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As we move forward in the fast-paced world of SAP, it is only fair to expect some dramatic changes in the reporting area. So with that in mind, when we opened a newly packed box of SAP BW/4HANA, it did have some surprises in store for us. Well well well, let’s just say SAP has decided to move forward without good old BEx. Yes, you heard it right, NO MORE BEx in SAP BW/4HANA.
Do not confuse this with BW queries though. BW queries would still be there, but with a new and improved interface within Eclipse. This would not be a new thing for people working on BW7.4 or 7.5, where it was already introduced but optional. But in BW/4HANA, it is mandatory to go via Eclipse. The idea behind this is to do end to end modeling in BW Modeling Tools within Eclipse.
Query Designer in BWMT (BW Modeling Tools)
As per SAP, all the features of BEx Query Designer have already been made available in Query Designer in BWMT and surely the below picture could give you that idea. We still have our columns/rows/free characteristics and other BEx features like conditions, exceptions etc.
So, I would say, this is exactly the same as BEx but just newly packaged in BWMT.
BW/4HANA Reporting Portfolio
The next question would then be; What should we do with our BEx reports, dashboards? SAP has the answer hidden in the SAP BusinessObjects Suite.
The below picture summarizes the entire reporting portfolio for SAP BW/4HANA.
Let’s have a look at them, one by one.
1. BEx Analyzer 7.x
Most of the capabilities of BEx Analyzer are either available or planned in Analysis for Office 2.x. It is possible to convert your existing BEx workbook into an Analysis for Office workbook. As we already know, Analysis for Office is an on-premise BI Client which may or may not run on the SAP BI platform. If you choose to connect it directly to the BW system, then be aware that certain features like Scheduling will not be available. You can also install BEx Analyzer and Analysis for Office add-in on a single PC.
2. BEx Web/Web Application Designer 7.x
Most of the capabilities of BEx Web are either available or planned in Design Studio/Lumira 2.x. Unfortunately, it is not possible to migrate BEx Web Templates and Dashboards to Design Studio/Lumira 2.x due to the underlying architectural differences. You would need the SAP BI platform to use Design Studio/Lumira 2.x.
3. BEx Information Broadcasting 7.x
In general, SAP recommends using Crystal Reports for any kind of printing or distribution requirements. But Excel based contents can be scheduled and published from Analysis for Office. The scheduling functionality within Design Studio/Lumira 2.x is also planned for future releases.
BusinessObjects cloud is also recommended by SAP for self-service reporting and to leverage this cloud based BI solution in addition to or instead of on-premise client tools.
BW/4HANA also provides open interfaces to 3rd Party tools based on SQL, MDX & OData.
As we move towards the end of this article, if I must summarize everything in one line then I would say, one way or another, SAP BusinessObjects is the future of reporting in SAP.