I finally got the chance to play with the fabled Business Objects 4.0 Feature Pack 3 mobile solutions. One of the recent additions to Business Objects Mobile on the IPad in conjunction with BusinessObjects 4.0 FP3 is the ability to present information as a Geographical Visualisation (GeoViz).
The GeoViz is a mash-up up of Google Maps and a Web Intelligence (WebI) document, the mobile solution for GeoViz is not yet an offline solution, you still have to be connected to the BOBJ server to view the document.
There are some nice features about this application, firstly it is easy to setup and deploy, and secondly it allows navigations by the dimension objects available in your Webi report in addition to being able to select differing metrics for analysis. Finally, and the feature that I like the most it allows you to annotate your analytic with text or by drawing free form on the screen of the IPad.
The GeoViz analytic can then be mailed as a screen shot (with link to corresponding WebI report) or uploaded to SAP StreamWork for review or collaboration purposes.
However with all new releases, SAP still has some way to go to perfect this application, most notably with integration to WebI. A few items discovered that I would like enhanced or implemented include:
• The ability to use Alerts (conditional formats) for colouring the circles (hotspots) on the map, currently only one colour is supported (boring). Thus when the Metric is changed the hotspots on the map also change colour.
• Following on from the last point, currently there is no workaround (albeit to create a new GeoViz) as the hotspots only support one Icon image. In the example shown, I used a WebI formula to display the image URL which is calculated only for one metric.
• The hotspots on the GeoViz actually support popup graphic and tables, as many as you want! Unfortunately the application functionality does not allow us to capture these in an e-mail or StreamWork document. The chart is displayed, you push the button to ‘send via email’; the chart disappears (naff).
• I also tried to embed the new navigation functionality into the popup charts (allowing a certain degree of drilldown) however implementing this functionality caused the application to crash every time (annoying).
• The final and most understandably frustrating part to developing this GeoViz, is the fact that for every hotspot on the map needing the same chart/table with a different filter (Store, building, plant etc..) a new Webi Document needs to be created. There is no option to pass parameters to the popup chart/table or to create a drill across in the WebI document to provide different data sets (blocks) for the individual hotspots (this is different from the WebI section function). The reference for the table/chart is Document:Page:Block, whilst we can reference different Pages or Blocks it still means that we would have to create a report per hotspot rather than one single report. Meaning if we had 500 stores we would need to currently create and link 500 individual report blocks, pages or documents to get individualised chats per hotspot (waste of time).
To sum up, apart from being boring, naff, annoying and a waste of time the BOBJ Mobile GeoViz application is a step forward for SAP Mobile Analytics, I look forward to seeing the improvements in the next releases.