How to Report What Hasn't Been Selling

  • by Robert Oliver, Investment Banking IT
  • October 1, 2004
BW reports are great for situations when things are in flux, but what happens when conditions are static? You can deliver sales figures, for example, for products that are selling but it's more difficult to report on products that are not moving. Because you can use a MultiProvider that employs InfoObjects as InfoProviders, BW 3.x provides the technology. Here's what you need to do to set up the objects in the Administrator Workbench and create the queries in the BEx Query Designer to generate these types of reports.
Key Concept
When activated as an InfoProvider, InfoObjects have default key figure Number of Records, which has a one value for each record in the master data table. Designing a query that includes the Number of Records value allows you to more accurately report on dynamic business situations.

During my first BW implementation in 1999, one of the critical questions that cropped up was: “Gee that’s a great system, but can it tell us what we’re not selling?” The company was interested in sales figures, but it also wanted to identify what products were not moving as well as those customers that weren’t buying. It could then determine why and remedy the situation. For various reasons, both system and budgetary, the team I was on five years ago was unable to deliver this type of reporting with BW 1.2B. The question, however, stuck with me.

Recently, the business at my current employer made me revisit the issue. This time, with a little ingenuity and the feature set offered in BW 3.x, I discovered that it’s a simple process to track what’s selling and what’s not. By using an InfoObject as an InfoProvider, I found a key figure value that supports reporting on items that do not have values posted against them.

The approach is based on a feature in BW 3.x that allows the use of InfoObjects as InfoProviders, and is accomplished in four basic steps:

Robert Oliver

Robert Oliver is an SAP BI developer working for an investment bank in London. He has been working with SAP R/3 since 1994 and SAP NetWeaver BW since 1999. Since 2005 he has been working with the planning and consolidation systems provided by SAP. Prior to his current role he was an end user and a consultant.

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