Define Constants in SAP NetWeaver BI for Easier Implementations

  • by Amit Barkai, Independent SAP NetWeaver BI Consultant and Project Manager
  • July 1, 2008
Using the Constant value for InfoObjects, DataStore objects, and InfoCubes allows you to control how compound characteristics appear in your system. This value also helps ensure that SAP NetWeaver BI implementers load characteristics properly from other systems, such as Financial Accounting. Find out how to use this value and how it affects your system.

Many people do not use the Constant characteristic property in SAP NetWeaver BI implementations, usually because the implementers are not aware of its importance and uses. However, smart use of this property can improve query times and help you with InfoCube maintenance. By using the Constant property, you avoid compound characteristics. This in turn offers the following benefits:

  • Avoid mistakes loading data to the characteristic
  • Improve the visual look of characteristics by showing them in a simpler form
  • Better integration with Excel formulas

In a controlling logical partitioning model, for example, if you assign a constant value (e.g., queries on plan data only) to an InfoCube, the OLAP processor can quickly identify which InfoCubes the system must access to calculate each value in the query. In addition, if you have problems with the data loaded into the actual InfoCube, you can still work with the plan InfoCube independently of the actual data problem.

I will explain how to use the Constant property and show you the different uses of this property in modeling and in reporting with three different business scenarios — InfoObject, Data­Store object [DSO], and InfoCube. I will also discuss the property limitations and performance consequences with each option. In the final section I provide tips on how to bypass the modeling options in the reporting level. The processes in this article apply to SAP NetWeaver BI 7.0 and do not require any coding knowledge.

Amit Barkai

Amit Barkai has seven years of experience working with data warehouse and business intelligence systems. He worked for five years as a consultant in IBM Israel as an SAP NetWeaver BI consultant and project manager. He specializes in all aspects of the system (data modeling, data acquisition, performance and administration, BEx, SAP NetWeaver Portal integration, and special tips and tricks). He has implemented SAP BW for some of the largest companies in Israel as well as teaching in SAP Israel. He is one of the leading BW consultants in Israel and in the last few months, he has been working as an independent consultant.

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