This blog covers the new features and enhancements in the SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Digital Boardroom Q1 2019 Release.
Please note that the Analytics Cloud Help documentation is updated at the same time as the upgrade to this release, so the links here may not yet reflect what is described below until after the upgrade is complete.
Make sure to Upgrade your SAP Analytics Cloud agent to the latest agent version 1.0.211 to take advantage of all the data acquisition types.
These are the data acquisition minimum requirements:
- Version 1.0.99 for SAP ERP / SQL databases
- Version 1.0.91 for SAP Universe (UNX)
- Version 1.0.109 for SAP Business Warehouse (BW)
- Version 1.0.75 for all other data source types
For more information, see the SAP Analytics Cloud System Requirements and Technical Prerequisites.
The features listed in the highlights section are the top feature enhancements in Q1 2019
- Data Visualisation
- Data Integration
- Business Intelligence
- Data Visualizations: Waterfall charts
- Calculations & Filtering
- Live HANA 2.0
- Performance Optimization
- Story Styling and Design
- Data Integration
- Administration & Infrastructure
- Intelligent Enterprise
- Keep Source and Overwrite Target
- Inverse formula enhancements
- Inverse formula suggestions
- Support commenting on data points in local currency
- Display ID and description separately
- Display the scaling factor in column or row headers
- Table loading improvements
- Pin Calendar to home
- Calendar features based on role
- Calendar improvements
- Calendar and task improvements
- Calendar task improvements for managers
It’s no secret that a picture can speak a thousand words—It’s why we love visualizations so much! You can now display images of your products, employees or anything else dynamically – with filtering and linked analysis supported for this feature!
Story designers can create widgets displaying images stored on HANA 2.0. They can also upload one alternative image to be displayed if the database entry is missing the image for that data point. The data needs to be filtered to only one data point for the image to show.
Learn more about how to create dynamic images in this blog!
Story designers can now include two dimensions in the dimension axis for waterfall charts. Including two dimensions allows your waterfall charts to tell even more information over time!
The primary dimensions, also referred to the first or inner dimensions, acts as an interim total, and allows you to drill up/down for both Primary and Breakdown dimensions.
The breakdown dimensions, also known as the second or outer dimensions, break the chart down into further details. You can only drill up/down on breakdown dimensions. For example, drilling down on “water” will only break it down to sub-categories of water products.
If the primary dimensions don’t have a root node, then the breakdown dimensions will show the delta between the primary dimension members.
Please note that this is not yet supported for live BW.
Waterfall chart enhancements do not stop here! Story Designer can now select interim totals in waterfall charts, similarly to live HANA capabilities. This feature helps you to make your waterfall charts easier to read helps you tell a better story with your data.
Now you can add prompts to the story filter bar to make them more discoverable.
Please note, to take advantage of this feature, you must be in Edit mode.
We now support SAP BW dynamic filters in charts and in tables. When dynamic filter values are used for the initial view of the result set, you can choose to modify these filters in the result.
To avoid unwanted user changes, a variable submitted based on a dynamic filter doesn’t overwrite manually filtered widgets.
Please note that this feature is unique to BW.
Even more calculations can now be created in your stories! Additional Exception Aggregations are available in Modeler within your story.
- Count Excluding Null
- Count Excluding 0 and Null
- Average Excluding Null
- Average Excluding 0 and Null
Learn more about Standard and Exception Aggregations in this blog!
To save you time when wrangling data, you can create a model from sequentially merged multiple queries.
This feature includes an upfront summary of the combined dataset and shows a data sample preview with the representative rows. It makes your data wrangling process more efficient and your datasets easier to maintain.
With this feature, you can also combine transformations. If you want to undo a transformation, you must first undo the combined transformation prior to removing previous transformations.
Please note: The feature is currently focused on left outer and inner joins and supports up to 5 datasets and 30 million cells.
Need to make a change to your model after it’s been created? Don’t fret! For models based on imported data, you’re now able to go back to the original wrangling session to make changes and rebuild your model from that step. This allows you to fix any issues during the model creation phase.
You’ll be alerted twice on the impact of any changes. Upon these alerts, you may have to adjust dependent stories if entities of a model were removed.
- You won’t be able to rebuild a model that has currency conversion, Global Dimensions, or Private versions.
- Models that are being used by a value driver tree or allocations cannot be modified.
- When using this feature, all data in the model will revert to the original query’s data.
- Scheduled jobs or manually imported data will need to be reloaded.
- This capability is only available for new models and only the owner of the model can perform the change.
Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming improvements to this area!
In data wrangling, there is now a formula editor to create calculations on columns. The formula will create a new column and results will be persisted in the model. Formulas can be edited at any time and the UI is the same one used in stories and the Modeler.
The resulting column refers to the original values in the dependent columns. Changes of the original values are cascaded and you’re still able to delete dependent columns.
You are now able to blend live BW data models with imported data models!
Please note the supported SAP BW deployments:
- SAP BW on HANA (requires SAP BW 7.5 or higher)
- SAP BW/4HANA
The SAP HANA system your SAP BW deployment is running on must have a full use license. SAP HANA systems using a Runtime Edition (REAB) license will be supported in the near future, so stay tuned!
Please note that this is only supported for blending live SAP BW data models with imported data models.
Learn more about blending in these series of blogs!
To better guide you, and to keep a consistent look and feel with other data sources, we have changed the entire BPC import and export process.
The major changes are as follows:
Import and export processes are now done in a step-by-step wizard rather than in one dialog.
In the new import process, we separate the selection of dimensions and filtering of dimension members from dimension mapping.
Previously you specify BPC dimensions and filter dimension members to be imported in the Mapping dialog. Now, we offer a dedicate step Build SAP BPC Query to do the selection and filtering.
In the new import process, you can choose whether you want to build a new BPC query starting from scratch or reuse an existing query derived from the previous import jobs as a template.
- In the new import process, when importing data to a basic model, you can create dimensions as either public or private dimensions.
- A brand new mapping dialog is available. In addition to dimension mapping, you can also configure the currency dimension (where the local currency is taken from) in the mapping dialog.
Scheduling has a number of new enhancements including:
- Support for import settings
- Multiple jobs can be grouped in one schedule with dependencies
- Scheduling is supported for both import and export
- Scheduled notifications
Also, before importing data to SAP Analytics Cloud, make sure you check the minimum BPC support package for import and apply all required notes specified in System Requirements and Technical Prerequisites.
Please note that in general, the new BPC connector performs better than the XSJS BPC connector.
Models can now be integrated more than ever. Using Data Actions, you can now copy data from a source model to a different target model by adding a cross-model copy action. Copy rules are automatically created for members with matching IDs, and you can also overwrite generated copy rules or default target values.
Don’t worry about making mistakes as there is a comprehensive auto-validate feature that will guide you when there are missing or incorrect inputs.
- This feature is currently unique to planning models.
- Automatically created copy rules cannot be inspected.
- Calculated accounts cannot be copied.
- Differing source and target time granularities are not supported.
- Currencies are not converted – only the values are copied.
Since planning operations that affect multiple currencies are now enabled, we want to make sure you’re alerted when they happen! We’ll send you warning messages during these operations because they may have unexpected results when currency conversion is not applied.
You’ll see warnings like the above for Copy & Paste, Data Entry, Spreading, Distribute, Assign, Data Actions, and Allocation Processes, but the action will still be successfully performed.
In advanced formulas, you can define a virtual variable member to store intermediate calculated values that can be reused elsewhere when necessary. There is no need to create a temporary member to aggregate and store intermediate calculation values.
Pulling data together from different versions is now easier with this advanced formula improvement. With the new RESULTLOOKUP function, you can define the version dimension to read data from another version.
We are also introducing the DELETE function to support delete data facts in a model.
Remaining Feature Updates
Data Visualizations: Waterfall Charts
Have a specific chart orientation in mind? When using the dimension axis and multiple measures, you can choose whether you want your first measure to start from the baseline or have it aggregated on top of the last total.
For example, you can start the measure from the baseline for non-cumulative measures such as Headcount and Inventory.
Specify whether totals are shown before or after the children in waterfall charts once you drill or expand! Root nodes will remain in their position and the intermediate sum defined by you will also be flipped.
Want to hide or show the root node of waterfall charts? You can now enhance your waterfall charts by choosing to exclude or include the root node. For two-dimensional charts, the primary dimension will have the option to hide the root node. In single-measure charts, breakdown dimensions automatically show the delta values.
Building waterfall charts keeps getting easier! You can select if the breakdown values should show actual or delta values in multi-measure charts when root node is hidden.
For multi-measure charts with breakdown values that are already shown as delta, performing another delta would not be desired.
Please note that the dimension in single-measure charts automatically shows delta values.
Calculations & Filtering
Convert a measure into a dimension via measure-based calculated dimensions. Scale and decimal places must be defined as part of the calculated dimension beforehand.
Likewise, you can convert a numeric dimension stored as a string into a measure via the Builder Panel or the Calculation Editor. Non-numeric dimension members will return empty values.
You are now able to convert a string dimension into a numeric dimension via the ToNumber formula. You can also do the opposite, numeric to string conversion, with the ToText formula.
For example, if you would like to convert a number to a string prior to concatenating with another string, you would follow:
- CD1: ToNumber(Age_String_Dimension)
- CD2: ToText(CD1) + “years”
Forced to adhere to your corporate standards? With this feature, Story Designers will be able to select how currency is positioned, such as 30$ vs. $30. This can be reflected in charts, tables and tooltips. Tenant configuration offers an option to display the currency as symbols or ISO codes, though keep in mind that the profile settings will override tenant configuration.
With this new improvement, you will be able to load your stories and Boardrooms faster!
SAP Analytics Cloud now supports client-side browser caching of Stories, Boardroom definitions and model metadata.
The cache is stored in Google Chrome if there are no structural changes made on the story and boardroom. The performance improvements scale up as the stories get larger, the more models are used, and the more widgets are on the page.
Please note the following features below for HANA 2.0 require versions 2.00.034.00 (EPMMDS 1.00.201822.00), 2.00.024.06 (EPMMDS 1.00.201822.00) or above.
This new feature is a double-whammy. It improves both performance and user experience!
Delayed cascading filters allow filter input controls to now cascade into each other, ensuring that only valid members are shown based on the filter of other input controls. For collapsed story and page input controls, the query for cascaded members will be delayed until you select the input control. This delayed cascading effect allows you to prioritize queries for visible objects such as: charts, tables, or non-collapsed input controls.
For example, when changing a selection of one input control on a story with 12 collapsed input controls and four charts, there will only be four chart queries sent instead of 15 queries.
We know how important it is to follow corporate standards! Story Designers now have the option to show the currency/unit and scale alongside the data in Numeric Point charts rather than just in the subtitle.
There are many dividing questions in the world: pancakes or waffles? Chocolate or candy? Currency symbols on the left or right?
With this update, you can now select how you want to position your currency (i.e. 30€ vs. €30) in charts, tables and tooltips. Your subscription configuration offers additional options to display currency as symbols or ISO Codes. Keep in mind that your personal Profile Settings can override your organization’s subscription configuration.
Please note that:
- The support of this feature with live BW requires implementation of SAP Note 2700031
- This feature does not yet support live HANA
Dynamic text is supported in table titles. We’re working on delivering dynamic subtitles, scales and units in 2019. This feature also applies to the SAP Analytics Cloud mobile app for iOS.
Organize your table dimensions just the way you like them. Now, within a story, you can create custom sort for dimension members that can be applied and reused across charts and tables. With hierarchical dimensions, you can only sort amongst siblings.
Please note that live HANA requires minimal versions 2.00.024.05 (EPMMDS 1.00.201815) and 2.00.033.00 (EPMMDS 1.00.201816). Live BW/S4-HANA and live Universes are not yet supported.
You don’t need to stretch to get some added flexibility here! Now, you can access a table’s Show/Hide menu directly within Explorer.
Want to share your dashboard in a presentation? You can now do this by exporting your Stories into Google Slides. Each page of a Story will be exported as a slide image. There is a onetime process to select your Google Drive account and authorize access to SAP Analytics Cloud.
Google Drive credentials will not be shared between users, and exported content will not be available to others unless expressly granted within Google Drive.
SAP Analytics Cloud administrators can govern who can export Stories to Google Drive by sharing the Google export connection with them. You can export up to 12 pages per Story.
Please note that exported pages will have to be within the Google Drive size limits in terms of number of cells and canvas size, and geo maps are currently not yet supported.
For more resources, please view the following help links:
Administrators for SAP Analytics Cloud subscriptions provisioned out of China can now remove the zoom limit to enhance geo accuracy down to the street level.
Exporting your data just got easier now that you can define reoccurring jobs for exporting transactional data to SAP S/4HANA. The feature can be accessed in the data source panel of the Modeler. This full integration includes a history of your exports, a new “export data” section as well as the ability to view which rows have been rejected during the export.
Slow uploads are a thing of the past. Now, when acquiring several hierarchies, the resulting dataset will not have redundant information as rows with empty measures are removed from the flattened star schema. In the wrangling phase, the master data is displayed upfront, thus improving the usability. Less data results in a faster upload of queries.
You can now create a generic OData import data connection to OData V4 sources. Connection creation and query workflows are the same as OData V2. Oauth support for OData V4 is planned to be available soon.
When selecting an import data source for a model, dimension, or story, you can more easily filter through the list of available sources. Get ready for over 100 data sources in 2019!
As part of our hybrid strategy, we have introduced the ability to connect to all 104 JDBC drivers supported by SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise 4.2 SP5. The query interface will be a query panel and/or freehand SQL depending on the data source. SAP Analytics Cloud also supports a generic JDBC driver for all other SQL sources. Queries against generic sources are supported using MySQL as a reference database.
Teamwork makes the dream work, so it’s no wonder that this new feature was heavily requested. Now, when you create a new team, choose whether a team-specific folder should be created! This feature works especially well for those who use teams to group users for security purposes and/or organize their analytic content in Public folders. With various teams needing access to various folders of content, this will help you stay organized. Please note that if you don’t create the team folder, you won’t be able to add it later unless you delete and recreate the team.
You can now automatically assign users to teams based on SAML attributes.
HTTP/2 is now supported for SAP BW connections, optimizing network and server resource usage to increase performance. With HTTP/2, a performance improvement of 20-30% can be expected. Woohoo!
When using an SAP BW Bex Query, you can now choose whether a variable value comes from a Customer Exit, either of which is dynamically processed during runtime form backend, (e.g. current day, changes every day), or from a saved value that is a manually input by the user (saved in the story).
For example, a date value like “10.10.2018” only changes when a user is setting another value.
The latest SAP Analytics Cloud iOS SDK now requires Xcode 10.x to open and compile the application.
Users that regularly access multiple tenants will appreciate this enhancement! Now, you can easily navigate between different tenants and set a default tenant in the mobile app.
If it’s your first time going to a second tenant, SAP Analytics Cloud will prompt you and ask if you’d like to set the tenant as your default.
Tap tap! That’s what you’ll be hearing once you get your hands on this new mobile-focused feature. The SAP Analytics Cloud app now supports chart hyperlinks that act as dimension filters, so you’ll see a cascading effect to other filters on the destination page. This allows you to link story pages, other stories, and external URLs.
Jump-to navigation from tiles with filter context in Digital Boardroom presentations is now supported.
Please note that Jump-to navigation from pages is not yet supported.
Keep Source: Source values that are allocated to the targets aren’t eliminated and duplication takes place instead.
Overwrite Target: Possible targets are cleared before allocating the source values and possible values are defined by the rules. If a rule is defined but the corresponding reference values are 0, targets can be cleared without getting a new value allocated.
Inverse formulas for accounts that use exception aggregation with dimensions now support data entry when these dimensions are filtered to a single leaf member.
Don’t you love it when your friends can finish your sentences? Now when you start to type an inverse formula, you can easily complete your formula with a suggested inverse formula from the hint list.
Share your thoughts with ease when collaborating on models with currency. Just add your comments to the cells that contain values in local currency.
We’re a big fan of data granularity! Now you can display the ID and Description in separate fields for tables. This also works for both analytic and remote models.
In tables, you can now display the scaling factor in the column or row header instead of in every cell.
Create tables in a matter of seconds! Loading time is reduced as the initial drill state, or initial table, is now set on the following parameters:
- Accounts on rows and filtered to the first account
- Drill level 1 and only showing the first account
- Version on columns and filtered on the first version
Counting down the days until the weekend? Take advantage of this new feature and pin your Calendar to the home screen! With this layout, the home screen can include a Calendar tile for easy access. You can quickly view which of your tasks will be overdue and due soon.
Please note that the tasks shown can span from the past three weeks to one month forward and can currently show three tasks on default.
If you are a Calendar task Reviewer, you’re able to transfer, or change, the task to someone else. You can do this without needing the Creator role and is also readily available in the Reviewer section. However, this is not yet available for Calendar input tasks.
If you’re a Calendar user, the View Changes option allows you to revisit the changes you did for a Calendar object. You can review task changes before submitting and the dialogue lists a summary of all performed changes.
Clean up the clutter on your calendar. For calendar tasks and processes, you are now able to hide or display the full name of a task in the taskbar.
Managing a big team? No worries. You can easily handle many assignees of Calendar tasks with this new dialogue viewing feature. If you have 10 or more team members, they will be displayed in a list and the assignees are grouped by status.
Ready to jump in and help on tasks that are already in progress? With this new feature, you can reassign the task to whoever you’d like.
Derived from canceled and accomplished assignments, this new aggregated status allows you to see which tasks are only partially accomplished in the Calendar and for your input tasks.
For input tasks, story filters applied to a distribution dimension will affect the number and types of members shown on the Summary page. There are also performance improvements for displaying and managing the distribution dimension.