Business Objects, Web Intelligence, and InfoView
Penn uses Business Objects XI3 for the Data Warehouse. In XI3, users access all reports and do all report creation and editing via the web based tools; there is no longer a desktop client tool for query and analysis.
Web Intelligence (Webi) is SAP/Business Objects' strategic web-based tool for ad hoc analysis, replacing the Desktop Intelligence (Deski) software that has been in use at Penn for many years. Like Deski, Webi provides access to the data collections in the Warehouse via the universes and middleware on the Business Objects server. Webi provides extensive query construction and report formatting capabilities, all in a web environment and without the need for desktop client software.
In Webi, users can
- Build and edit the query to retrieve data from the source database (e.g., the Data Warehouse)
- Include sub-queries and multiple queries from different data providers
- Create prompts and filtering options for use when the reports are run in InfoView
- Do all of the report editing (not that some report modifications can now also be done in InfoView)
- Webi reports are stored in folders in InfoView.
InfoView is the portal to all reports, including:
- the individual's personal collection of queries and reports, stored in their My Favorites area on the server
- the Public Folders which contain all reports shared by groups of people
- the gateway to Web Intelligence, either by choosing the option to edit an existing Webi report, or selecting New WebIntelilgence document from one of the dropdowns in the toolbar.
We had InfoView in the old version, but XI3 provides a lot of enhancements. Some new features with InfoView include:
- an interactive mode, which can be set in the user's viewing preferences, that allows for on-report filtering and control without having to edit the report in Webi
- improved save-to-excel functionality
Note: SAP/Business Objects hasn't done any development in Deski in years -- all the new stuff has been going into Webi and InfoView.
What users will need
While access to the new server only requires a browser, users may need LSP assistance to adjust their browser settings.
Please see http://www.upenn.edu/computing/da/dw/querytools.html for the latest information on supported browsers and java versions. If there is no JRE on the user's computer, launching Webi will push it to their computer, but that may not be the version you want them to be at. Refer to the page noted above for latest information on JRE compatibility.
Advanced users who edit complex queries may need additional assistance. See Troubleshooting below.
If users have been creating and maintaining their own reports locally, either on their desktop or a shared drive, they will need to have their local Deski reports converted to Webi. They cannot convert reports themselves. Data Administration is working with the users to migrate needed reports, and users are encouraged to first review the Conversion Overview and Report Migration Instructions and contact Data Administration, firstname.lastname@example.org, when they are ready to send their reports for conversion.
Most users will need help making sure their browsers allow them to download files to Excel from the InfoView portal.
You may find that you also need to assist users with a Java Control Panel setting. See: http://www.upenn.edu/computing/da/bo/webi/qna/webi_javaConfig.html
JRE 1.7_51 introduced new security settings that prevent the use of both BEN Financials and Webi/Business Objects in its default state but is configurable to allow the use of those applications. That configuration is done through the Java Control Panel. To use BEN Financials and/or Webi, the following must be done:
- In the Java Control Panel, click the “Security" tab.
- Click "Edit Site List ...".
- Click "Add" in the Exception Site List window.
- Click in the empty field under the “Location" field to enter the following URL: https://bobjprod.isc-seo.upenn.edu
- Click “OK" to save the URLs that you entered.
- Click “OK" to save changes made to the Java Control Panel.
For more information, please see Oracle's Security Level Settings in the Java Control Panel.
For users who are writing and maintaining complex reports
If they find that Webi is often freezing up on them, even while they are actively working in the report and query editing screens, it is highly recommended that the following be done to modify the java runtime parameters:
- Edit the Java Control Panel
- On the Java tab, go to View. Make the following change on both the User and the System tabs
- In the "Runtime Parameters" enter -Xms128m -Xmx256m
- Click OK then click Apply (if you do not click Apply, your changes will not be saved)
- If a subsequent JRE version is installed at a later date, you may need to go back in and verify that this setting is still in effect.
If the above does not work, it may help to set an environment variable:
- Create an environment variable in windows, by going to Computer-> right click properties-> advanced-> env vars.
- Name it _JAVA_OPTS and as a value for this variable, enter -Xms128m -Xmx256m.
- Restart the computer.
- This is a generic error number for a wide variety of Webi issues. You will need to know the entire error message to determine where to proceed.
- The error usually appears in the format: "An internal error occurred while calling "
- It is helpful to get the entire message, including the specific service that was being called when the internal error occurred.
- If your user gets one of these errors consistently, contact Data Administration email@example.com for the latest recommendations from SAP/Business Objects related to the error.
Additional troubleshooting tips that users can do for themselves can be found in the online FAQ
Help, FAQ, online documentation
Data Administration's documentation for end users, including information about Deski-to-Webi report conversion, FAQs, and "How-To" downloadable tips on specific tasks, can be found at the Webi Migration web pages at http://www.upenn.edu/computing/da/bo/webi/
LSPs are encouraged to check the FAQ and tips; Data Administration will be continually updating and adding to it as the project moves forward.