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question would be, What information about the customers I have and am I interested in saving and storing so that I can retrieve it later In this case, a customer information list might include the customer s name, address, contact, telephone number, region, country, and many other attributes, depending on how we want to recall this customer information. This list of informational items can be called an InfoObject. Therefore, an InfoObject (for example, Customer) has a series of tables that holds the customer master data (the individual customer information). Each of these objects is also an InfoObject (Customer Name, Customer Address, Customer Phone, Customer Contact, and Region), as shown in Table 2-2. In this case, we are interested in reporting on the primary InfoObject (Customer), but we are also interested in reporting on the attributes of the customer. This helps us answer questions such as, Which customers are in the Central region Notice that the technical name of each object starts with zero (0), such as 0CUSTOMER. This is to introduce the idea that most of the standard business content delivered with SAP BI starts with a zero (0). Therefore, if you see any technical naming convention beginning with a zero, you know that the object was delivered with the system. InfoObjects are divided into characteristics (for example, customers), key figures (for example, revenue), units (for example, currency, amount unit), time characteristics (for example, fiscal year), and technical characteristics (for example, request number). Figure 2-3 shows some different InfoObjects you might be using in the process of analyzing your business information. It is very important that you understand the InfoObject and its uses in the reporting process. We will be using both the characteristics and the attributes of these characteristics while building queries. All InfoProviders are constructed using InfoObjects; therefore, getting the InfoObject architecture correct allows you to construct your InfoProviders accurately and deliver the required data and information in the appropriate format consistently. Characteristics are sorting keys, such as company code, product, customer group, fiscal year, period, and region. They specify classification options for the dataset and are therefore reference objects for the key figures. In the InfoCube, for example, characteristics are stored in dimensions. These dimensions are linked by dimension IDs to the key figures in the fact table. The characteristics determine the granularity (the degree of detail) at which the key figures are kept in the InfoCube. In general, an InfoProvider contains only information on a subset of the characteristic values from the master data table based on the transactional data that is being loaded. The full set of master data is stored in the InfoObject tables, which
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0CUSTOMER Primary InfoObject Customer Number 1000123 1000234
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0CUSTNAME Attribute/Text of Customer
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0ADDR_NUMBR Attribute of Customer
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0PHONE Attribute of Customer Customer Phone Number 123-2344567 444-5677890
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0CONTACT Attribute of Customer Customer Contact Jim Albert
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0REGION Attribute of Customer
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Customer Name Smiths Anderson
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Region Central South
TABLE 2-2 Attributes of the Characteristic InfoObject Customer
2:
Storing the Data SAP/Business Warehouse InfoProviders
Assignment Using the DW Workbench
InfoObjects
Characteristics Sold-to Party Cost Center Cost Element Plant Storage Location Telephone number Zip/postal Code
Key Figures Sales Revenue Costs Quantities Profit Margin Customer Satisfaction Incoming Orders
If a characteristic (for example, zip code) is assigned to another characteristic (for example, sold-to party), the first characteristic becomes an attribute of the second.
Copyright by SAP AG
FIGURE 2-3 InfoObjects: characteristics and key gures
include the permitted values for a characteristic. These are known as the characteristic values. See the InfoCube section, later in this chapter, for additional information. Key figures provide the values that are reported on in a query. Key figures can be quantity, amount, or number of items. They form the data part of an InfoProvider. Units are also required so that the values for the key figures have meaning. Key figures of type Amount are always assigned a Currency key, and key figures of type Quantity also receive a unit of measure. There are a number of other types of key figures, and we will cover them during our discussion of the uses of key figures in a query. Time characteristics are characteristics such as date, fiscal year, calendar month, and so on. These types of characteristics are standard delivered (therefore Standard Business Content that is delivered with BI), and even though you can create a characteristic that looks like time, the system doesn t allow you to create a time characteristic. Time characteristics are only delivered with the system. Technical characteristics have only one organizational meaning within BI. An example of this is the request number in the InfoCube, which collects IDs when loading data. It helps you to find groups of data that were loaded together (for example, uploading on a daily basis will generate a unique request ID). Figure 2-4 illustrates the different InfoObject types and their symbols. If characteristics have attributes, texts, or hierarchies at their disposal, they are referred to as master data bearing characteristics. Master data is data that remains unchanged over a long period of time. Master data contains information that is always needed in the same way. References to this master data can be made in all InfoProviders that hold the specific InfoObject. You also have the option of creating characteristics with references. A reference characteristic provides the attributes, master data, texts, hierarchies, data type, length, number and type of compounded characteristics, lowercase letters, and conversion routines for other new characteristics. The hierarchy is another addition to a characteristic that we will discuss during the query-creation process. The characteristic that holds the hierarchy is the basic characteristic for the hierarchy. Like attributes, hierarchies provide a structure for the values of a characteristic. For example, using the customer as a characteristic, you could have a hierarchy made up of Region, Customer Group, and Customer. Therefore, Customer
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