Just before Eastern we did in an evaluation on our experiences with SAP BO Design Studio, now that we have been live for 5 months. In this blog I like to share the results of our evaluation.
About the project
This project concerns an upgrade from about 100 WAD 3.5 reports. Over the years investments have been made in extending the SAP BW enterprise datawarehouse with additional datasources. Last year a front end upgrade was in order.
- For business reasons: the reports had grown organically, an needed to be reviewed; resulting in three goals:
- make it easier to find reports
- make them easier to use
- use clear report categories
- For technical reasons: maintaining WAD3.5 reports is not supported with the latest BW releases.
The first phase of the project was designing the user interface and look and feel of the application. A graphical designer went to the drawing board and prototypes were developed in Design Studio to narrow down the requirements. This resulted in a template report with all the required functionalities in place, build with DS1.3, that was used as a base for the new reports.
Since September 2014 we are live with the new front end with most reports converted. For those that are not yet converted (sometimes due to business reasons) we point to the old WAD3.5 reports. Also, the old application is still available for users as a reference, but based on the statistics we can see the new environment is more popular.
Things we are happy about:
- We get a lot of positive feedback from the users that it is looking beautiful and that the application is working much more intuitive than the old one.
- From a technical perspective, the integration with the BEx queries and BW backend is very good. Hierarchies (we use a lot of those), authorization, single sign on all works very well.
- With the BIAL, a lot of interaction is possible and easily implemented.
- The SDK makes a lot possible and can be used to create nice things.
- The application works in several browsers, something we didn’t have before.
Things we are not so happy about:
- Design Studio is still growing in functionality. Compared to WAD3.5, with no developments solid as a rock, it shows sometimes unexpected behavior.
- Export to Excel is not working as desired
- With csv export the text gets messed up: ë becomes Ã«
- With xlsx export sometimes numbers are transferred as text
- With xlsx export the hierarchies indenting disappears (please support: https://ideas.sap.com/D15660)
- With csv/xlsx export you only export the decimals you see on screen, whereas in WAD3.5 the decimals that were not displayed were exported as well. This can lead to the situation that after an export the elements don’t add up to the total.
- Bookmarking is not robust enough. In the WAD 3.5 bookmarking was used extensively by our users and a feature well liked. In Design Studio a small change to a report results in losing all the bookmarks build by our users. This conflicts with our desire to be agile.
- Performance. Compared to the WAD 3.5 reports we have lost 10 seconds on initial startup. Since we are running BW on HANA, our first suspect is the BO server, but it is very hard to figure out what is going on there.
- Mobile readiness. The application we build is for desktop use. However, since it is a web based application, users try to view it on mobile devices and are disappointed because the sizing and scrolling is not working as expected. It would have been nice if the out of the box would support at least that.
To conclude: Doing an evaluation like this, it is always nice to see that we as a project team are often troubled with the things that are not working as desired, whereas the business sees the new application as a real substantial improvement. Also, based on previous experience, we do feel comfortable that, some way or another, solutions will appear.
Please note: this blog has also been published on SCN.