SAP BI: How to push information gently?

by Arwold Koelewijn on February 27, 2012

When it comes to management information, it is not always clear when the data is needed. A question can arise all of a sudden, and to answer that question, flexible reports should be available. However, certain information needs to be seen frequently. An example can be a situation where  an internal controller or external accountant wants budget-owners to have an easy insight in the financial situation of a budget-entity.

Budget-owners are not necessarily accountants themselves, and they are not always very interested in the financials of a certain project, so that enforces certain requirements on the information they receive.

Three things are (apart from the general data requirements) typically important here:
1; the information is received automatically i.e. send to them using email or through a mobile application;
2; the information should be layered, in the sense that aggregated information should be available but also detailed information;
3; they should be addressed personally, with information that concerns them.

To summarize, give it to them gently.

In one of my projects this was achieved using the SAP Broadcasting functionality. A report was built with the SAP BEx Report Designer. This tool has it flaws. SAP stopped developing this tool after the purchase of Business Objects, which includes Crystal Reports. In this project SAP BO was not available. But despite the flaws, the Report Designer is still useful to produce pixel perfect reports in the SAP BI ecosystem that can be broadcasted in pdf format.

The final report was divided in several sections, that represented a graph, a table with analysis information, and finally the individual transactions, thus mimicking the ‘go MAD’ principle (Monitor, Analyze and Drill to detail). With the SAP Broadcaster, this report was scheduled to be delivered via email to the budget-owner in pdf format. Using SAP BW process chains and simple customer programs, a mechanism was built to deliver the reports to the budget owners with a personalized email.

As a result, the budget owner receives an report every two months via email. In this email is specified what project it concerns, which period and who he should contact in case of questions. The report itself opens with a graph that immediately gives insight in the most important figures, and in the following pages relevant views of these data are given.

The feedback on the report is very positive. The broadcasted reports are well received and appreciated in the way they focus on the most important information, but still have the additional details as well. Also for the service department it saves a lot of work. Instead of producing these type of reports manually, they can focus on analyzing and controlling.

In conclusion: SAP BI BEx can be used to deliver information gently.

Previous post:

Next post: