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Information Design Tool- Maximize Business Layer Views

by Kevin Van Dorn

Jan 06, 2017
So, we are well into our 2nd decade of the 21st century, yet I still feel that painfully few organizations are utilizing their semantic (reporting layers) to their full advantage.  As I continue in my quest as a Business Intelligence consultant, I am amazed (and not in a good way) at how many companies have (vastly) too many semantic layers or versions of semantic layers to support various use cases.

So, let's tackle a set of use cases that may simplify your reporting environment.

Problem: Your data warehouse covers several subject areas.  You have users that need to be able to view reports from multiple subject areas, but should only be able to create Ad Hoc queries against one subject area or part of a subject area.

In this case, a report named Sales vs. Quota by Employee.  We want all users that have access to the Adventureworks universe, even if they only have permissions to create queries against certain modules to be able to retrieve data from this report.

For this scenario, I have created a Universe using the SAP Information Design Tool (IDT) against the AdventureWorks database.

The universe (the semantic layer) contains the following subject areas:
  • Sales
  • Call Center
  • Finance
  • Product Inventory
  • Survey
To present these to the report users, IDT provides the capability to create Business Layer Views.

Note that only the data objects related to Internet Sales are included in this view.

Example Business Layer View

The resulting view displays only those objects:

Internet Sales View Objects 2

In a similar fashion, The Finance View only displays the objects related to Finance.

Finance View Objects 3

In order to refine the end user experience, I created the following group hierarchy for user access (in the CMC).

User Groups 4

In the CMC, the Major Group, Adventure Works Query Access, will need to be given permission to query the AdventureWorks universe, but the rest will be performed within the IDT.

In the IDT, Business Security Profiles can be created to customize which views or parts of views can be displayed or queried against.  These are then assigned to the user groups.  For this example, I have created 3 profiles:
  • Internet Sales - Create, Display All (allows users to create queries against the Internet Sales subject and view data in reports from the entire universe)
  • Create Finance, Display All (allows users to create queries against the Finance subject and view data in reports from the entire universe)
  • Sales - Create Query, Display All (allows users to create queries against the combined Sales subject and view data in reports from the entire universe)
Business Security Profiles overview 5

The editor allows you to select Business Layer Views or Objects to insert for ad hoc query.

Business Security Editor 1 6

Also, the Display Data tab allows you to select additional objects that can be viewed in reports created by other users.

Business Security Editor 2 7

Now it is just a matter of assigning user groups to those profiles.

Internet Sales Profile

Internet Sales selected profile 8

Finance Profile

Finance selected profile 9

Testing the Changes

The report Sales vs. Quota by Employee is set to refresh on open.  Logging in as Administrator displays the following:

Report Output 10
Viewing the Query:

Notice that all of the subject areas are available to the Admin user.
Admin Query View 11
Let's compare that to the Finance User.

Report Output:  The report refreshes and renders, even though the Finance user cannot create queries against this subject area.

Report Output 12

Finance User Query View:
Finance Query View 13
The Finance user only has the ability to add query objects from the Finance Subject Areas.

This is a very high level example of some of the ways that the semantic layer can be utilized to customize your end user experience.  Have questions about SAP BI, contact us at CCGBI.

Now it is just a matter of assigning user groups to those profiles.

Internet Sales Profile

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