Home Page Framework Integrates Your Dashboards for Easy User Access

  • by Brian Hether, Manager of Data Warehousing, The Washington Post
  • November 1, 2007
A home page framework links your dashboards and BW tools such as BEx Browser and BEx Analyzer. This framework offers some portal benefits to those who have not yet implemented SAP NetWeaver Portal. Find out how to create the home page framework and set up your dashboards so your users can quickly switch from the dashboards to the BW tools.
Key Concept

SAP provides several tool sets to organize information for users, including BEx Browser for query access; BEx Analyzer to analyze queries in Microsoft Excel; BEx Web Analyzer to display query results and schedule queries to run; and Web Application Designer to create HTML-based Web templates and dashboards to display query results.

Providing quick and easy access to key information when you are supporting many departments can be challenging. How do you organize access to 500 different queries so all parts of the business have the same ability to zero in on what they need? One way is to develop an indexed home page from which the users can jump into subsequent levels of detailed information. From this home page, you can present users with answers and make it easier for them to find additional information.

For example, when reviewing data in dashboards users may need to access tools such as BEx Browser, BEx Analyzer, BEx Web Analyzer, and Web Application Designer (Web AD). The basic dilemma is that these tools are not integrated in a way that allows users to navigate seamlessly among them. You can go to BEx Browser, run a query, and end up in BEx Web Analyzer. However, you cannot then go to a dashboard. From a dashboard you can see query results, but you can’t return to BEx Web Analyzer or BEx Browser.

When designing a solution to overcome this, I had several other factors to consider at my company — we did not have SAP NetWeaver Portal to integrate the tools, we wanted zero footprint (no additional software installed on users’ desktops), and the access and navigation steps for the users had to be easy. The home page frame­work satisfies those needs and provides a way for users to navigate between the BW tools and dashboards. To see how this option compares with using a portal, see the sidebar, “Using a Home Page URL vs. SAP NetWeaver Portal.”

First I’ll explain how to set up the home page framework, and then I’ll show you how to organize multiple master dashboards using Web AD and BEx Web Analyzer in BW 3.5. The master dashboard allows users to view query results from the first few tabs and run queries from the last tab, which then renders results in BEx Web Analyzer. From here, they can click on the Go to Analytics Home Page link to return to the home page to choose a different dashboard. Users cannot get lost or stuck in a dead-end with this framework because both the master dashboard and BEx Web Analyzer have links to take them back to the Analytics home page.

Brian Hether

Brian Hether is the manager of data warehousing at The Washington Post. He has 17 years of data warehousing experience, most recently with SAP NetWeaver BW, helping take the system live in 2007. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a master’s degree in information systems, and a professional development certification in business administration from Georgetown University.

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