Schedule Bex Broadcaster report using a process chain

A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog about changing Bex Broadcaster variables. Now this post is an follow-up on that article which describes how to automate the process of changing Bex Broadcaster variables and sending the reports to the users.

One way of automating this process is by creating a process chain. Leaving aside that this is probably the most easiest activity for a SAP BI consultant, creating a process chain with a Bex Broadcaster step could be challenging. Why? Because the default program which SAP advises to use for sending Bex Broadcaster workbooks, sets the monitor of the process chain directly to green. This results in multiple workbooks being calculated at the same time, which then leads to a decrease in performance on our Precalculation servers.

SAP tables and relations

Sometimes it’s useful to know how the different tables of SAP are related to each other, especially when developing new functionality in BW or ECC. Christopher Solomon and some other (yet unknown) people have composed a .pdf file where per functional area the entities and their relations are graphically displayed. Refer to the attached file to see the result.


Bex Broadcaster dynamic variables

A couple of weeks ago I got a question from a sales analyst asking if it’s possible to automatically send out workbooks. Every morning the sales analyst is waiting for output of multiple workbooks. This consumes a lot of time. I responded that for this purpose SAP has a standard functionality available in the form of the Bex Broadcaster, but that I needed some time to setup the infrastructure and testing it.

If you have already worked with the Bex Broadcaster you probably know that scheduling queries can be used out of the box, without any additional server. However if you want to schedule workbooks you will need a precalculation server (which is actually a Windows computer with Excel and the precalculation service installed). Since the sales analyst is using workbooks with more than 35 queries in it (we are not talking about efficiency here), this additional precalculation server is required. All steps to setup this server are mentioned in this post on SCN.

During the testing phase scheduling a simple workbook worked straight out of the box (that’s a good thing!). Second test was executing the workbook consisting out 35 (!) queries. Believe it or not, this also worked. The only downside of scheduling this workbook, is that the variables which are assigned to the underlying queries were fixed values. This is a disadvantage because the workbook is refreshed every day based on the current calendar day. One option I considered in order to solve this, is to redesign the complete workbook (including the queries). This will take a lot of time, thus I started searching on Google and SCN, resulting in viewing this post. There someone explains how workbook variables can be changed dynamically by using a program he created. My quest was finished! We will use this program to manipulate Bex Broadcaster variables.

Process chain monitoring tool

Normally when monitoring process chains I used to execute the transaction code RSPCM. The overview which this t-code generates does not always show the most accurate information regarding the state of the process chains.

Many organisations have therefore implemented the program /SSA/BWT. Sometimes this program is assigned transaction code ZMONITOR. This program, which can also be executed via SE38, has various options available.
The first option, process chain analysis, lets you analyse all the scheduled and nonscheduled process chains in BW.  In order to do this, execute the program in SE38, fill in the variables (if applicable) and hit F8. You also have the possibility to filter out certain statuses immediately. Once executed it will display an overview as shown below.
Process Chain Runtime Analysis
One of the great features of using this program, is the ability to compare the runtimes . This can be done easily by requesting a larger timeframe for a given process chain and sorting the result based on the columns CHAIN, Day Date and Time.