SAP BusinessObjects Universes: A Key to Reporting Integration with SAP NetWeaver BW

  • by Ned Falk, Senior Education Consultant, SAP
  • January 13, 2010
See how to display SAP NetWeaver BW queries in SAP BusinessObjects applications with two basic options via universes and direct access.
Key Concept

A universe defines a set of data fields for use in SAP BusinessObjects reporting tools using terms such as classes (folders), dimensions (entities such as customer), and details (attributes of a customer such as zip code). On the technical end, the universe is the runtime connection and the SQL (or MDX) generator to access an array of data sources using native and custom-designed drivers. These drivers include access to SQL server, Oracle, Microsoft Access, and many others. Most importantly, the list includes SAP NetWeaver BW via a BEx query. In addition to access via universes, direct access to SAP NetWeaver queries is an option using Xcelsius, the integration-kit-enabled SAP BusinessObjects Voyager, and Crystal Reports.

As SAP and Business Objects are now one integrated company, existing SAP NetWeaver BW users want to use SAP BusinessObjects tools on top of SAP NetWeaver BW. Integration options are available and will continue to improve over time.

The SAP BusinessObjects universe is in the center of the linking strategy for these previously separate tool sets. A universe is a functional grouping of reporting fields that hides the technical source of the data from report designers. You can draw an analogy between a universe and a classic SAP InfoSet (functional area). In the SAP BusinessObjects world, it is the common link to all the data (Figure 1). A universe gives reporting power to end users with a few universes of data so they have an almost one-stop shop where they can easily find what they need. They can create reports not knowing where the data actually resides. Although the idea of this one-stop shop is appealing, the performance aspects of direct access (when possible) to SAP NetWeaver BW queries might outweigh it. I will compare direct access and access via a universe for SAP NetWeaver BW queries.  

Ned Falk

Ned Falk is a senior education consultant at SAP. In prior positions, he implemented many ERP solutions, including SAP R/3. While at SAP, he initially focused on logistics. Now he focuses on SAP HANA, SAP BW (formerly SAP NetWeaver BW), SAP CRM, and the integration of SAP BW and SAP BusinessObjects tools. You can meet him in person when he teaches SAP HANA, SAP BW, or SAP CRM classes from the Atlanta SAP office, or in a virtual training class over the web. If you need an SAP education plan for SAP HANA, SAP BW, BusinessObjects, or SAP CRM, you may contact Ned via email.

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