What is the Information Design Tool?
The SAP BusinessObjects Information Design Tool is an environment for metadata design which allows its user to extract metadata, define it and then perform various calculations and manipulations on it. It is hailed for its support for both relational database sources, as well as OLAP-s.
By using SAP BusinessObjects Information Design Tool it is possible to define a semantic layer for various front facing products, and to manage it afterwards with ease. Its design principles are based on the so called “Universes” – organized collections of metadata objects that are sufficient for analysis and reporting on corporate data in an understandable, non – technical manner.
The goal of those universes is for them to be later used for simplified reporting. Their data should be semantically understandable for all business users, with all technicalities stripped away.
What other SAP BusinessObjects tools are integrated with the Information Design Tool?
The list of software tools that can make use of this layer are as follows:
- SAP BusinessObjects Dashboard Design
- SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence
- SAP BusinessObjects Explorer
- SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise
The tool is greatly integrated with all those pieces of software by design, making it simple to use in conjunction with them.
What are the Information Design Tool core functionalities?
Here is a simple list of all major capabilities of this invaluable business utility:
- Connecting to various data sources
- Extracting tables and joins and interpreting them in order to build the “data foundation” – a relational schema
- Extract a complete OLAP schema
- Use the data foundation to create metadata objects in the business layer of the application.
- Apply validation on SQL and MDX expressions and query against databases for a test
- Allow concurrent work on a single business layer thanks to resource sharing
- Publish universes, combining all of the information in a single file
- Administer user roles and privileges, in order to restrict certain users from accessing particular data sets
Since we just briefly mentioned the business layer, let us now elaborate on what exactly it is composed of.
The purpose of the business layer is to create an abstraction over the OLAP cubes or relational database entries that require specific technical knowledge to make full use of. With a properly designed business layer this need is completely nullified – allowing business – focused personnel to harness all of the tool’s possibilities.
The mappings are created in compliance with the underlying layer – SQL expressions for relational databases and MDX expressions for OLAP cubes.
As for the business layer objects, they are made up of dimensions, hierarchies, attributes, measures and conditions which are predefined. The business layer is the so – called workbench, where the work is still in progress. Whenever it is deemed as fully designed, it can be compiled with all the connections and the data foundation, so that it can be published, shared, integrated and deployed as a universe.
What are the benefits of using Information Design Tool?
There are some unique traits of this piece of software that really separate it from the rest in terms of quality and usability. Below you can see our top 5 advantages of choosing it over any other tool:
- It supports heterogeneous data sources – both OLAP and relational databases
- It is designed to be easily integrated with various other SAP tools, which your company is probably already using anyway – it is the best tool available in terms of seamless integration
- It is meant to be used by designers – so it expands the amount of users that can harness it by not requiring deep technical knowledge
- It allows for simultaneous development by multiple designers – so a seemingly small feature can greatly increase efficiency and collaboration
- Creation and administration of security profiles is integrated inside the tool so that you can limit the privileges of certain groups of users, if corporate policies require it
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Overall we can safely claim that knowledge of this tool is a must in any business intelligence specialist’s portfolio. Gladly, the prior technical knowledge requirements are greatly minimized, making it possible for the vast majority of interested trainees to grasp it rather quickly.
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