9/25/2017 by Oona Flanagan Posted in SAP

Reporting in SAPThere are a number of new reporting options which need to be considered when you migrate to S/4 HANA

With embedded analytics you should no longer need to wait overnight for data to be transferred to BW or a data-warehouse, no need to create permanent info-cubes. The new concept in S/4 HANA is that the reporting is real-time and virtual cubes or virtual data models that can easily be created as required. Some examples - Business Objects Design Studio, Lumira, Analysis for Office and HANA Live.

BI Launch Pad, a Web application, allows access to SAP Crystal Reports, SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence documents, SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards documents, etc. 


Design Studio

Produces professional, dynamic interactive dashboards, connects to rather than extracts from S/4 HANA.

  • Dashboards, multidimensional, interactive data visualizations to track data against budget, previous years, drilldown to detail
  • Dashboards rendered in HTML5 for web browsers, and mobile devices
  • Direct connectivity to SAP BW and HANA
  • Reuse queries, info cubes and HANA analytic views
  • Monitor KPIs
  • Prebuilt templates
  • Programming capabilities (IT usually build dashboards), 
  • May take time to set up
  • Can export reports to Excel, and dashboards to Microsoft PowerPoint, Adobe PDF or Adobe Flash
  • Chart/graph components
  • Simulate scenarios



Processes data, also connects rather than extracts.

  • Less IT involvement and training, more self-service – drag and drop
  • Simple interface for development
  • Easy to get answers from large amounts of data
  • Different options (cloud, HANA, standalone)
  • Integrates with current BI platform and leverages its architecture
  • Good for simple ad hoc reports
  • Can acquire data from other sources as well as SAP
  • Visualization and storyboards


Crystal Reports

Windows based design tool to create powerful reports that can be published in the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform. 

  • Includes Legal reports and forms such as customer invoice and tax reports. 
  • Can create sophisticated colorful charts, drilldown and interactive filtering
  • Covert data into formatted easy to read reports
  • Schedule, secure, share in any format



Ad-hoc analysis and reporting tool for users with or without access to the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform

  • Can combine data from relational, OLAP spreadsheet or text file, using drag and drop
  • Self-service, easy access 
  • Access, analyze and securely share interactive reports
  • Online and offline access
  • Dynamically create data queries, filter, sort, slice, dice, drill down
  • For casual users looking for intuitive BI tool for ad hoc reporting and analysis
  • Formatting, charts


SAP Business Objects Explorer

  • Filter and drill for information using advanced visualizations and charts
  • Interactive views
  • Use with mobile devices
  • Retrieve answers from corporate data by directly by filtering
  • Scheduling
  • Available on mobile devices



  • Real-time reporting using HANA SQL views directly on S/4 HANA
  • Attribute views, analytical views and calculation views


Business Objects Advanced Analysis 

Available for Microsoft Office (Excel/PowerPoint) and web. OLAP analysis. 

  • Can simultaneously view data from different cubes and providers
  • Multidimensional analysis, trend analysis
  • Analysis is captured in query, similar to BEX query view, can keep BEX as well, and leverage queries and BW investments
  • Live analysis embedded in to PowerPoint
  • Can write back to BW-IP (Integrated planning)
  • Self-service access to all BI content
  • Simpler, intuitive
  • Minimal training and support costs
  • Data enrichment


Predictive Analytics

Predictive functionality, statistical analysis and data mining. Forecasts outcomes of alternative strategies prior to implementation and determine how to best allocate resources.

  • Predictive models
  • Includes Lumira functionality (data acquisition, formulas, visualization tools, metadata enrichment) with the addition of the Predict pane (2nd data analysis tab) which holds all the predictive algorithms results visualization analytics and model management tools
  • Prepare, predict and share
  • Data manipulation components allow analysts to modify and create data elements quickly
  • Facilitates calculations and manipulations and cab add further data lookups to avoid data enrichment manipulation outside the tool 
  • Chart options (geographic pie charts, bar charts, time series



  • Check prerequisites, for example does predictive analysis require Lumira?
  • Check licensing, may be different if you are only reporting on SAP data or if you e.g. want to link to other non-SAP systems
  • Check whether report from Sap or 3rd party (different licensing/discounts)
  • Check if different licenses fi just viewing reports or developing them
  • May be bundled together, shared in a concurrent pool.   “BI Suite for Apps” (SAP data only) did include web intelligence, crystal reports, explorer, dashboards, advanced analysis for office as well as HANA Live, Design Studios coming under one license but may or may not still apply, then there was a separate license quote for BI Suite inclusive of non-SAP data 
  • What in-house skills required to build reports
  • What reports/templates are supplied as standard
  • Do you need something you can use for planning as well?
  • Do you need/does the report have an Excel look/feel?
  • Is there a reporting only option as part of the license for S/4 HANA?
  • If extensive existing reporting system e.g. BW/BI/BEX – is there any benefit to upgrading to a similar system on S/4 HANA and how is it an easy task to convert existing reports in the short term, would you even use existing info-cubes as new virtual data models and different tables etc. will be more efficient built from scratch in the long term 
  • Many reports may be available directly in S/4 HANA (more data in finance so line item reports now cover a lot more)
  • Do you want something for mobile devices?
  • How do the different reports fit together (e.g. does one fit/produce data for dashboard of another)?




  • Will forms migrate to S/4 HANA ok or do you need to redo them 
  • Do you need Adobe? Special license required?



  • Other product that may be interesting is Integrated Business Planning for Finance (they also do Sales one)

  • Scheduling – do you have special scheduling software or use SAP standard- check what is available in S/4 HANA

  • Change request (transports) software – check how any software you are using integrates with S/4 HANA
  • Finance Closing cockpit – was sold as separate product, check if included now with anything else
  • SLT (System Landscape Transformation Tool) useful to manage real-time data replication/mapping – was free for Sap systems but extra if non-SAP system involved
  • Unlikely that any bespoke journal upload tools will work, check any 3rd party tools
  • Workflow – how will that migrate or build from scratch
  • In-house Cash, particularly if global, many currencies and intercompany transactions, effectively “virtual” bank accounts used, avoids bank charges and exchange differences by sharing money globally
  • Bank Communications Management – automate and merge outgoing payments and automate incoming payments and bank statements

This guest blog is brought to you from our friends at ERPfixers.com – an online platform that offers on-demand SAP expertise via consulting experts worldwide. Connect, collaborate, and get SAP answers. 


Author Photo

Oona Flanagan is a freelance SAP FICO and SAP S/4HANA consultant and trainer, as well as a qualified accountant and published author. She has over 20 years of global implementation experience across multiple industries (pharma, fashion, food, beverages, consumer goods, media, packaging, shipping containers, banking, and transportation), as well as many years of accounting experience.
More Blogs by Oona Flanagan:
sap system
SAP S/4HANA Fiori App for GUI transaction - Controlling

This is the third in a series of quick lookups for some of the most common GUI transactions that have been rewritten for S/4HANA. The first was covered the general ledger and asset accounting, the second ...

SAP system
SAP S/4HANA Fiori App for Classic GUI Transaction Users - AR/AP

This is the second in a series of quick look-ups for some of the most common GUI transactions that have been rewritten for S/4HANA. The first blog covered General Ledger and Asset Accounting, and this ...

figure 1 fiori app library - journal entry app f0718
Finding an SAP S/4HANA Fiori App for SAP Classic GUI Transaction Users

This blog is the first in a series of quick look-ups for some of the most common GUI transactions that have been rewritten as Fiori apps for S/4HANA, starting with general ledger and asset accounting ...