SAP NetWeaver BW and Xcelsius: Excel 2007 PivotTables Provide Enhanced Interactive Reporting and Analytics Options

  • by Larry Sackett, President and CEO, E.J. Barry Company and author of Reporting and Analytics with MDX in NetWeaver BW
  • January 19, 2010
See how you can use Microsoft Excel 2007 PivotTables with SAP NetWeaver BW and Xcelsius to create a low-cost but highly functional reporting and analytics system. Learn how Xcelsius uses Excel 2007 as its data binding source for dynamic dashboards and data visualizations.
Key Concept
Microsoft completely redesigned Excel 2007 to be the company’s primary front-end BI tool. Excel 2007 leverages the MDX features and functionality in Microsoft’s OLAP server, Analysis Services. Simba Technologies, the company that developed the original OLE DB for OLAP (ODBO) provider for SAP NetWeaver BW, upgraded the ODBO provider to match virtually all the functionality of Excel 2007 with Microsoft Analysis Services in SAP NetWeaver BW. The ODBO provider is free to SAP NetWeaver BW users. With Excel 2007, you can implement a reporting and analytics system that provides much of the feature set found in more expensive BI solutions. You can then use PivotTables you create in Excel 2007 directly with Xcelsius to provide end users with self-service analytics and interactive data visualizations.

A key design goal for the release of Microsoft Excel 2007 was to incorporate functionality from ProClarity Analytics, a BI tool that Microsoft acquired in 2006. These functions included an enhanced drag-and-drop PivotTable designer, recognition of multiple hierarchies, display of visual totals, and the ability to display member properties (SAP NetWeaver BW display attributes) in tooltips and on the columns of a PivotTable.

Microsoft incorporated a host of graphically appealing styles and layouts that you can apply to PivotTables or Pivot Charts. In addition, Microsoft greatly improved conditional formatting using color scales, data bars, and icons to highlight exceptions in data. Finally, Microsoft integrated MDX filters from ProClarity Analytics, such as finding the top or bottom x customers, or identifying products with sales that exceed some threshold in a particular time period or region. The end result is that companies using Microsoft Analysis Services have a low-cost and powerful tool to analyze and report on data in OLAP InfoCubes. Excel 2007 connects natively to MS Analysis Services. Now Excel 2007 connects to SAP NetWeaver BW with the same functionality.

Larry Sackett

Larry Sackett, president of E.J. Barry, has more than 20 years of experience designing and implementing database marketing and business intelligence systems. He is a specialist in the use of data, technology, and marketing best practices to increase revenues and profits. He is also the author of the SAP PRESS book MDX Reporting and Analytics with SAP NetWeaver BW. Visit his Web site at www.ejbarry.com.

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