Optimised efficiency for end-users: SAP Analysis for Office (AfO)
This article provides an overview of SAP Analysis for Office (AfO). It also answers the following questions: What is SAP Analysis for Office? What are the design features and integration options to the SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) and what does the version update 2.8 bring with it?
Table of contents
What is Analysis for Office (AfO)?
Analysis for Office (AfO) is the SAP BI tool for business users: In a familiar Excel environment, SAP AfO enables users to read simple reports and run comprehensive reporting and planning applications. At the same time, power users benefit from comprehensive data analysis functions.
The current release 2.7 contains new features and functionalities that convince with increased user-friendliness and flexibility for end users. In addition, Analysis for Office 2.7 can also natively consume models based on the SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC).
2. new design and more flexible data modelling
To optimize user-friendliness, AfO's functionalities are now presented by means of the two separate tabs "Analysis" and "Analysis Design". In future, data sources can be added and filters, hierarchies and key figures configured under "Analysis". The corresponding formatting of the analyses can now be found under "Analysis Design": Here, representations (e.g. diagrams, tables) can be formatted according to requirements.
The data modelling in the client has also been further improved. Filters can now be set on key figures - coupled with the optional creation of calculated and restricted key figures. For the necessary calculations in tables, users can still comfortably fall back on the familiar Excel syntax. In addition, the content of the tables can be enriched with external data via the SVERWEIS function.
The commenting function has also been usefully expanded in AfO Release 2.7: Comments can now be implemented both in the workbooks (local) and in BW/4HANA (global). When implemented locally, comments are only visible within the workbooks in which they were created. Globally implemented, on the other hand, comments on restricted key figures show up in every query in which these key figures are used. The two alternatives thus expand the application spectrum in a very practical and flexible way.
3. integration of the SAP Analytics Cloud
Analysis for Office has already included the option to report directly via (native) SAC models since 2017. The new release 2.7 improves this function: Now planning is also possible by integrating active models from the SAC into the AfO. Subsequently, the entered planning data can be written back to the SAC.
The intelligent linking of AfO and SAC sets a further effective course at the height of the times: The number of companies worldwide is now growing rapidly in which optimized cloud solutions contribute as efficiently as sustainably to competitive advantage and business success - ideally coupled with standardized visualization in reporting to ensure the best possible decisions.
The integration of Analysis for Office and SAP Analytics Cloud is therefore also being driven forward in terms of licensing. SAP now offers a separate AfO version specifically for SAC, which is available to SAC subscribers free of charge. However, the free version only allows connections to the SAC - other data sources cannot be connected: This is possible with the full version of Analysis for Office 2.7.
4.1 Accessing data from the DWC using Analysis for Office version 2.8 SP14
Both editions of SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office (see differences for each licence on PAM page 6) support direct access to the DWC. To access this data, add a new data source for analysis. In the tree view of the connection dialogue there is a new connection type SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. Create a new connection with the right mouse button and maintain the description and URL of the client.
As soon as this login with the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud user is successful, the option to search for analytical datasets opens:
- The user can either search by the description or technical name of the dataset, or use the direct search to search for all records in a specific range
- The "Area" tab lists all assigned areas with their analysis data sets
Select the desired data set, maintain possible prompts and start the analysis as usual:
4.2 Additional notes
- The preferred platform must be selectable to see the new SAP Data Warehouse Cloud connection type
- In the future, SAP will change the embedded Internet Explorer-based logon to the computer's default browser. This setting UseExternalBrowserForDwcLogon is already available but disabled by default until the changes are released on all SAP BTP landscapes.
- Further information and restrictions are listed on the SAP help page