Information Broadcasting in SAP NetWeaver 2004s Overview

The goal of information broadcasting in SAP is to distribute the right information, in the appropriate format, to the right people, through different channels, at the right time. With SAP BW 3.5 in SAP NetWeaver 2004, we saw the first information broadcasting capabilities delivered with the Business Explorer (BEx) tools in conjunction with the knowledge management capabilities of the SAP NetWeaver Portal. With the BEx Broadcaster in SAP NetWeaver 2004s, you have new types of objects that you can broadcast, new distribution types, and new output options that combine to better meet this goal.

Information Broadcasting in SAP

The Right Information – New Object Types

You can now broadcast BEx query views and formatted reports (“reports”) in addition to Web applications, queries and workbooks. Reports are a new BEx object type developed within the new BEx Report Designer tool.

The Appropriate Format – New Output Formats

New output formats have also been added. As these output formats are based on the distribution type, I’ll discuss most of them in the next section about new distribution types. One important enhancement to the Broadcast Email and Broadcast to the Portal distribution types is the ability to distribute your Web documents as a PDF file.

To The Right People, Through Different Channels, At The Right Time – New Distribution Types

Broadcast to the Printer

This option allows you to broadcast to any printer based on Post Script (PS), Printer Common Language (PSL) or PDF. Printers can be set up in the SAP NetWeaver Application Server under Tools > CCMS > Print. The user’s default printer can be set up in the user profile as well.

Broadcast Email (Bursting)

This option allows you to broadcast user-specific data based on the master data attributes stored in BI. Rather than requiring the BEx Broadcaster user to specify a distribution list, the system determines the recipients from the information available in the master data. Additionally, the recipient does not have to be a user in SAP NetWeaver 2004s to see only their “own” data, the system determines this from the definition in the system. For example, the cost center manager is assigned to the cost center in the system and therefore will receive only the data for that cost center.

Broadcast According to Exceptions

Exception Information Broadcasting in SAP is now configured in the BEx Broadcaster. Exceptions are defined in the BEx Query Designer as before, and then the Broadcast According to Exceptions distribution type is selected in the BEx Broadcaster. The user then has a choice of a subordinate distribution type, for example, to send an email, send the exception to the portal, or create an alert. Further definition includes whether to initiate a broadcast if any exception occurs or if only a specific level of exception occurs. When the exception report is processed (on an ad-hoc, scheduled or event-driven basis), if an exception or specified exception level is identified, the broadcast will be triggered.

In the create an alert option, the Broadcaster is integrated with the Central Alert Framework of the SAP NetWeaver AS and the Universal Worklist (UWL) of the SAP NetWeaver Portal. This allows central management of all alerts, from both BI and other sources, as well as a single point of access for the end user to alerts and other workflow tasks.

Broadcast (Multi-Channel)

You can use this distribution type to create a setting that simultaneously broadcasts to email, to the portal and to the printer.  Other new distribution types are Fill Recalculation Store, Recalculate Value Set, Fill OLAP Cache, and Fill MDX Cache. These distribution types allow the BEx Broadcaster to replace the functions of the Reporting Agent. (Old Reporting Agent scenarios still run in SAP NetWeaver 2004s. However, the Reporting Agent will not be developed any further and is removed from the SAP NetWeaver 2004s Data Warehousing Workbench.

You can now only reach the Reporting Agent using transaction code REPORTING_AGENT.) The Fill Precalculation Store distribution type allows you to Precalculate Web templates, and the Precalculate Value Set option you to fill pre-calculated value set variables with values for characteristic values. The pre-calculated value sets are then available as variable values in BEx queries.

With the Fill OLAP Cache, and Fill MDX Cache distribution types, you can warm up the OLAP and MDX cache with BEx queries.

Also See: What is Business Intelligence?

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