Fill the Void Between BW InfoObjects and the R/3 Classification System

  • by Frank Bulacher, Manager of SAP CH, Alstom Switzerland
  • January 1, 2005
While the classification system in R/3 can supply your BW InfoObjects with attributes, limitations in BW can make using all of them impossible. Even if you could provide access to all the characteristics in the classification system via a lone InfoObject, your end users would be sure to grumble as they struggled to work with lists of attributes that could number in the thousands. Dynamic attributes offer a solution to both problems.
Key Concept
Dynamic attributes are InfoObjects with transfer rules that call a custom ABAP routine rather than map one particular field in the data source to an InfoSource. The routine uses a table, which can be an InfoObject, an ODS, or a relational table to define the InfoObject’s values.

The R/3 classification system is a cross-application component in the SAP source system that groups objects with similar properties into classes. While all businesses do not use the R/3 classification system, companies that manufacture configurable products that have variables such as color, size, or brand, often employ it.

For more details on how to move data from the R/3 classification system for use in BW, see “Understand the R/3 Classification System and How to Extract Classification Data into BW” in the September 2004 edition of BW Expert.

Characteristics of objects in the R/3 classification system are like InfoObject attributes in BW. Your BW system can use these attributes for reporting. There are, however, some limitations. While the number of characteristics coming from the classification system can be limitless, technical restrictions as well as other issues restrict how many of these characteristics can be used.

An InfoObject is limited to 712 attributes. If you need to accommodate more, you must create a new InfoObject with the same properties as the original. Problems arise because there is no way to link InfoObject to their attributes. If two InfoObjects are created, users must review long lists to find the attributes they need. If you don’t need to create a second InfoObject, there can still be end-user issues. The attributes originating in the classification system can become unwieldy for BW users when they result in lists with hundreds of entries.

Frank Bulacher

Frank Bulacher is manager of SAP CH at Alstom Switzerland. He has worked in BI for more than 14 years in the United States and Europe. Prior to that, he was a consultant in data warehousing and SAP FI/CO. His career has taken him to top-tier and boutique companies. Frank is a graduate of the University of Augsburg in Germany and the University of Wales in Swansea, UK, with majors in banking and computer science.

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