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SAP BI 4.2 SP3: What’s New In Semantic Layer

Following the enhancements introduced in SAP BI 4.2 (see SAP BI 4.2: What's New in Semantic Layer and SAP BI 4.2: What's New in Web Intelligence), Semantic Layer keeps on improving in SAP BI 4.2 SP3. This article describes its new features in this Support Package:

  • BI Sets
  • Linked Universes
  • Measure New Properties
  • CMS Repository Driver
  • Miscellaneous

To complete this description, you might also be interested by:

BI Sets

The BI Sets support is the main enhancement in SAP BI 4.2 SP3 for Semantic Layer and the information design tool. Sets were already available as a separate tool (Set Analysis) in previous Business Objects releases but were still not available in SAP BI 4 portfolio. They are back in SAP BI 4.2 SP3 through a smooth integration in Semantic Layer and BI Platform.

BI sets are useful to query data using sets logic and operators rather than SQL.

A new object is available in the CMS repository: the Set container. This set container is based on a universe (UNX) and contains definition of sets created on top of objects of this universe. Sets are stored in data warehouse along with production data, enabling fast filtering.

The set container also contains the definition of calendars, used for temporal sets, whose content evolves in time.

Set Container in Information Design Tool

In information design tool, there are different ways to define a set:

  • Based on an object data distribution or a formula. Several steps can be added to narrow down the population
  • By combining existing sets using sets operators (union, intersection, minus)

Set Defined By Narrowing Down the Population With Data Distribution and Formula

Set defined by Combining Sets: Venn Diagram

When sets are defined, they must be materialized: their content must be computed and stored in the database. This materialization can be scheduled in the CMC, where a new tab (Sets) has been implemented to manage and schedule sets’ materialization.

CMC: Scheduling Sets Materialization

When a Web Intelligence document is created on a universe for which sets have been defined and materialized, these sets appear in the Query Panel as filters. When these filters are added in the query, the result set is filtered by the set content.

Sets Displayed in Query Panel as Filters

Filters corresponding to temporal sets proposes additional operators to filter data over time:

  • Members who joins during the period
  • Members who left during the period
  • Members who stay during the period

Linked Universes

To complete the linked universe support introduced in SAP BI 4.2 for information design tool, the following enhancements have been done in SAP BI 4.2 SP3:

  • Information design tool can convert linked universe created with universe design tool. The conversion dialog box has been completely modified to convert several universes at once and propose new conversion options.

Universe Conversion Dialog Box

  • When authoring a derived universe, the business layer and data foundation views can be copied from the core universe
  • When synchronizing core universe, it is possible to re-map a linked universe to another core universe if its original one is no more available.


HANA connection now supports multi-tenancy on SAP HANA and query limit parameters (e.g. Max Rows).

Authored universe based on SAP BW and created in information design tool has been introduced in SAP BI 4.2.

In SAP 4.2 SP3:

  • This universe supports SAP BW linked nodes
  • When using such universe, usage statistics are sent to SAP BW

Measure New Properties

In order to ease conversion from UNV and UNX, a new Count projection function is now available for measures:

  • Count without empty (UNX behavior)
  • Count with empty (UNV behavior)

In SAP BI 4.2, a high precision setting can be defined for measure in a Web Intelligence document.

In SAP BI 4.2 SP3, this setting can be defined at the universe level and benefits to all documents using it.

Measure New Properties: High Precision and Count Projection

CMS Repository Driver

In SAP BI 4.2 SP3, Connection Server proposes a new driver that can be used to connect to the CMS repository and query it.

CMS Repository Driver

The driver is installed by default. A universe and some Web Intelligence reports will be available on SAP Community Network (SCN) before being integrated as samples in the installer itself in a future support package.

More details can be found in the following article.


Some additional changes are available in information design tool:

  • You can order business layer views to define how they appear in the Query Panel. To do so, in the Edit Business Layer View dialog box, just drag and drop the views to move them in the list
  • The data foundation can display a summary of the different views it contain. To do so, go to the Preferences dialog box and select one of the display summary options in Information Design Tool > Data Foundation Editor > Appearance > Views.

Data Foundation Summary

  • In the CMS repository, the webi-universes folder has been renamed Samples. It now contains universe samples supported by information design tool:
    • Efashion.unx, the conversion of the classic efashion.unv
    • SPL_Warehouse.unx. This sample must be explicitly selected at installation time. It is released with a database instance running on SQLAnywhere. To start this database instance, after the installation, go the Samples/splwarehouse folder and start the launch_splwarehouse_database script.