Using SAP’s Business Explorer Analyzer
SAP’s Business Explorer (BEx) is the tool used by end-users for slicing and dicing data. One
should note that an individual company may be quite restrictive in allowing end-users access to
BEx—to protect performance. A SAP BW cube on the UA’s z900 using DB2 as the SAP BW
engine will be used as a vehicle for you gain exposure to SAP’s business explorer (BEx).
Christine Davis and graduate students have created what is referred to as the frozen foods cube.
A short description of the data follows. Note the granularity—customer by product to the week
level. Thus, the granularity is at a summarized level. The cube is shown below and then
discussed. Note that there are six dimensions in addition to the time dimension and that the
fact table has quite a few entries.
This data is actual data derived from Tyson’s Frozen Foods COPA (Controlling and Profitability
Analysis) database from SAP’s R/3 product. This database allows the organization to study and
analyze the profitability of its product lines, customer channels and organizational units. The
database has detailed cost breakdowns in over 50 key figures for such things as brokerage costs,
freezer charges, product costs, special shipping charges, marketing and corporate costs, etc. The
granularity of the data is to the customer by product by week level. The full dataset contains
approximately 10 million rows and over 2 years of data. The data cube was designed to allow
users and managers from any functional area in the company to understand and analyze the
company’s operations for profitability improvement in their area. Managers can look at overall
profitability by a product line, a product, and channel, an organizational unit etc. They can also
look at individual costs and make comparisons across product lines, channels, and organizational
Logon and getting to the BEx Analyzer
There are multiple ways to get to the BEx Analyzer. A couple of ways requires a normal SAP
logon (icon on desktop or from Start menu).
Logon to SAP is as follows: From either StartProgramsSAP Front End (or the SAP Logon
icon on the desktop), you get the following Logon dialog.
Ozark BW 3.5_900 is running on the UA z900 mainframe—this is the cube with which we wish
to work. Click this entry and then click the Log on button. The SAP logon screen opens to
allow you to logon.
Use Client 200 and enter you user
and password. Note that you can
change your password.
After logging on, there are a
couple of ways to get to the BEx
analyzer. One way is to fully
expand the Business Explorer tree
to get the window shown below.
Logon id and password
Double click RRMX - Analyzer—note that Excel opens and should include a SAP toolbar. SAP
uses Excel to serve as the front end. The SAP toolbar allows you to create queries that will be
displayed in Excel and have additional manipulation functionality. Note that the SAP toolbar
has tooltips; further, you will probably want to move the toolbar to your favorite location. In my
case, I typically move the SAP toolbar to the top along with other Excel toolbars.
Creating a Query
Click the Open icon on the SAP toolbar and select Queries as shown below.
Selecting Queries opens the Select query window.
New Query Button
Click the InfoAreas button to open
folders that may include infocubes
(cubes) that you can query
Click the InfoAreas button to open folders to locate Infocubes (cubes). For this case, a cube has
already been created for you. For illustration purposes, use the Frozen Foods Incorporated
Profitability Cube. Expanding the tree will list all the queries that have been created. To create a
new query, click the New Query Button.
Click the New Query Icon which opens Query Designer window. The Query Designer is divided
into six sub areas:
1. Directory tree of the selected InfoCube
All available objects (key figures and dimensions) of the infocube display in the directory
tree in the left screen area of the Query Designer.
You define the columns of your report in this area.
You define the rows of your report in this area.
4. Free Characteristics
You transfer those characteristics into the free characteristics area that do not display in
the initial view of the results when you execute the query in the BEx Analyzer or on the
Web. You can then integrate these characteristics into the results through the navigation
steps. You can also use free characteristics for selecting filter values in the report.
The characteristics displayed in the filter appear neither in the drilldown nor as free
characteristics in the query analysis. These characteristics are only used as global filters
on the infocube data.
This area provides preview of the query results.
1 4 51 2
To create a query, you can expand or collapse the directories as needed to locate the values you
wish to include in the query. You can use drag & drop to transfer entries from the directory tree
to the desired areas of the query designer. Note that the Preview window is grayed out to
prevent the user from dropping objects into this area.
An example query definition is shown below. Note that the order of the entries can be altered
by clicking on an entry and dragging it down below another entry.
To run the query, click the quit and run query ( ). A save dialog box will open asking you to
provide a Description and Technical name. The technical name is somewhat analogous to a file
name and should not include spaces. For illustration, the description was ForClasss1 and the
technical name was Class_1. The query results are displayed in a spreadsheet with enhanced
SAP navigation capabilities.
A portion of the query is shown to the above. The grayed areas in rows 3 to 6 and columns A and
B list the key figures and dimensions in column A and leave column B for user action. Note that
there is only one key figure; however there are multiple Frozen Foods Sales o entries and Fiscal
This is where the user can experiment with the SAP enhancements to the spreadsheet. For
example, you can swap columns, eliminate totals, add free dimensions, filter groups, etc. This is
typically accomplished in two ways—double clicking on one of the dimension attributes or right-
clicking on something and following the context menu. The best way to learn this is by
experimenting. For example, right-click Column B to the right of the Frozen Foods Sales o entry
on row 3, select Drilldown and then Down as shown below.
A portion of the results of this action are shown below. Note that the data is summarized for
gross sales for protein 1 and protein 61 with the value protein values being displayed down
instead of across.
The next screen shot shows the result after right-clicking the Fiscal year/period empty cell (B3)
and selecting Down.
An easy way for the user to reverse the drill down is
to click the Back arrow on the SAP add-in tool bar.
To change the time period orientation, reverse the previous drill-down and right-click the Fiscal
year/period empty cell (B3) and select Across. Also, right-click the Frozen Foods Sales o empty
cell (B4) and select Down. See below for a sample of the output.
The user can change a query or create new queries. To change a query, click the Change Query
icon on the SAP add-in tool bar.
After clicking the Change query icon, select the Change Query (global definition) as shown
below. This takes you back to the Query Designer window where you can make changes. After
making changes, you need to save the query (diskette icon main menu toolbar) before executing
(clicking the green check mark).