is entered via a variable and the next variable, such as product, is selected, you would retrieve a long list of unwanted products that is not specific to the vendor selected in the previous input.

In SAP BW, the introduction of RSR_VARIABLE_F4_RESTIRCT_BAdI helped to restrict the input help values from BW 7.01, but when filtering across large master data objects, this mechanism’s performance becomes suboptimal. Using the performance of SAP HANA calculation views, this now provides a user-friendly way to cascade filter SAP BW variables.

Matt Vasey

Matt Vasey is an SAP BI Lead Consultant for Enterprise Wide [] with experience across multiple industry areas. He is a BI architect and implementation specialist, involved in all parts of the project life cycle. Matt has an in-depth understanding of SAP BW, SAP HANA, and SAP BI, particularly in Design Studio and Web Intelligence. Matt has played a critical role in a number of global SAP BW on SAP HANA implementation projects, maximizing the optimal integration between SAP BW, SAP HANA, and SAP BI. 

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