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L. Lachner

SAP BI Analysis Office - a Practical Guide

Many companies struggle with the ability to quickly and accurately create easy-to-read reports. This book systematically explains how you can leverage SAP Analysis Office (AO) to support your company’s reporting needs. AO combines the experience users had...



  • Preface
  • 1   Evolution or revolution?
  • 2   Installation and prerequisites
  • 3   Terminology and basic settings
  • 4   Analysis Excel pivot
  • ribbon
  • and context menus
  • 5   Enhanced features for power and management users
  • 6   Enhancing reporting with API and Visual Basic (VBA)
  • 7   AO PowerPoint
  • 8   AO Excel workbook migration
  • A   Appendix
  • B   About the Author
  • C   Disclaimer

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Jörg Böke






2.1   Client prerequisites

As its name suggests, Analysis Office (AO) requires Microsoft Office Excel for reporting analysis and Microsoft PowerPoint for presenting BW data.

2.1.1 Microsoft Office Suite

The functionality available in the different Microsoft Office versions depends on the Microsoft Windows operating system you are using. For details, see the appropriate SAP Note in Section 2.1.4.

AO is compatible with:

  • Microsoft Excel 2003- 2013
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 and Microsoft Office 2013

Microsoft Office recommendations

I personally do not recommend using Office 2003 or 2007 in combination with AO.

SAP provides multiple SAP Notes for bypassing common problems, e.g., connecting charts. The joy of using AO lies in its broad spectrum of functionality. My suggestion is to use Microsoft Office 2010+.

2.1.2 Microsoft Windows operating system

Because of the Excel and PowerPivot requirement, AO is restricted to the Windows operating system. It can be used with Windows XP up to Windows 8.1. AO is restricted to use with Microsoft Office. SAP does not support any other office suites.

2.1.3 SAP GUI

SAP GUI installation is not mandatory on your individual computer client. If you prefer to use AO as a reporting application purely for end users, you can skip the installation of SAP GUI as well as the BW add-on installation (for installing SAP BEx tools). Nevertheless, I recommend installing the GUI and the add-ons because your users may need to change or create a query using SAP BEx Query Designer.

However, a local copy of SAPLOGON.INI, a file describing all SAP systems and their connection strings, IP addresses, etc., is required if you do not use a BI platform for connection management and want to connect to SAP NetWeaver BW.


The default folder containing the SAPLOGON.INI file is in your Windows installation, as shown in Figure 2.1.

Analysis Office

Figure 2.1: Location of your saplogon.ini file

Note that the file is only present if SAP GUI is actually installed, but you can create a manual copy in the Windows folder. Make sure that you do not overwrite an existing file.

I strongly recommend installing SAP GUI 7.30 and the SAP NetWeaver BW add-on (SAP BEx tools) with the latest service patch for users who plan to create BW SAP BEx queries as well.

With SAP GUI and the BW add-on installed locally, you will be able to switch back and forth from AO directly to SAP BEx Query Designer. Furthermore, your reporting can be enriched with SAP functionality for navigating to a specific characteristic, allowing you to use that key to retrieve further information by opening a SAP GUI screen showing the SAP ERP transaction screen.

We will cover AO integration functionality for the Report-Report Interface (RRI) in Chapter 5.

SAP GUI is a prerequisite for using the Report-Report Interface

If you like to use the Report-Report Interface (RRI) to jump, for example, from an SD query to FI/CO queries and transport the selected filter, or to jump directly to SAP transactions, you have to have SAP GUI installed on your client PC.

2.1.4 PC client sizing

I will not list all of the possible combinations of available frontends. Instead, I recommend that you read SAP Note 1466118, which explains the possible combinations in detail and also addresses memory usage.

Analysis Office

Figure 2.2: SAP Note 1466118

2.1.5 SAP NetWeaver BW server prerequisites

To use AO in combination with SAP NetWeaver BW, you have to have an installed version of at least SAP NetWeaver BW 7.0 EhP1.

Why do you need at least BW 7.0 EhP1?

I recommend using SAP NetWeaver BW 7.3 or 7.4, as there are significant total cost of ownership (TCO) and integration improvements between Business Objects Enterprise and NetWeaver BW. Queries defined in SAP BEx Query Designer are now fully integrated.

SAP NetWeaver BW 7.x allows direct access to SAP NetWeaver BW InfoProviders for ad-hoc reporting, queries, and query views. For this reason, I recommend using at least BW 7.0 EhP1.

My experience is that AO runs optimally with BW 7.3. From 7.0 EhP1 onwards, SAP has improved many aspects of stability and performance. See SAP Note 1677627 for further details.

RSADMIN table settings and SAP Notes

Table RSADMIN in BW is one of the most important tables in BW that influences the behavior and performance of BW objects, as well as AO.

All of the following parameters can be set up using report SAP_RSADMIN_MAINTAIN (SE38). I recommend that you check the following list of SAP Notes and implement the parameters in table RSADMN. I also recommend that you revisit the SAP Support Portal at least every six months to check for new parameters. Simply type RSADMIN Analysis Office in the notes search field.

The following SAP Notes will improve your AO performance. The numbers represent the SAP Note number you should look up in the SAP Support Portal.

  • SAP Note 1656983: Result set size limit exceeded
  • SAP Note 1947948:Optimization for queries with characteristic restrictions
  • SAP Note 1972798: Long selection time for REPOLOAD RFC cache
  • SAP Note 053007: Numerous certificate pop-ups during Excel export

Performance optimization via the RSADMIN table

Using the RSADMIN table it is possible to define a maximum number of cells (rows * columns) by implementing the parameter BICS_DA_RESULT_SET_LIMIT_MAX (check SAP Note 1750332).

By leveraging the parameters in the RSADMIN table, you can influence the performance of AO reporting (see Section 3.2 for further information on this topic).

2.1.6 Queries and BW data model

With AO, there is no need to migrate queries or make changes to BW data models.

You can access any existing InfoProvider and SAP BEx queries available in standard SAP BEx directly.

SAP BEx Query Designer remains unchanged and will continue to be the semantic modeling level for SAP NetWeaver BW data and the design tool for queries as shown in Figure 2.3.

Analysis Office

Figure 2.3: The underlying data model

As you can see in Figure 2.3, SAP BEx and the Web Application Designer (WAD) have the option of being converted to the new BO functionality. Any existing SAP BEx workbooks can be migrated to AO workbooks. The original SAP BEx workbooks will remain unchanged. We will cover this topic in more detail in Chapter 8.


Like all objects in SAP BW, AO has its own authorization object that you have to maintain via transaction PFCG in order to provide the desired access to AO workbook functionality. The AO authorization object you can add manually in transaction PFCG roles is S_RS_AO.

Implementing authorizations

To provide the proper authorizations from the beginning, you should consider preparing authorizations prior to a global rollout of AO.

You can authorize AO in the areas detailed below, as shown in the example in Figure 2.4.

Analysis Office

Figure 2.4: Demo authorization for AO

As shown in Figure 2.4, you can specify your desired values within the different authorization areas. In the authorization definition, you can set the Activity to the following options:

  1. Create/generate
  2. Change
  3. Display
  4. Delete
  5. Execute

Analysis Office Technical Name

Provide a prefix for the technical workbook name. In my example, all workbooks start with the prefix BIA_AO.

Analysis Office Object type

  1. 00 = Excel
  2. 01 = PowerPoint

You can use this authorization to grant access to Excel or PowerPoint files stored on the BW server.


In this section, specify whether a user with authorization can read or change all workbooks (full authorization). In that case, use the wildcard “*” value. If you want to restrict access to only workbooks created by a specific person or persons, you can enter single or multiple SAP user IDs respectively.

The authorization, for example, for displaying data for a specific organizational unit only, retains its functionality as provided for existing SAP BEx queries (see Figure 2.4).

If you are only allowed to see specific data dimensions (e.g., characteristics) or attributes (e.g., sales organization (0SALES_ORG) = 1000), the authorization is based on the existing authorizations and no further changes are required.

AO adapts to that authorization when it executes or embeds queries in AO workbooks.

All of the authorization objects described above are restricted only to AO workbook functionality.

Depending on your authorization role(s), e.g., sales manager, you will see the defined role menu you already use in combination with SAP BEx workbooks.

This is very convenient when it comes to migrating workbooks. You can retrieve an SAP BEx workbook from a specific folder, which you and your users are used to doing, migrate it to the AO workbook, and, depending on your naming convention (provided in the upper authorization object maintenance area in Figure 2.4), you can save the new workbook in the same folder.

Therefore, by using AO authorization in combination with SAP BEx workbook authorization objects (which I do not cover in this book), you can define roles with authorization for only the old SAP BEx workbooks, only the new AO workbooks, or both. As you can see, SAP authorizations may provide a best of breed method of migrating from SAP BEx to AO.

2.1.7 Business Object server prerequisites

The prerequisite for using AO is SAP Business Objects BI Platform 3.1 (I recommend using the 4.x versions) or higher. This can run side-by-side with SAP NetWeaver BW.

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