Sep 06 2013
One of the things that I really wish SAP had left alone during the rewrite of Web Intelligence between XI 3 and BI4 is the merging interface. The way you merged dimensions in XI 3.x was brilliant, and gave the report developer an excellent interface to use to manage their merged dimensions. In BI 4 for some reason it looks like they took their design ideas from Desktop Intelligence instead. I was reminded of this today when I tried to “unmerge” (demerge?) two dimension objects in BI4.
Web Intelligence Merge Option in XI 3.1
Here’s the Web Intelligence merge dimension screen from XI 3.1. It’s a thing of beauty.
I can see a complete and total picture of everything merged in my document. I can check values for a specific dimension. I can see which dimensions are unbalanced. I can rename my merged results and provide a description as well. Of all of the changes they made with XI 3.x release this was probably one of the best improvements as far as functionality and ease of use.
Web Intelligence Merge Option in BI 4
Now here’s the merge screen from BI 4.0.
Does it look familiar?
Yes, that is the dimension merge screen from Desktop Intelligence. Of all of the “features” to bring into Web Intelligence from its older cousin, this wasn’t one of them…
Where am I going with this? Earlier today I needed to unmerge two dimension objects to test a calculation, and of course I clicked on the merge button, which pulled up the first screen shown above. Hmm. I’m looking over that screen. Where is the “Remove” option? I tried right-clicking, nothing. Tried dragging, nothing. So how do you remove a merged dimension in BI4?
Removing Merged Dimensions in BI 4.0
Perhaps it’s more intuitive for other folks, and I did eventually figure it out, but for me it wasn’t in the most obvious place. It turns out that I had to go to the variable listing on the left side of my document and right-click there rather than on the merge screen.
This means that I have two places to manage merged dimensions. I have one place to merge dimensions, and another location to unmerge. But that’s not the worst part. In XI 3.1 I could use the merge screen shown above to manage my merging process. By “manage” I mean I can add, remove, or even edit the existing merge rules. So far in this post I have shown how to add or remove merged objects, but I have not shown how to edit. That’s because the feature doesn’t exist!
(My spell checker keeps telling me that “unmerge” isn’t really a word, but it says what I mean…)
It turns out that of course I am not the first person to discover this, as there is already an entry at the SAP Idea Place related to this very concern. That idea is marked as being “Delivered” as supposedly the ability to edit merged dimensions is present in BI 4.1. There is an attached document with screen shots that shows the ability to right-click on any dimension object and either “Add to merge” or “Remove from merge” but it’s not the same. I added some comments of my own suggesting that SAP should really consider bringing back the way merging worked in XI 3.1.