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Creating your ZENworks 11 Custom Reports

jblackett

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February 28, 2011 10:10 am

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ZENworks 11 Configuration Management ships with an OEM edition of BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 SP3 platform as part of ZENworks Reporting Server. While the platform provides an easy and customizable means of creating great reports, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by looking at the elaborate options and flexibility the tool provides in the user interface. This article will help you get over some of those apprehensions and try some simple steps the tool provides.

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the reporting tool in 10 minutes.

One of the fastest ways to learn the tool is by looking at some example reports being created on a video. One such product demo is available at the Novell ZENworks Configuration Management resource library: Reporting Capabilities of ZENworks 11.

Step 2: Getting know the System Reporting Guide

Unlike a reference guide, where in all the information is provided to understand the complete workings of the product, Novell ZENworks System Reporting Guide is an anchor to all your reporting needs with the ZENworks product. The items which are accessible through BusinessObjects documentation is typically not described in this guide. However, if there are any tasks you want to accomplish that are ZENworks specific then they are explained in this guide. Here are some examples of such tasks:

  1. How do I export a custom report in ZENworks to a disk?
  2. How do I configure rights and roles for reporting to ZENworks users?

You can find the ZENworks System Reporting Reference along with the product documentation for ZENworks.

Step 3: Getting to know the BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 SP3 Platform

BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 SP3 Platform is fairly elaborate and involved and most importantly it being a complete Business Intelligence platform you can find yourself overwhelmed with information. Here are some guidelines on which documents to look at to get an understanding of the BI Platform. When you click on the ZENworks Reporting Server Infoview link on the Reports tab you actually get redirected to a portal which is the rebranded view of BusinessObjects Enterprise Java Infoview. Hence, here are some tips to browse through the following BusinessObjects documentation:

SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise InfoView User’s Guide (Download from SAP BusinessObjects )

This document contains an elaborate documentation on the Infoview portal. I will recommend to review the following sections of the documentation.

  • Getting Started
  • Working with Objects
  • Working with WebIntelligence Documents

There are some sections like Setting Preferences, My Infoview, Using Discussions are although very useful concepts, may not be necessary to start with for your first report creation.

Note: Encyclopedia, Voyager Workspaces, Desktop Intelligence, Crystal Reports functionality are not used in ZENworks Reporting Server today. Hence, those sections of the documentation may not be relevant to your learning for ZENworks Reporting.

Step 4: Modifying existing pre-defined reports to your custom requirement

One of the simpler ways to learning something new is to take some existing predefined report and try modifying the same. There are about 40 pre-defined reports which are shipping with the product you can copy the report to a folder called My Favorites and modify the query or report look and feel to suit to your needs. It still may not be sufficient for you to create a lot of meaningful report but is useful starting point. While learning the tool from experience is definitely useful, understanding the Web Intelligence document model and reporting style will add definite value to your skill levels. Following the next step will bring in these additional skills.

Step 5: Learning BusinessObjects Web Intelligence

BusinessObjects Web Intelligence is a powerful to tool to create ad-hoc reports on the fly without writing any additional custom SQL queries. Hence, a person who has limited knowledge of database can create meaningful reports that can be of use to enterprises. While in principle all of the Web Intelligence reports follow similar structures and representations there are 4 report editing tools (called Report Panels in BusinessObjects terminology). There are user guides available for each of these report panels from BusinessObjects.

  • Building Queries with SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence Query – HTML (download from SAP BusinessObejcts)
    • Default report panel configured in ZENworks Reporting Server for report editing.
    • Needs no additional client download as the panel renders using HTML only in the supported web browsers.
  • Building reports with the SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence HTML Report Panel (download from SAP BusinessObjects)
    • Default report panel configured in ZENworks Reporting Server for report viewing
    • Needs no additional client download as the panel renders using HTML only in a supported web browsers.
  • Building Reports with the SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence Java Report Panel (download from SAP BusinessObjects)
    • Needs additional java client installation in the browser.
    • Provides additional functionality in complex query creation and report rendering.
  • Building Reports with SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence Rich Client (download from SAP BusinessObjects)
    • Needs additional client to be installed on the machine.
    • Provides additional functionality for complex query creation and report rendering.
    • Works only in Windows Platform.

Once you get a bit familiar with the report panel tools, you can also expand your knowledge on designing reports with complex functions, formulas and calculations using the concepts described in Using Functions, Formulas and Calculations in SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence (download from SAP BusinessObjects).

If you need any additional information on BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 SP3 Platform you can access the documentations at: http://help.sap.com/businessobject/product_guides/

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Disclaimer: This content is not supported by Novell. It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test it thoroughly before using it in a production environment.

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