SAP Business Objects 4.x provides functionality to schedule Web Intelligence (Webi) documents to automatically refresh at specified times. The automatically refreshed ‘instance’ of a Webi document is a snapshot of data and can be stored in the document’s history or distributed through email or BI Inboxes to specified recipients. It is an excellent way to systematically provide your Business Objects (BOBJ) and non-BOBJ users with a snapshot of the latest data at times you specify. For example, you can schedule a Webi document to run every night (after nightly data loads), so it’s available for your users first thing in the morning. The format choices for output include Webi, Excel, PDF, and CSV file types. This post has a second part, which will finish up explaining the process and also cover some Advanced Scheduling Options.
Before you Begin Scheduling your Webi Documents...
Think about, and then decide, the following before you start setting up a schedule for a Webi report:
- What - Instance Title: Do you want the instance to be named the same as the Webi document? Or do you want the instance title to reflect something else like the purpose, time period, subject area, distribution, etc. of the report?
- When - Recurrence: When do you want the report to run? How often? On which days at what time? How long does it take for the report to run? When do you want this schedule to start and stop?
- Which - Format: What file format do you want your users to receive?
- Who or Where - Destinations: Who should get the report? Are they BOBJ users? Or not? Do you want the ‘instance’ to be stored in the document’s history or saved to a shared drive?
The following exercise steps through the scheduling process and includes option descriptions and explanations.
Exercise - Don't Worry, it's Easy
In this exercise, we’ll create a scheduled instance for the Webi document named Formatting Sample - one of several sample Webi reports provided by SAP with a Business Objects 4.x installation. These samples are based on the eFashion universe. Here’s the scenario we will use which will provide the information we need to schedule the report:
The Sales Team would like to have the latest revenue information each morning (Monday through Friday) by 7:00 am. The nightly data load is completed about 4:00 am. All of the Sales Team are BOBJ users; however, they would like the data delivered to their email inboxes in Excel format.
From the scenario, we can answer the four questions before we begin:
- What - Instance Title: Let’s name the instance Daily Sales Team Revenue.
a. This title describes the instance as a daily report going to the Sales Team that contains Revenue data. The Excel export sent from the scheduled instance will have this title. Later in the scheduling process we’ll add the date and time the file is processed to the Excel file name.
b. If the Webi document you are scheduling has a title that is descriptive enough for the instance title, there's no need to name the instance something else.
- When - Recurrence: We will schedule the report to run Monday through Friday at 6:30 am.
a. This time will not interfere with the data load times.
b. The report takes less than one minute to run, so the information will be delivered well before the 7:00 am deadline.
c. We will start sending out the file on December 27, 2012 and have them run through the next year.
d. Scheduled instances can be modified, paused, and stopped at any time.
- Which - Format: Excel will be used for this information per our users’ request.
a. Other formats include Webi documents (.wid), PDF, and CSV file types.
b. The Webi document format can only be sent to BOBJ users’ BI Inboxes while the other file types can be sent to non-BOBJ users.
- Who or where - Destinations: There are five people on the Sales team.
a. You can either enter the email addresses individually or use a distribution list (DL).
b. The requirement does not include storing the ‘instances’ to the document’s history or saving it to a shared drive.
The Process for Scheduling Webi Documents
- Navigate to the Formatting Sample document.
a. Right-click on the closed document.
- From the short-cut menu, select Schedule.
- The Scheduling screen displays. On the left-hand panel are the different options; while to the right, in the main part of the screen, is where you’ll input the specifics of the scheduled instance.
- Starting with the Instance Title, work your way down the list of options on the left and add your specifics in the space to the right. Enter Daily Sales Team Revenue as the Instance Title.
- Recurrence – the frequency of the schedule is chosen here. Select Weekly in the Run object drop down.
a. Each frequency has slightly different options. Below are the options for Weekly.
b. Select Monday through Friday for the days.
c. Select a Start Date/Time of 12/27/2012, 6:30 AM
d. Select an End Date/Time of 12/31/2013, 10:00 AM (to make sure it runs the last day of the year)
Tune in to the "exciting conclusion"...
Ok, so you are about half way there, so consider this a cliffhanger to digest what we've learned so far! Tune in to the next blog post where we will complete the Scheduling Webi Documents process and discuss Advanced Scheduling Options.