SAP S/4HANA Primer: How to Visualize Live Manufacturing Reports in Excel

  • by Caetano Almeida, Senior Support Engineer, SAP
  • October 31, 2016
Learn how to use the SAP BusinessObjects Analysis integration with SAP S/4HANA to see manufacturing reports directly in Microsoft Excel.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article, you’ll learn:

  • A basic overview of the SAP BusinessObjects Analysis
  • How to create a connection in Microsoft Excel with SAP S/4HANA
  • How to access production order cubes
  • How to create a basic report for production orders and production order operations in Microsoft Excel
  • How to create a report to see the forecast versus sales
Key Concept
SAP BusinessObjects Analysis consists of three plug-ins for Microsoft Excel: Analysis, Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), and Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC). It works with PowerPoint and Excel in Microsoft Office 2016 (as of release 2.2 and Support Package 2), Microsoft Office 2013, and Microsoft Office 2010, for Excel and PowerPoint. With the analysis plug-in, you can use online analytical processing (OLAP) sources to create multidimensional analyses in Microsoft Excel.

Microsoft Excel has always been a powerful sidecar for all ERP business users. No matter how great the reports available in ERP are, data always is being extracted to Excel spreadsheets so that it can be manipulated and summarized in pivot tables.

With SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office 2.3, it is now easier to get the ERP data to Excel. You can now make a direct connection to SAP S/4HANA and get direct access to the SAP HANA Core Data Services (CDS) views in Excel. It means that users will have access to live data instead of an outdated version of the report exported a few days earlier.

An Overview of the SAP BusinessObjects Analysis

Any business user can install SAP BusinessObjects Analysis in his or her own computer in a few minutes, as it provides an auto installer. It can be downloaded directly by clicking the Download Software button (Figure 1) of the SAP Service MarketPlace support portal, but it requires a separate license for usage.


Figure 1
The SAP Service Marketplace support portal

Note
A detailed installation and administration guide can be found on SAP Help (http://help.sap.com/boaa), but this topic is not part of the scope of this article.

After the installation, the options ANALYSIS, EPM, and Data Manager are displayed on the Excel ribbon, as shown in Figure 2.


Figure 2
Excel after the SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for Microsoft Office, installation

The EPM plugin allows you to import Microsoft Excel data to SAP BusinessObjects EPM solutions and build reports and spreadsheets based on this data, while the BPC plug-in connects the web client of SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation to Microsoft Office, allowing the execution of Microsoft Excel- or PowerPoint-related tasks for the BPC activities.

I focus specifically on the Analysis plug-in and how it can be used to generate manufacturing reports using the CDS views provided by the SAP S/4HANA Embedded Analytics.

What a CDS View Offers for SAP BusinessObjects Analysis

A CDS view is a virtual data model that can used to read data from an SAP HANA database. The concept of views has existed for a long time in ABAP. However, with a CDS view, the logic behind the view is pushed down into the database level instead of being executed into the application level.

The CDS view definition is made directly on SAP HANA, with a SQL-based data definition language (DDL). It means that the data relationship is defined on the database level, and therefore, data can be consumed directly from the database.

For example, if you are creating a custom application that will read data from SAP S/4HANA, you can simply build your own CDS view and read data directly from the database. In the past, you used to build an ABAP function module to read data from the database and then call it as a Remote Function Call (RFC).

Caetano Almeida

Caetano Almeida is a computer engineer with an MBA in IT management. He has more than nine years of experience in production planning, with the last six years working at SAP Support, where he supports SAP customers and writes documentation and correction notes.

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Comments

9/4/2017 6:21:12 PM
Venu

Excellent write-up and Thank you,

Q: May I assume that this use-case is only for corner cases where real-time reporting is required? Also, how is the performance? Do we get data back within 5 to 10 seconds first time and then within 1 sec subsequently for most report layout changes?

Thank you and best wishes,

Venu

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