SAP HANA Reporting

Welcome to the reporting section of TeachMeHANA. The whole reason most database modeling is done is to ensure that a data-set emerges at the end which contains all the relevant information to create a report or any other application on top of it. This SAP HANA reporting section would elaborate how the commonly used reporting tools/applications connect and communicate with SAP HANA.

Disclaimer: This section would not be a training on reporting tools. This is a SAP HANA tutorial website and hence this section would be more about understanding how commonly used reporting tools connect to SAP HANA. We would build simple reports on each of them to establish a basic understanding of the look and feel of each of these tools.

Different worlds on SAP HANA Reporting

There are different reporting options on top of SAP HANA. Different connectors can help reporting tools reach the underlying views in this database. Each of them would have their own way of connecting. I have categorized the major reporting tools as below:

1. SAP Business Objects Suite

SAP’s own reporting tool-set – SAP BO or SAP BOBJ or SAP Business Objects as it’s called is a collection of different distinct tools – each catered towards specific use cases. I won’t get into the history of how SAP acquired Business Objects (which you can find easily online) but I would say that it is the preferred tool reporting tool especially in SAP oriented landscapes. This is because SAP optimizes Business Objects to have the best connectivity with its own back end applications/databases like SAP HANA. We would go through different business objects tools and their connectivity to SAP HANA throughout the course of this SAP HANA Reporting section.

2. Third party reporting tools

This can include MS Excel as well as other non-SAP tools like Qlikview, Tableau, etc. Most of these have the ability to connect to any database and also HANA. Although they may offer beautiful reporting solutions, since they are non-SAP tools, there may exist potential issues and SAP might offer limited support in these situations. Companies might still want to use it due to existing licenses or due to the fact that SAP Business Objects license would be too expensive for them.

3. Web based applications/reports

These are online portals which run using the information stored in SAP HANA. As described in the SAP HANA architecture document HANA has an XS engine which allows data to be fed to these portals in real-time.

Types of reports in SAP Business Objects

Reports can broadly be classified into three categories.

1. Agile Visualization/Data Discovery

This form of reporting is referred to as “Discover, Predict, Create” model. These tools provide business users with a simple experience to independently ask and answer business questions on the fly

3 major tools to be used are for such requirements are:

  • SAP Lumira
  • SAP Business Objects Explorer
  • SAP Business Objects Analysis

2. Dashboard & Apps

This form of reporting is used to provide the user with an interactive reporting experience

The 2 tools to be used are for such requirements are:

  • SAP Business Objects Design Studio
  • SAP Business Objects Dashboards (formerly Xcelsius)

SAP Recommends Adopting Design Studio as the primary tool to create for creating dashboards and applications, for both Web and mobile deployment for new implementations. Hence, Design studio will be the primary and only Dashboard tool discussed in this SAP HANA reporting section.

3. Operational Reporting

This form of BO tools will be used to share information and are optimized for high-volume reporting and publishing

The 2 tools to be used are for such requirements are:

  • SAP Business Objects Web Intelligence
  • SAP Crystal Reports

A SAP HANA developer may not be required to be an expert on these reporting tools but knowing how to interface to these tools is quite important. It helps you understand how reporting tools talk to SAP HANA which in turn helps you better understand the solution you work on and also allows you to grow as an architect who designs solutions for clients as well.

This ends our introduction to SAP HANA Reporting. We will now start out journey in understanding how SAP HANA connects to these tools one by one.

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  1. Sir,
    Actually i am workjng as a Functional consultant in SAP B1. I am planning to learn SAP HANA.
    Is it necessary to.learn SAP ABAP and SAP BI and then SAP BO to be able to work on SAP HANA?

    Is it a pre requisite for SAP HANA to know ABAP BI AND BO?

    • Hi,
      SAP Enterprise HANA (for which the tutorials you see on this website) doesn’t require any knowledge of any of the modules you listed. You would need to learn how to use the buttons and tools in the graphical user interface of the SAP HANA Studio software. Also, SQL would be needed to be a perfect HANA developer.
      HANA is a database and you can put any reporting tool on top of it. SAP BO is one of them. Knowing it is just an add on. Usually, there are separate SAP BO consultants for this job. But as a database guy, its good to know how the reporting tools integrate with the HANA models you create.
      SAP BI is a broad term… It stands for Business intelligence. Some people call SAP BO as BI ..but mostly i guess you are referring to SAP BW here as SAP BI. SAP BI is a separate application and skill. It also has been enhanced by running it on top of HANA and calling the application BW on HANA or the latest version BW4HANA. But as I said, that is a completely different skillset which you don’t need to get into. Just go through the Enterprise HANA training and the SQL on HANA training and when you become confortable, skim through the Reporting section to understand how your models get used in reporting.
      Hope this clears your doubt.

      • Is there a good tutorial, overview on SAP BO? As a frontend developer new to SAP this is very abstract0 like you mentioned Business Intelligence is a broad term associated with BO. In particular, I need toknow how SAP BO compares to SAP XS Engine as an application server…

        Your insight would be greatly appreciated.

    • Quoting Mr. Eric Schneider from SAP –

      Native HANA means in general that the code has been developed on HANA and specifically for HANA. For example BW has coding which can run on all databases which are certified for BW, and new code developed specifically for HANA = HANA native. Or another example, HANA studio is a native HANA application.

      HANA enterprise is a license version of HANA. You can buy runtime licenses to run BW on HANA for example, and you can buy the enterprise license, which is a very comprehensive license to use many HANA capabilities. Please see your SAP account executive or SAP partner for details.

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