SAP BO Design Studio – where do we stand

by Arwold Koelewijn on January 24, 2014

Last year I wrote a blog about the successor of the BEx WAD reporting tool, SAP BO Design Studio. Just now, I reread my wish list for the functionality to be implemented. I have been working with the 1.2 version for a few months now, in a project that aims to replace 100 WAD3.5 reports with the Design Studio tool, so let’s see where we stand:

– Seamless integration with BEx Queries (since the WAD’s are built with queries as building blocks, customers have invested in these);
This has been achieved partly. At runtime is it not possible for the user to adjust properties of the query like setting totals, adding attributes, changing calculation of key-figures, changing text (short-medium-lang).
Hopefully in the new version 1.3 this will be possible.
– Similar working of variables (i.e. to determine organization unit of the user, most relevant reporting period) 
This has been achieved and I have not experienced any problems yet.

– Look & Feel improvement (i.e. customizable tooltips); 
Achieved, although you will need to be skilled in css and javascript.
– Favorites functionality (creating, deleting, sharing, etc.) 
Not there yet, to be expected in the 1.3 version.
– Portal integration (current WAD reports are positioned in a portal) 
This is apparently available, in the coming months I will find out how well. The SDK is not yet supported on Netweaver, but will be in 1.3. If this is the case, then there will be no need for the BO server, which of course is a huge benefit when it comes to maintenance etc.
– Single sign on (logon on the portal, no difference for WAD’s or DS reports
This is apparently available, in the coming months I will find out how well

– Better printing functionality 
Not available yet, is planned for 1.3
– Easy publishing on portable devices (i.e. tablets) 
This is apparently available, in the coming months I will find out how well
– Report to Report functionality (to be able to drill down into more details) 
This functionality was planned for 1.3, but is postponed. A real bummer. This is crucial functionality for analyzing data.

Then, features I forgot on the wishlist (mainly because I thought they are no-brainers):
–        Navigation possibilities, to be able to slice and dice with the data in a crosstab;  
This has been achieved in the 1.2 version, and is working ok, although I hope improvement in the 1.3 version. It is not drag and drop, but I do not consider that of vital importance

–        Context menu, easy navigation and access to functionality; 
This is actually essential for users. It was on the list for 1.3, but has been postponed

–        Graphs configuration options; 
The options to configure the graphs are shamelessly little. Especially compared to the BEx WAD’s possibilities, even the WAD 3.5 (a tool that is at least 10 years old)

On the positive side, here are some features I rather like:
–        It is possible to create really pretty looking reports, styling etc. is easy to do
–        The developers interface is very user-friendly (although it is advisable to use a 27inch screen)
–        When an object is renamed, all the javascript coding referring to that object is automatically changed as well
–        The SDK is very promising
–        The filter panel has some nice features, although for some reason it is not working when more than 100 filter options are offered

To summarize. In the project I am working, it is still painfully obvious that the WAD 3.5 is the superior tool when it comes to functionality. The reports created with Design Studio are looking prettier though. As an outlook: the Design Studio 1.2 version was a great improvement compared to Design Studio 1.1. Let’s hope that Design Studio 1.3 will have the same effect.

In conclusion: Dear boys and girls of the Design Studio development team: please hurry.

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