Create Unparalleled Analytical Applications with SAP NetWeaver BI, Visual Composer, and Macromedia Flex

  • by Moya Watson, Information Developer — SAP NetWeaver, SAP Labs Palo Alto
  • Judy Kestecher, Information Development Lead — Visual Composer, SAP NetWeaver Product Management, SAP Labs Israel
  • January 1, 2006
Discover how Visual Composer allows you to create analytical applications without programming knowledge.
Key Concept
Also known as actionable dashboards and often confused with scorecards, floorplans, or cockpits, analytical applications allow business users to perform strategic, business-related functions. Key features of this type of program include easy navigation, graphical displays, drill-down menus, targeted content and display, proactive alerting and color coding to manage exceptions, speedometers and other graphical gadgets, collaborative capabilities like annotation, access to disparate sources, and links to reports, spreadsheets, and documents. An analytical application often includes additional data processing from more than one source, such as Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) in SAP NetWeaver BI for CRM.

Despite its many capabilities, SAP Web Application Designer (Web AD) limits the types of Web reports you can create. For instance, you must possess limited JavaScript and HTML skills to make interactive Web pages with user-friendly features. More importantly, you cannot efficiently access all data stored outside of BW, such as an Oracle BI data source or Microsoft Analysis Server.

In many situations, you can create more versatile analytical applications that compile data from various sources (such as BW) with little or no programming. SAP NetWeaver includes Visual Composer, a program that integrates with Macromedia Flex. Visual Composer Preliminary Version for Analytics is currently in pilot, introduced in October of 2005. SAP will release it in early 2006 as part of a Support Package for SAP NetWeaver 2004s. Visual Composer allows business developers to create analytical applications like the ones shown in Figure 1 that combine SAP technology with interactive Macromedia Flash Web applications, all in a low-footprint client that you run in a Web browser.

Moya Watson

Moya Watson is an information developer on the SAP NetWeaver development team at SAP Labs in Palo Alto, California. She brings more than a decade of Bay Area software technology experience to SAP, where she’s been responsible for writing for Java applications since 2001, and for BI integration in Visual Composer since 2003.

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Judy Kestecher

Judy Kestecher is an information developer in the SAP NetWeaver Product Management group located in Ranaana, Israel. In that capacity, she applies more than 20 years’ experience in technical writing and copywriting to challenges of documenting a range of SAP products, including Visual Composer and Master Data Management.

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