SAP Business Objects Live Office Alternatives


Introduction

As we define the future of SAP Analytics Cloud, we are committed to our existing SAP BusinessObjects BI suite customers. We continue to add enterprise reporting features like formatted reports, sections,and more recently in 2022, we added the report bursting capability.
This allows most BI use cases, including reporting, to be transitioned to SAP Analytics Cloud. However, with the mainstream maintenance of version 4.3 of SAP BusinessObjects BI suite ending in 2025, we do not want to leave SAP BusinessObjects customers behind, and therefore we have decided to release an updated version of the BI suite code named SAP BusinessObjects BI 2024 to provide more time to our on-premises customers to adopt SAP Analytics Cloud.

To maximize the value for our customers, we will focus ongoing investments on the most-widely adopted SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions:
• SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence,
• SAP BusinessObjects Information Design Tool and single source .unx universes,
• SAP Crystal Reports (on Windows only*),
• SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office,
• SAP BusinessObjects BI platform

This means we plan to remove the following components from SAP BusinessObjects BI 2024: SAP Lumira, SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise, SAP BusinessObjects Universe Design Tool and .unv universes, Multisource universes and associated connectivity, SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, edition for OLAP, SAP BusinessObjects Live Office.

These previous chapters are an extract of the latest SAP Business Intelligence Statement of Direction, published in June 2022.

As described in the statement, our BusinessObjects BI customers will benefit from an extended maintenance for their favorite and most used solutions.

This also means some of the BI suite components will no longer be maintained after 2027, as SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 is planned to be supported until end of 2027.

SAP BusinessObjects Live Office (Live Office) is part of those modules that will need to be replaced by another SAP BI tool.

In this post you will learn how to prepare a smooth transition from your Live Office solution to our SAP brand new solutions.

What is SAP BusinessObjects Live Office (Live Office)

As you know Live Office is an add-on for Microsoft Office applications that gives you access to up-to-date information stored in the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform.

With Live Office, you can insert content from Web Intelligence, SAP Crystal Reports, and universe queries in your Microsoft Office documents (PowerPoint, Word, Excel, or Outlook). When you insert an object, a reference to the BI platform location is also inserted. When you open the document later using the Microsoft Office application, you can refresh the objects and see the current data in your document.

In this post we will focus on alternative solutions for the specific configuration Microsoft Office Excel with Web Intelligence / Crystal Reports 2020.

We will present three possible new ways to bring your BOBJ data into Excel, which will enable your Live Office users to keep working with their well-known environment:

  • Using Excel and Web Intelligence (OData access)
  • Using Excel and Crystal Reports 2020 (OData access)
  • Using another SAP’s Microsoft Excel add-in
    • SAP Analytics Cloud, add-in for Microsoft Office
    • Or SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office

Depending on your current and planned tools landscape, you will decide which solution best fits with your configuration.

Alternatives to Live Office

Using Excel and Web Intelligence (OData access)

Presentation

You can generate an OData link from Web Intelligence and use that URL in Excel as a data source.

With Web Intelligence 4.3 SP2 and above versions, you can generate an OData link from a chart or a table in a Web Intelligence report. You can then insert that data in Excel using the OData connection and get in your spreadsheet the exact same data than in the Web Intelligence block.

This will replace the current Live Office use case where you select directly from Excel some Web Intelligence report parts.

Starting with 4.3 SP 3, you can also generate an OData link from a Web Intelligence Data Provider, meaning for a whole query. This would be the equivalent workflow for creating a query on top of a Universe using Live Office.

Following schema illustrates Live Office use cases replacements with OData in Excel:Workflow

To get an OData link from Web Intelligence, open your report, select a table or chart and right click to select the menu item “Copy Link For/OData Web Services”:

Or, to get the OData link for a Data Provider (Query), select menu item “Copy OData Web Services Link” from the Query menu in the right pane:

In Excel, go to “Data/Get Data” item and select OData Feed, the paste the OData URL copied from Web Intelligence in the Data Feed URL box:

You can then Load your data, or Transform it before loading it. You will get the block or query results inserted in your spreadsheet:

Limitations

In latest Web Intelligence version, some restrictions can still be found with the OData solution described below. These are the most impacting ones:

  • When you refresh your data within Excel, you will retrieve the data stored in the Web Intelligence report. The refresh will not be propagated to the database.
  • For scheduled Web Intelligence reports, the refresh will use the data of the instance used when you inserted the data in excel, and not the data of the latest report instance.

We are working on implementing these missing workflows for our next Web Intelligence Service Pack in 2023, the objective being to offer you the most complete alternative before 2027.

Using Excel and Crystal Reports 2020 (OData access)

With BI 4.3, Crystal Reports 2020 recurring schedules can be exposed as OData service (OData v4). Excel users could easily consume these OData services. This OData service is semi live, as data from latest recurring schedule instance will be served.

First, schedule a Crystal Report 2020 report.

  • Set Recurrence to “Recurring”, and set your preferred frequency, e.g. daily, hourly…
  • Leave schedule format as “Crystal Reports” (default).
  • Leave the schedule destination as “Default Enterprise Location” (or use a destination with the “Keep instance in history” option enabled).

Then, In BI Launch Pad, locate the Crystal Reports 2020 report and click History.

  • Find the recurring instance (either in Recurring or Paused state) and click Details.
  • Copy the OData Service URL, and use it in your application (like Excel).
  • A Crystal Reports 2020 OData Service URL looks like below: http://host:port/biprws/infostore/<%rptID%>/rpt/recurringSchedules/<%recurringScheduleID%>/data.svc/v4

Now In Excel, go to “Data/Get Data” item and select OData Feed, paste the OData URL.

Check Crystal Reports 2020 OData Service on recurring schedules | SAP Help Portal, for more information, including tips.

Configuring BOE

To be able to logon from Excel using BOE credentials and basic auth, you need to check following properties are correctly set on your BOE platform.

To use the copied  OData link in Excel without a manual modification of the port number, you need to enable the basic. auth. in the application server used by the RESTful Web Service

The OData service can be consumed throw the WACS or Tomcat application server.

  1. If you your RESTful Web Service uses the Tomcat server:Set property Basic_Auth_Supported=trueIn file:  Program Files (x86)\SAP BusinessObjects\tomcat\webapps\biprws\WEB-INF\config\default\biprws.properties
  2. If you your RESTful Web Service uses the WebApplicationContainerServer (WACS):
  • Connect to the CMC
  • Go to : servers -> core services -> WebApplicationContainerServer
  • Check the option “Enable http Basic Auhentication Scheme for HTTP Basic

Use SAP Analytics Cloud, add-in for Microsoft Office (SAC Add-in)

SAP Analytics Cloud, add-in for Microsoft Office enables you to use Microsoft Excel’s strengths to get deeper insights into your SAP Analytics Cloud data.

SAP Analytics Cloud can bring together a wide range of data from spreadsheets, on-premise databases, and the cloud. With SAC, add-in for Microsoft Office, you can bring this data into Microsoft Excel and take your analysis a step further.

Integrated with Microsoft 365, the add-in lets you format, analyze, and enrich your data based on latest content from the SAP Analytics Cloud platform.

You can analyze SAP Analytics Cloud Analytic and Planning models based on Import Data connections. For planning, you can add data for planning and save it back to the cloud. You can also work with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud (DWC) datasets as data sources.

This means there are two ways to bring BOBJ data in this add-in:

  • By creating an acquired model in SAC on top of a Universe and then accessing this model from SAC, add-in.
  • By creating a specific view in Data Warehouse Cloud based on the SQL expression of a BOBJ query, and accessing this DWC model from SAC, add-in.

Use SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office (AO)

If you are already using AO, you may access BOBJ data from this client using the same models as the ones described for SAC, add-in for MS Office.

Other Office Tools

If you are using Live Office in another MS Office client tool such as Word or PowerPoint you can first insert in Excel your BOBJ data using one of the previous exposed methods.
Then you can link data from a saved Excel worksheet to your Office document. That way, if data in the worksheet changes, you can easily update it in your MS Office file.

We want to hear from you

The SAP BusinessObjects BI suite remains a key component of our Analytics strategy and we arecommitted to our customers. Please help us fine tune our roadmaps by providing your input through the dedicated influence channels: SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform and SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence.