Business Objects XI 3.0 New Features – Change Data Tracking

Business Objects

I know that I covered this in my video post, but I hated the quality of the video, so here is a similar post with pictures (click on hem to see larger versions).

You no longer need to splash out on fancy dashboarding software (although Xcelsius is good !) to quickly highlight when your data is changing. A new feature in Business Objects Web Intelligence (WebI) 3.0 allows you to add this feature to any document.

Query

How do you set up your query to be able to track the changes in your data?

You don’t have to do anything, just create your query as you normally would.

Edit Report

This is where the magic happens! First of all you have to enable the track changes feature which is in the top right hand corner of the Edit Report window.

This gives you your first choice: Do you want to track changes between each refresh of your document or do you want to track changes from a fixed set of data?

For this demo I’m going to select Auto Update so that I can see the changes between each refresh. In order for track changes to work you need to have two datasets, so I’m going to select the “Refresh Now” option and select the year 2005.

As you can see my 2004 section has been struck through and the 2005 section has been shown in blue. This is because I completely changed my dataset. If I remove the year section and redo the change tracking you will see how track changes works better when you give some thought to your document design.

Now we can see, highlighted in green, all the values that have increased, highlighted in red the values that have decreased, and struck through and values that no longer exist. At a glance I am not worrying as on the whole I am selling more product that last year.

If you lose track of what you are comparing, it is listed at the bottom of the screen:

As you can see, this confirms the type of change tracking and the two refresh dates that are being compared. What I am not sure of is how to confirm the parameters that were used in each case.

If I then refresh the report again, this time for 2006:

Here we can see that we have (re)introduced some product lines and these are highlighted in blue.

I need to print this report out and the red and green are unreadable on my cheap black and white printer, what can I do? There is a “Hide Changes” button, the middle of these three:

Clicking this hides the highlighting of the changed data. The data it’s self is still kept.

Clicking the button again will re-display the colour highlights. Compare this with clicking the leftmost button “Deactivate Data Tracking”, this discards the “previous” version of the data and disables the highlighting facility.

The rightmost button; “Data Tracking Options” gives you access to change the formatting of the data changes. You may need to do this as increased values may not always be good (Green).

From this same window you can use the “Reference Data” tab to change back to a fixed data set for your baseline comparison if you wish.

This is obviously no replacement for a fully featured dashboarding product such as Xcelsius but it is “easier” to use than the Alerting feature that we are used to use within reports.

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14 thoughts on “Business Objects XI 3.0 New Features – Change Data Tracking

  1. Hi,
    I wanted to know is there a way to simulate Gantt chart in a DESKI/ WEBI report.
    Anything in 3.0 on this.

  2. IF we use data tracking, at what percent it increases the size of the actual document. I mean will it increase by 50% or by 100%

  3. This is implemented by keeping multiple copies of the microcube that holds the data.
    It does not know “what” data you want change data tracking on so it keeps the whole cube.

    If you are concerned about the size of the report then I would advise simply having multiple data providers tracking the data over multiple periods with just the objects you want to track.
    The obvious downside to this is maintenance – you have to maintain both data providers.

  4. Ross,

    Is there a way to delete the old records highlighted in Black without having to amend the Query?

    For example, Record 1 has £120, Record 1 then changes to £150 – and I only want to see the latest row with £150.

    Thanks.

  5. Hi

    It is not showing the change and also the date/ time are not updating.

    for eg. the time now is 14 feb 8:30 am and i check the “refresh now ” no changes are reflected it shows 8 feb 9:00 pm
    please help.

    Thanks

  6. I see Track Change icon but it’s disabled. I can’t select it. What do I need to do to enable it?
    Thanx.

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