Monday, September 30, 2019

Preparing to Upgrade - Implementing a Strong SAP BI Content Storage Strategy

When you are thinking about upgrading your SAP BI system or migrating to a new version of SAP BusinessObjects, it’s important not to lose sight of where the value lies in that system: the value is in your BI system content.

Implementing a robust system content storage strategy is a critical step in preparing to upgrade your system, or to migrate your content between systems. Such a strategy ensures that your report objects, report instances, universes, connections, users, groups, security and schedules are safely stored in a smart repository that allows fast and simple system content promotion.

When you are planning ugrades and migrations, you need to prioritize your system content. You can greatly simplify your upgrade process and save valuable time by implementing the APOS Storage Center solution. Storage Center's extract and export features maintain document of record integrity for the migration process.

APOS Storage Center is a dedicated SAP BusinessObjects document lifecycle management solution. It simplifies the process of backing up objects, including instances, from a source system and restoring them to a target system. Use APOS Storage Center to implement a proactive system storage strategy and you will greatly simplify the entire migration process, because you will only have to migrate necessary system content. You can archive content not seen as essential. Should some of that archived content be needed, Storage Center gives you the ability to restore it selectively, to its original location or to any other location you specify.

With APOS Storage Center, you will be able to:
  • Automate system backup & content archive
  • Restore selectively
  • Promote strategically
  • Apply versioning
  • Manage document lifecycles

Using APOS Storage Center, you can deliver balance in the way your organization handles system performance, user navigation, audit requirements, storage resources and technical debt. Find out more:

APOS Upgrade BI S3

We've extended the thinking in our Manage BI S3 framework to address upgrade and migration challenges, resulting in the Upgrade BI S3 framework.

As you may recall, the Manage BI S3 framework leads you to Manage Smart, Manage Strong, and Manage Simple.

The Upgrade BI S3 framework incorporates migration and upgrade concerns into this framework, so you Upgrade Smart, Upgrade Strong, and Upgrade Safe. Simplification of the upgrade process continues to be a key objective, but additional risks that arise during the platform transition process require greater emphasis on managing a Safe migration.

Upgrade Smart

To upgrade smart is to:
  • Establish clear and granular visibility into your BI system, including content, structure, security, users, and usage patterns
  • Identify potential challenges and opportunities for your upgrade process
  • Clarify project plans and scope
  • Pinpoint actionable information

Upgrade Strong

To upgrade strong is to:
  • Remove unnecessary content from the project scope
  • Remove unnecessary steps from the process
  • Automate time-intensive content control actions
  • Automate time-intensive platform control actions

Upgrade Safe

To upgrade safe is to:
  • Protect and safeguard system content assets
  • Contain system transition risks, such as unintended system changes, mistranslations, or loss of content
  • Mitigate human error risks
  • Validate process accuracy
  • Guard system integrity

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

What Is Deep System Knowledge?

If you have attended any of our numerous webinars on SAP BI migration and upgrades, you will have heard us refer quite often to the concept of “deep system knowledge” and how important it is to establish such knowledge before any great undertaking such as a system migration or upgrade.

But what exactly does “deep system knowledge” mean?

If you are an SAP BI platform manager or administrator, you must have a pretty good knowledge of your system, but the difference between your knowledge and deep system knowledge is the complete snapshot and statistical analysis that is made possible by answering some pointed questions about your system.

With a panoramic snapshot of your SAP BI system at a point in time, you can:
  • Inventory and catalog your existing reports to know where your reports and instances are, which reports are in use, by whom and how frequently
  • Document report composition and connections
  • Identify and prioritize what needs to be migrated
  • Validate report content prior to migration
  • Establish performance benchmarks

For platform managers and BI administrators planning a migration or upgrade, deep system knowledge is due diligence.

View our recent webinar on demand:

…to find out more about upgrade and migration planning best practices.

Learn more about how APOS Well Managed solutions & migration resources can help you get ready for your next move.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

APOS Insight for Cloud - SAP Analytics Cloud Monitoring & Analysis

We are pleased to announce the release of our new APOS Insight for Cloud solution, which let's you configure and run a service to monitor the performance of SAP Analytics Cloud stories, send notifications to selected recipients when the stories' performance crosses pre-defined thresholds, and collect statistics over time that you can use to compare access between locations using your Cloud deployment.

By comparing statistics amongst locations, you can formulate an understanding of your system's performance. You can also set thresholds and send notifications when the system does not perform according to the standards established in those thresholds.

This means that you can:
  • Compare performance between multiple office locations
  • Alert using email or SNMP for a direct connection to your monitoring suite
  • Keep track of your connection performance data over time

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Managing SAP BI Security – Sensitive Data Governance

Managing security within your SAP BI deployment is hard enough, but you also have to be concerned with your deployment's periphery, and its relation to external data sources.

The APOS Intelligent Data Access Controller (IDAC) extends the BI administrator's control of data processes beyond the BI system to the data sources themselves. IDAC gives you the ability to monitor and manage queries from your BI system to all of your enterprise data sources.

New and evolving regulatory requirements create additional complexity for BI platform managers and administrators. To meet these requirements and overcome complexity, you need to take a proactive approach to data access, audit and accountability within your SAP BusinessObjects deployment. You need to know who is doing what, where, and when.

IDAC is an intelligent, data source agnostic solution that can vastly improve the ability of BI platform managers, administrators and technicians to exert control over data and data access across multiple applications, operating systems, and data sources and types. This solution helps you manage and audit data access and activity across technologies, while improving system performance, information security, data privacy, and regulatory accountability.

Flagging Sensitive Data
When you are reviewing the security of your BI system, sensitive data deserves special consideration, especially in industries such as financial services and healthcare, where the security and privacy of data is highly regulated. BI platform managers and administrators need to be able to track user access and report on it to the appropriate regulatory and internal governance authorities when necessary. Unauthorized access constitutes a data breach, regardless of intention, and regardless of whether it is external or internal.

One of the key features of the IDAC solution is the ability to track specific fields. For example, in a healthcare environment, you can set up alerts to be triggered by a query against a Patient ID. This is particularly useful, because under HIPAA a patient has the right to know who has accessed their health records. A query to the IDAC database can give you this information immediately. You can also use the data from the IDAC database to analyze user behavior over time.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Managing SAP BI Security - Data Distribution Governance

BI publishing answers a very complex question that many organizations are currently facing. The question is this: how can an enterprise cope with an exponential growth in data, data types, and data sources, meet expanding regulatory requirements, cater to increased stakeholder communications needs, and manage security, privacy and other risks ‑ all while reducing costs and increasing shareholder value?

Part of the objective of implementing distribution technology is to maximize ROI, competitive advantage and stakeholder value, while minimizing risk.

The information-intensive nature of modern organizations, along with the complexity of the regulatory landscape, make the collection, generation and distribution of enterprise information critical. The right information has to get to the right recipients at the right time and in the right format.

APOS Publisher
The APOS Publisher solution helps enterprises using SAP BusinessObjects in complex publishing scenarios to execute tightly controlled document production, publishing and distribution workflows. Using Publisher's advanced bursting, automation, workflow monitoring, interactive process control, assured delivery, and enhanced distribution, encryption, and integration capabilities, enterprises can reduce risks, increase the ROI on their BI system, and build stakeholder value.

APOS Publisher for Cloud
APOS Publisher for Cloud takes lessons learned from BI publishing and applies them to SAP Analytics Cloud. It automates processes for bursting personalized SAP Analytics Cloud stories to end users. Dynamic, security driven processes with strict filters provide SAP Analytics broadcasting capabillities and help administrators ensure users receive only the data to which they are entitled.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Salesforce Live Data Connectivity for SAP Analytics Cloud

APOS is happy to announce that the APOS Live Data Gateway now provides live data connectivity between SAP Analytics Cloud and Salesforce.

Salesforce is a widely used CRM system, with a reported 150K+ customers globally. Clearly there is an immense amount of critical data in Salesforce that needs to be incorporated into a comprehensive analytics strategy. SAP Analytics Cloud, combined with the APOS Live Data Gateway, can now take advantage of Salesforce data without the need for data replication or bulk data movement. Simply connect live from SAP Analytics Cloud to Salesforce, and leverage the data from where it currently resides.

Live data connectivity means:
  • Data never leaves the firewall
  • No data movement, data replication, or duplication in data modelling
  • No duplication in security modelling
  • Data is always current
  • No data limits

Contact APOS to learn more about how you can make a live connection to Salesforce from SAP Analytics Cloud.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Managing SAP BI Security – Safeguarding Content

The integrity of your BI content is paramount, not just for purposes of analysis, but also for purposes of governance and compliance. To secure your content and protect its integrity, you need to implement a robust system content storage strategy.

APOS Storage Center is your electronic vault for SAP BusinessObjects report objects and document instances. Its backup, archive and selective restore capabilities make it invaluable to organizations concerned with the integrity of their document instances. The proactive use of Storage Center is a preventive BI best practice for the prevention of problems and the timely resolution of issues.

Use APOS Storage Center to:
  • Back up objects with versioning
  • Preserve documents for long-term availability & information governance
  • Automate system content cleanup with business-rules driven, intelligent system purge
  • Promotion, system replication & simplified management workflows
  • Implement a Disaster Recovery Plan for disasters of all sizes

Managing SAP BI Security – Bulk Security Administration

APOS Administrator is a high-performance SAP BI administration solution, and provides bulk administrative capabilities for all SAP BI system objects, so it can play a key role in helping you to optimize your SAP BI security structure.

The security of the reports in your BI system is of prime importance, and bulk object management via APOS Administrator presents a streamlined approach to security administration.

Working on Security settings in the Central Management Console, one folder at a time, can be a daunting task, and it’s easy to miss a setting, or forget a folder, and it’s very easy to click the wrong radio button.

Use the Security Management component of APOS Administrator to select groups and folders. These groups and folder then appear in a matrix that allows you to view and assign the required security settings. In addition to assigning the basic built-in security roles, you can also assign any custom roles that you’ve created. Even individual security settings can be Granted or Denied if required.

After making modification to your folder security, you can easily test the security by using APOS Administrator's User Impersonation feature to log in as an affected user to ensure that they will see the folders that you have enabled for them in the security settings.

In summary, you can use APOS Administrator to:
  • Administer and document security
  • Administer and document content
  • Manage and compare multiple environments
  • Perform centralized bulk management of:
    • User preferences
    • Security
    • Users
    • User groups
    • Limits

Managing SAP BI Security – Audit & Analysis

Security starts with knowledge. You can't manage what you can't see. APOS Insight is designed to provide deep visibility into your SAP BI deployments, giving you the knowledge you need to overcome their growing volume and complexity.

Your BI team is tasked with seemingly conflicting objectives: to distribute information and to safeguard information. You need to get the right information (and only the right information) to the right people (and only the right people). The key to reconciling these objectives lies in developing a granular view of your security structure, and monitoring that structure for changes, whether planned or unplanned.

Our first focus is generally on the accessibility of data -- getting our data into data warehouses, moving our reports between environments, bursting reports to a wide variety of information consumers, etc. We spend so much time getting these things right that we may not fully consider what can go wrong. We may not know something can go wrong until it does. Worse still, we may not know that problems have occurred. Bringing resources to bear on the issue of security is part of the solution. The other, equally important, parts are the development of deep system knowledge and the application of that knowledge in a systematic manner.

APOS Insight Audit
Form an accurate picture of all security elements and compare periodic snapshots to determine when security modifications were made and (by combining Audit data) by whom; monitor regulatory compliance requirements. By using the metadata collected by the APOS Insight solution, you can quickly report on the security settings that exist in your system. This functionality can be useful when you need to provide proof of security when dealing with regulatory agencies.

APOS Insight History Mode
Good governance is a function of the good security provided by strict metadata audit and management. APOS Insight's History mode gives you the power to track all changes to report objects over time, supporting your change management workflows, and letting you demonstrate the provenance of reports and control objects for better governance and compliance with regulatory requirements (e.g.: for SOX). change management

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Managing SAP BI Security – Overview

Setting up SAP BI security for a new deployment is relatively straightforward. If you keep some important principles in mind, and understand fully the impact of each decision, your defined security model should be adequate to the task.

However, as your BI deployment grows in volume and complexity, the task of managing your security model is far from straightforward, and it gets more and more difficult to keep up with the job using just the SAP BI administrative toolkit:

  • Knowledge of your system is vital to its wellbeing, and you need to develop deep awareness before you can commit to appropriate courses of action
  • Change is rapid, and you need to respond rapidly by managing change in bulk operations, rather than one at a time. You need granular control to apply your newly found deep system knowledge.
  • Content is value, and you need to ensure you safeguard this value for compliance and governance.
  • Content distribution is the whole point of a BI system, and you need to ensure this process is securely governed.
  • Data can be sensitive, and you need to ensure it is used appropriately, and that you know by whom it has been accessed.
  • Your BI system exists to serve its users, and you need to be able to audit, analyze and understand the behavior of those users to ensure they are getting what they need, and that they are not abusing the BI system in any way.
This post begins a series exploring these aspects of managing SAP BI security, including:

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Translate Modelling from SAP BI to SAP HANA

As vendors within the SAP partner ecosphere, we don't have to choose between SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP BusinessObjects. But then again, neither do SAP's customers, because, for the foreseeable future, both are available, compatible, and able to run in parallel.

Sure, there's a cost associated with duplication, but there's a potentially larger cost associated with insufficient intelligence and analytics, so we are focusing on the strengths of both systems, and looking, and looking for ways to make this Hybrid relationship sing.

That's the philosophy behind the new APOS Universe Modelling Migration Accelerator (UMMA) solution. If you truly want to run SAP BusinessObjects and SAP Analytics Cloud in parallel ‑ that is, with the same access to your information resources ‑ but also as independently as possible, then you should take advantage of APOS UMMA's modelling translation capabilities.

UMMA is a conversion application that enables organizations working with SAP BI and SAP Analytics Cloud to automate the translation of modelling from SAP BI to SAP HANA.

  • You have a well developed SAP BI deployment with reliance on universes. you want to speed development of advanced analytics with SAP Analytics Cloud.
  • SAP HANA is an important part of your data landscape plan.
  • You want to leverage the existing modelling and business logic that resides in your SAP BI universes.
  • You want to realize performance and feature gains with SAP Analytics Cloud via HANA
  • You want to ensure your deployment and your BI & Analytics team is moving forward with technology that provides a path to the platform of the future.

UMMA facilitates hybrid mode, allowing organizations to continue to develop with universes, while periodically synchronizing development updates with HANA, and advancing HANA development in parallel.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Solution Spotlight - APOS Administrator

APOS Administrator is one of our core solutions. It provides the help you need for most of your daily SAP BI administrative needs, as well as your major initiatives, including:
  • Bulk security management – manage security rights within a matrix, modify rights and user properties in bulk, document explicitly applied rights.
  • Bulk object management – see and manage your complete object environment, work with high volumes of objects simultaneously.
  • Bulk scheduling – create and execute report schedules in high volume, update and repeat schedules with bulk schedule templates.
  • Bulk instance management – see and manage your entire instance inventory, respond rapidly and in bulk to report failure scenarios.
  • Structured content promotion – promote between multiple environments while meeting all governance and compliance requirements.
  • Change validation – use administrative user impersonation to validate content delivery changes.

APOS Administrator lets you streamline your high-volume system changes, automate repetitive activities, and recover rapidly from failures. It automates bulk operations and provides the granular controls you need to streamline administration of your SAP BI deployment.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Manage S3 – Smart, Strong, Simple

A cube presents multiple surfaces for your consideration. That’s why we see it as a perfect metaphor for managing your SAP BI, SAP Analytics Cloud, and Hybrid BI deployments. You need to view your needs from multiple perspectives.

APOS well managed BI solutions provide intelligent alternatives that unleash the power of your BI, Analytics, and Hybrid BI deployments, while simplifying platform management, maintenance, and administration.

Manage Smart 
Knowledge is the key to efficient and effective action. APOS solutions give you deep and granular system knowledge and the actionable information you need to manage your BI & Analytics systems.

Manage Strong
Strength is the key to proactive BI & Analytics platform management and administration. APOS solutions give you the robust capabilities you need to apply the actionable information you have gained in a timely and effective manner.

Manage Simple
You achieve simplicity in BI platform management and administration by managing smart and strong. Managing strong is about doing things right, while managing smart is about doing the right things. The right balance of smart and strong creates optimal simplicity, rendering your workflows and processes as simple as possible ‑ but no simpler, because over-simplification undermines flexibility, and flexibility is what allows you to manage smarter and stronger.

Learn more about the Manage S3 strategy...

Monday, January 21, 2019

Hadoop Connections for SAP Analytics Cloud

If you are introducing SAP Analytics Cloud, you will need to make some very important decisions about data connectivity.

In the best of all possible worlds, the adoption of SAP Analytics Cloud might include the transfer of all data to HANA, and there would be no connectivity issues with which to contend. However, very few of us live in that world, so we need to find ways to connect to data where it currently resides.

One of your impending decisions is whether to use live data or acquired data. Acquired data is copied to SAP Analytics Cloud and is static, meaning that it must be updated or synchronized with the source data in order to incorporate changes. Acquired data is well suited to historical analysis, but not for dynamic data sets.

Live data is real-time, requires no data replication, keeps your data behind the corporate firewall, and allows you to leverage complex models and calculations in the source system

Perhaps you already have a Big Data solution in place using Hadoop. Apache Hadoop provides a scalable framework for distributed processing and storage of large data sets on clusters of commoditized computers. Hadoop is generally valued for its relative low-cost, as well as its speed, parallel computing power, fault tolerance, and flexibility.

The APOS Live Data Gateway solution provides live data connectivity between SAP Analytics Cloud to a variety of non-SAP data sources, including a number of Hadoop configurations:

The APOS Live Data Gateway connects to the Hadoop management platform via JDBC or ODBC driver. Drivers are specific to the platform and the type of query engine you are using.

Unlock live data. Check out the full list of data sources for which the APOS Live Data Gateway provides support.