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Need to better understanding Explorer and how it is positioned / used

We are just now moving to BI Suite 4.x and taking a closer look at Explorer, so I'd like some current thoughts on the layman's view of what it is, its usage, and where it fits in.

We're just doing the basics now - Web Intelligence, soon to get into Crystal Reports for Enterprise and Dashboards (via Design Studio)<-- but we're not exactly sure how we'll be utilizing Design Studio . . .

So looking for a quick layman's understanding of Explorer.

SAP says on page 5:

"It is a web-based search and exploration application that enables business professionals to explore and search through business information."

- Well, Webi also fits this bill, so ???

"By default, a ready-formatted chart displays the application's best guess data selection"

- so, one types in a free-form question (like asking Siri), and up pops a chart ???

Also from SAP,

"SAP BusinessObjects Explorer is a data discovery application that allows you to retrieve answers to your business questions from corporate data quickly and directly."

- sounds like Webi to me . . .

"Through search, you can find relevant data that is held within consistent, meaningful datasets known as Information Spaces."

- so we have to build marts for this ?

"you can filter and drill through Information Spaces and view only the data you are interested in via advanced visualizations or charts."

- I though Design Studio was for snazzy visualization . . .

Here's my take after some research

- this is a "high-end" tool where there is a huge amount of data and "unstructured" data requests

- Figure out how to use Design Studio/Dashboards before Explorer

- would confuse users who have basic reporting needs

Here's my research:

SAP Presentation, 2012

- Slides 18-21 on Crystal, Webi, Dashboards, and Explorer

- Slide 23, Comparison of tools, here:

Inline image 1


BOB discussion

Long and the short of it:

- User Explorer when there are large volumes of data that need to be explored quickly. If complex caclutions are required, they need to be implemented in Metadata or ETL.

- Use Web Intelligence when there are complex one-off calculations using reasonably-sized datasets (say, 30 columns and 100,000 rows).

The two can certainly compliment each other if there's a top-down analytical approach (i.e. get to a certain point in Explorer then port the space filters to a WebI report with more detail).

Web Intelligence vs. Xcelsius vs. Explorer 2011 article,

Although SAP has been very heavily promoting the Explorer product for the last couple of years, the adoption of this newer search based query tool has been slow. There are many reasons for this but the one that stands out the most is, that as a Business Intelligence tool, it is limited. While SAP BusinessObjects offers a number of Business Intelligence tools for different functions, the majority of customers prefer to pick just one or two for mass user consumption and they will tend to pick tools that can provide the widest range of functionality.


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3 Answers

  • Best Answer
    Posted on Jan 14, 2016 at 06:14 PM

    Explorer is ultimately will be replaced by Lumira. I would suggest start using Lumira than Explorer.

    Explorer is flash based , Since flash is gone, SAP is pushing for Lumira as replacement .

    Explorer is used for more analytics purpose and is easy to learn. Business users can quickly create visualization, but where as Design Studio which requires more development skills.

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  • Posted on Jan 14, 2016 at 06:45 PM

    Bill,

    Here some screen shots to help you understand better, recommended tools.

    FOR BW USERS:

    NON-BW USERS:

    Regards,

    Ajay


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  • Posted on Jan 14, 2016 at 06:49 PM

    Bill,

    Also see the long term BI Tools convergence strategy from SAP. As mentioned by others Lumira , AOLAP, & Explorer will merged into ONE tool. We have not been given a clear timetime actually when all this will happen but I would expect 2-3 years.

    Regards,

    Ajay


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