With Power BI Desktop, you can access SAP BusinessWarehouse (BW) data.

Installation of SAP BW Connector

To use the SAP BW Connector, go through the following installation steps:

  1. Install the SAP NetWeaver library on your local machine. You can get the SAP Netweaver library from your SAP administrator, or directly from the SAP Software Download Center. Since the SAP Software Download Center changes its structure frequently, more specific guidance for navigating that site is not available. The SAP NetWeaver library is usually included also in the SAP Client Tools installation.

    You may be able to search for SAP Note #1025361 to get the download location for the most recent version. Make sure the architecture for the SAP NetWeaver library (32-bit or 64-bit) matches your Power BI Desktop installation, then install all files included in the SAP NetWeaver RFC SDK according to the SAP Note.

  2. The Get Data dialog includes an entry for SAP Business Warehouse Server in the Database category.

SAP BW Connector features

The SAP BW Connector preview in Power BI Desktop lets users import data from their SAP Business Warehouse Server cubes. You can also use DirectQuery with the SAP BW Connector. You must specify a Server, System Number and Client ID to establish the connection.

You can also specify two additional Advanced options: Language code, and a custom MDX statement to run against the specified server.

If no MDX statement was specified you are presented with the Navigator window, which displays the list of cubes available in the server, the option to drill down and select items from the available cubes, including dimensions and measures. Power BI exposes queries and cubes exposed by the BW Open Analysis Interface OLAP BAPIs.

When you select one or more items from the server, a preview of the output table is created, based on their selection.

The Navigator window also provides a few Display Options that allow you to do the following:

  • Display Only Selected Items versus All Items (default view): This option is useful for verifying the final set of items selected. An alternative approach to viewing this is to select the Column Names in the Preview area.

  • Enable Data Previews (default behavior): You can also control whether data previews should be displayed in this dialog. Disabling data previews reduces the amount of server calls, since it no longer requests data for the previews.

  • Technical Names: SAP BW supports the notion of technical names for objects within a cube. Technical names allow a cube owner to expose user friendly names for cube objects, as opposed to only exposing the physical names for those objects in the cube.

After selecting all necessary objects in the Navigator, you can decide what to do next, by selecting one of the following buttons on the bottom of the Navigator window:

  • Selecting Load triggers loading the entire set of rows for the output table into the Power BI Desktop data model, then takes you to Report view where you can begin visualizing the data or making further modifications using the Data or Relationships views.

  • Selecting Edit brings up Query Editor, where you can perform additional data transformation and filtering steps before the entire set of rows is brought into the Power BI Desktop data model.

In addition to importing data from SAP BW cubes, remember that you can also import data from a wide range of other data sources in Power BI Desktop, and then you can combine them into a single report. This presents all sorts of interesting scenarios for reporting and analytics on top of SAP BW data.

Troubleshooting

This section provides troubleshooting situations (and solutions) for working with this preview version of the SAP BW connector.

  1. Numeric data from SAP BW returns decimal points instead of commas. For example, 1,000,000 is returned as 1.000.000.

    SAP BW returns decimal data with either a , (comma) or a . (dot) as the decimal separator. To specify which of those SAP BW should use for the decimal separator, the driver used by Power BI Desktop makes a call to BAPI_USER_GET_DETAIL. This call returns a structure called DEFAULTS, which has a field called DCPFM that stores Decimal Format Notation. It takes one of the following three values: ‘ ‘ (space) = Decimal point is comma: N.NNN,NN 'X' = Decimal point is period: N,NNN.NN 'Y' = Decimal point is N NNN NNN,NN

    Customers who have reported this issue found that the call to BAPI_USER_GET_DETAIL is failing for a particular user (the user who is showing the incorrect data), with an error message similar to the following:

    You are not authorized to display users in group TI:
        <item>
            <TYPE>E</TYPE>
            <ID>01</ID>
            <NUMBER>512</NUMBER>
            <MESSAGE>You are not authorized to display users in group TI</MESSAGE>
            <LOG_NO/>
            <LOG_MSG_NO>000000</LOG_MSG_NO>
            <MESSAGE_V1>TI</MESSAGE_V1>
            <MESSAGE_V2/>
            <MESSAGE_V3/>
            <MESSAGE_V4/>
            <PARAMETER/>
            <ROW>0</ROW>
            <FIELD>BNAME</FIELD>
            <SYSTEM>CLNTPW1400</SYSTEM>
        </item>
    

    To solve this error, users must ask their SAP admin to grant the SAPBW user being used in Power BI the right to execute BAPI_USER_GET_DETAIL. It’s also worth verifying that the user has the required DCPFM value, as described earlier in this troubleshooting solution.

  2. Connectivity for SAP BEx queries

    You can perform BEx queries in Power BI Desktop by enabling a specific property, as shown in the following image: