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Product Update

Release 2021.01


This blog covers some of the latest features and enhancements in SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Digital Boardroom release 2021.01.

Please note that the SAP Analytics Cloud Help documentation is updated at the same time as the upgrade to this release, so the links here may not yet reflect what is described below until after the upgrade is complete.

Upgrade your SAP Analytics Cloud agent to the latest agent version 1.0.303 to take advantage of all the data acquisition types!



If you haven't upgraded yet, here are the data acquisition minimum requirements:

  • Version 1.0.99 for SAP ERP / SQL databases
  • Version 1.0.235 for SAP HANA view
  • Version 1.0.91 for SAP Universe (UNX)
  • Version 1.0.233 for SAP Business Warehouse (BW)
  • Version 1.0.248 for File Server
  • Version 1.0.75 for all other data source types

For more information, see System Requirements and Technical Prerequisites.


Highlights of this Release

This blog provides a high-level overview of the latest features in SAP Analytics Cloud. If you're looking to get more information about these features, please visit the help documentation here.


Data Visualization

BI Calculations – Standard Deviation

With SAP Analytics Cloud Story calculations, you can create new measures based on your existing business data to gain more advanced insights.

Thanks to this week’s feature enhancement, story designers are now able to create standard deviation calculations in the Exception aggregation list. For reference, standard deviation is a calculation used in statistics across finance, supply chain, operations, and marketing in many different forms.

More specifically, a standard deviation formula can be used to understand customer distribution based on average spending! The standard deviation lets you know how close the data is or how much difference there is between pieces of data by showing how close to the average each data point is.

What can you conclude from a high or low standard deviation result? A low standard deviation means that the data is closely related to the average and is thereby considered reliable. A high standard deviation, on the other hand, means that there is a large variance between the data and the statistical average, deeming it unreliable.
Note that the Standard Deviation formula is supported for models based on acquired or live HANA connections only. Live HANA requires versions (EPMMDS 1.00.201815.00) or above.

For more information on using calculations in SAP Analytics Cloud, check out this on-demand webinar to walk through various calculation scenarios and learn how to make your stories even more insightful.

Story Exploration

Great news! With this week’s enhancement to the Explorer, you can more easily explore your entire story while navigating between pages and widgets. You can also open a story in Explorer by default.

What’s more? Now, you can bookmark, save, and enter full screen within the Explorer and enable the Explorer for all charts and tables in your story!

Canvas Pagination for Vertically Resizing Legacy and Beta Tables

Tables are a great way to view and analyze data more clearly within a story. When changing existing features or adding new ones in tables, however, you run the risk of creating problems with your data. With beta tables, however, you can test new functionalities instead of replacing known behavior, mitigating risk.

With the latest beta table enhancement, users can now benefit from the vertical resizing table property. That is, Story Designers can now configure report tables to vertically expand when more data needs to be displayed.

This allows users in  view time to see all the data of a table in a report, paginated based on the canvas size at design-time.

Note that these "pages" can also be exported:

Replace an Analytic Account Model in a Story with a Planning Model

This just in! You can now replace analytic account models with Planning models. That is, story editors can re-point an analytic account model to a “compatible” Planning model (and vice versa), as long as the target model contains all the measures and dimensions of the source model.

As a result, the story editor can re-use Business Intelligence (BI) stories for planning purposes and Planning stories for BI purposes! Note that replacing the model preserves the configuration of all widgets in your story.

Pagination Export to PDF/PPT

With product update 2021.01, users can export all Pagination Pages from story view mode to PDF and PowerPoint (PPT) formats. Furthermore, users can export in Edit Mode to maintain old behavior.

That’s not all, folks! Users can also perform regular exports, batch exports, sync exports, and async exports, based on what their situation requires. Note that there is also the option for users to disable pagination exports all together, if they wish to do so.

Smart Assist

Use Latest Data to Fit Time Series Model

Previously, several hypotheses (combination of trend, cycles, and fluctuations) were fitted on ¾ of the available data, and the best one was selected on the last ¼. In Smart Predict, for Time Series analysis and forecasting, the final model retained is now refitted on the whole available data.

As a result, the Time Series model should be closer to the last part of the signal, providing response to recent changes in the data, with expectation of better forecasts!

Improved Default Visualizations in Search to Insight and Explorer

With this new enhancement, Search to Insight and Explorer present improved default chart types, which help users gain valuable insights quickly. The charts are also more readable and follow visualization best practices.

Improvements include:

  • Auto Scaling
  • Auto Sorting (if applicable)
  • Formatted Data Labels

Recommended Alternative Charts (Search to Insight)

In certain scenarios, more than one chart type may be useful in presenting the data. Improvements in Search to Insight include recommending suitable alternative visualizations within Search to Insight, so users can choose the best way to gather valuable insights.


The table below highlights some of the use cases with the default chart displayed and the recommendation provided:


Default Chart Alternative Chart
1 Measure + 1 Dimension Bar Chart (Sorted) Histogram (if lots of dimension members)
1 Measure + 2 Dimensions Stacked Bar Chart Heatmap or Histogram
1 Measure + 2 Dimensions (1 Time Dimension) Stacked Column Heatmap
2 Measures + 1 Dimension Scatterplot Bar Chart
2 Measures (1 Percent Measure) + 1 Dimension Dual Line Chart Combination Bar Line Chart



Support ELSE Statement in Advanced Formulas

You may recall that, in the past, there was no way to automatically calculate the remaining scope of all previous conditions. As a result, you had to define the remaining scope directly with IF/ELSEIF statement. Well, now you can use the ELSE statement, instead!
What does this mean, exactly? Now, users can define ELSE in an IF statement to take in the remaining scope of all previous conditions in advanced formulas step of data action.

Note that you can calculate a larger scope due to ELSE statement, therefore a warning message might show up in certain conditions:


Support Member Suggestion in Advanced Formulas

In advanced formulas, if you only know part of a member ID or description, you can now simply type a double quotation (") to get a filtered list of valid members. As a result, you no longer need to know or type in full details – score!

Simplified Meta Model

You can now use new task types in the SAP Analytics Cloud calendar: composite tasks, general tasks and review tasks. Your existing events are automatically migrated.

Additional features let you set up your workflows in a flexible way:

  • Owners of a composite task can adjust the default time distribution between the assignees' and the reviewers' work.
  • When multiple assignees work on a task, not all of them need to submit. The task is accomplished once one of them submits.
  • When multiple reviewers work in one review round, not all of them need to accept the task. The review round is accomplished once one of them accepts.
  • To fine-tune their workflow, owners can convert a composite task to a process that consists of a general task for the assignees and one review task for each review round.
  • To delegate their task to others, assignees can convert the composite task assigned to them to a process that consists of a child process and one review task for each review round.

For more information, see What's New in the Calendar.


Live Data Connection to SAP BW/HANA Using a Tunnel Connection and SSO – Android App

SAP Analytics Cloud now supports the Tunnel Connection type with SAML SSO. Users that leverage this type of connection no longer need to be dependent on VPN and can connect to the backend seamlessly! Now that’s an enhancement we can get behind.
Please note that currently the support is only for Stories in the Android App.

Live Data Connection to SAP BW/HANA Using SAP Cloud Connector – Android App

There’s more! The Android App now also supports the Cloud Connector based SSO as an Advanced feature on the current direct SAML connection. Users currently leveraging the Cloud Connector based SSO with the iOS app can use the same connection type with the Android, once again removing the need for VPN to access the backend connectivity.

Saving Default Bookmarks with Optimized View – iOS and Android App

Have no fear, Apple users, here’s an update for both the iOS and the Android App! Discover the added capability to save the current state of your story as a Default Personal bookmark in the SAP Analytics Cloud mobile app based on your choice of defaults.

If you are an iOS user, please note that you must toggle iOS Optimized View in order to make use of this update.

XCode 12 Support for SAP Analytics Cloud Mobile App SDK – iOS App

SAP Analytics Cloud Mobile App SDK is now compatible with XCode 12! Please note that the new App SDK will now require XCode 12 to build and deploy Apps to internal App stores, and XCode 11 will no longer be supported.
The introduction of XCode 12 support makes the app future-ready for upcoming iOS releases, fulfilling App store review guidelines and creating a base for leveraging new iOS features.

Voice Support with Search to Insights on Mobile – iOS App

In the spirit of learning more about the rank and sort feature, you can open the SAP Analytics Cloud mobile app, find Open Search to Insights, and command queries such as “show top five British Columbia sales by priority” out loud and SAP Analytics Cloud will return your desired results.

Note that some queries may require the use of a combination of voice commands and typing in order to prepare your query. Furthermore, suggested tokens require manual selection.

Data Integration

Setting Scale for Measures in SAP Analytics Cloud

For improved readability, new scale factors have been incorporated for measures in embedded and public datasets. Today, the scaling options available in Measure Properties are:

  • None
  • Percentage
  • Thousand
  • Million
  • Billion.

Data Discovery

Save an Insight in Data Analyzer

With this new feature, Admin, BI Admin, and BI Content Creators can save an insight within the data analyzer. Saved insights can contain data source information such as:

  • Selected variable prompts
  • Filters
  • Text presentations (ID / Description)
  • Drill-down levels in hierarchies

Insights you save are displayed in SAP Analytics Cloud folders. After you have saved an insight, you can launch and manage it through Files, where you can perform operations such as:

  • View
  • List
  • Rename
  • Overwrite
  • Delete
  • Share

Analytics Designer

Changes to the General Availability of Data Change Insights

You can subscribe to data change insights from the toolbar menu if Data Change Insights is switched on in the details of an analytic application. Some subscription details can be set in the dialog, including name, subscription recurrence, global variables, and bookmarks. Now, users can also identify the importance of the Chart and the number of data change insights that can be configured!

Furthermore, an email and a notification can be sent to multiple end users, and a “do not send notification” option can be set when no insights are found. You can also change the subscription “customize script variable” option to be turned off by default.

Supported data connections include both live and import connections. These changes also support the ability to save snapshots in remote repository schemas while providing script APIs to configure the display of data change insights.

Comment Widget Integration

Hey Analytics Designer users! Meet the comment widget. Use the comment widget in analytic applications to save, edit, read, and delete table-cell comments to pave the way for ever clearer communication!

Please note that comments entered through existing script APIs are synchronized with the new comment widget. Provided script APIs include:
Stay tuned for additional Script APIs for changing the filtering of the comment widget in our upcoming product updates!

Mobile Support for Custom Widgets

Get excited! Custom widgets can now also be interacted with and consumed in the Safari browser on the iPad as well as in the SAP Analytics Cloud Mobile iOS App.
Before using this feature, make sure the following prerequisites have been completed:

  • Set “supportsMobile” to true in the contribution json file
  • Add MobileMode to the custom widget property to enable developers to add mobile-specific behaviors such as different CSS classes or different event listers.

Script API Enhancement – Apply Explore Results Back to Table and Chart

Did you hear? You can now enable tighter integration between Analytics Designer and the Explorer by applying Explorer results back to analytic applications. This means that, by leveraging script API, once you have finished analyzing in Explorer, you can take the analysis results back to charts or tables in analytic applications.

Bonus: you can also bookmark the application to save the Explorer results!

Provided Script APIs look something like this:

Script API Enhancement – Retrieve Member Information of a Data Source

You can also use script APIs to retrieve member information from a data source:

  • DataSource.getMember as the new API
  • DataSource.getMembers Improvements
  • Extend MemberInfo:
  • ID
  • DimensionID
  • Description

Furthermore, you can add new JSON object MemberOptions such as:

  • limit
  • accessMode: Master data or Booked data
  • hierachyId

Administration & Infrastructure

Change in SAP Analytics Cloud’s Catalog Filter Behavior

In the past, the logic on filtering across categories was based on the OR operation. This meant that users could effectively utilize one filter category at a time. Now, the logic has been changed to AND, enabling users to drill down to more specific result sets.

For example, let's say you have the following company departments:

  • Sales Canada
  • Sales Germany
  • Operations Canada
  • Operations India
  • Development India
  • Development France

If you select Sales and Operations in the Department filter category, and you select India in the Region category, the filter will return:

  • Operations India

In previous releases, the filter would return:

  • Sales Canada
  • Sales Germany
  • Operations Canada
  • Operations India
  • Development India

    With this enhancement, catalog filtering behavior is more aligned with common patterns for filtering, enabling users to find the right content faster.


    Improved Consumption Experience – Story & Analytics Designer

    We are always working to make sure that our SAP Analytics Cloud features are easy to use and navigate to make for a seamless user experience. As a result, for our first update of the 2021 year, we have redesigned the view time toolbar for Stories and Analytical Applications:

    • So that you can quickly get to the most commonly used functions, we've grouped the functions into sections with quick access buttons – sparing you search time and helping you get the job done faster.
    • You can also move more easily through stories with a lot of pages, using the enhanced page navigation, making for a more streamlined consumption experience and equating to an enterprise-ready toolbar that scales to users' needs.
    • For Planning users, the new full screen mode completely hides the toolbar, so you can focus more on your content. But, if you want to see a condensed version of the toolbar again, just hover over the top of the screen.



    **Legal disclaimer

    SAP has no obligation to pursue any course of business outlined in this blog or any related presentation, or to develop or release any functionality mentioned therein. This blog, or any related presentation and SAP's possible future developments, products and or platforms directions and functionality are all subject to change and may be changed by SAP at any time for any reason without notice. The information in this blog is not a commitment, promise or legal obligation to deliver any material, code, or functionality. This blog is provided without a warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement. This blog is for informational purposes and may not be incorporated into a contract. SAP assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in this document, except if such damages were caused by SAP's willful misconduct or gross negligence.

    All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions.

    SAP's strategy and possible future developments are subject to change and may be changed by SAP at any time for any reason without notice. This document is provided without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement. Read more