Connect Dashboard Designer to SAP HANA & Create Stunning Dashboards

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This tutorial will focus on learning the process to connect Dashboard Designer to SAP HANA. Dashboard Designer connects to the SAP HANA database through a relational connection and an intermediate data layer known as Universe.

We will provide you with some easy steps to create dashboards using Dashboard Designer.

Let’s look have a look at the Dashboard Designer concept.

What is Dashboard Designer?

Dashboard designer is a tool for designing dashboards. It provides users with pre-designed dashboard templates which can be utilized in creating static or dynamic charts and visualizations as a part of the dashboard. Dashboard designer also connects to data sources via universes.

The universes are created using IDT tool. In the next section of this tutorial, we will learn how to use data from SAP HANA available as universes in Dashboard designer to create dashboards.

Connection to the Universe layer from Dashboard Designer

Firstly, we will see the steps to connect Dashboard Designer to SAP HANA.

Steps to Connect dashboard designer to SAP HANA

In this section, we will learn how to create an OLAP connection to connect Dashboard designer to SAP HANA.

Step 1: Open the Dashboard Designer tool in your system.

Step 2: From the left panel, select the Query Browser and click on Add Query option.

Step 3: Log On to BusinessObjects Enterprise

The next dialog box asks us for login details to login into the BO repository.

Enter login details such as System name, User name, Password, Authentication.

You can also select the authentical mode from the drop-down list. The options in the list are Enterprise, LDAP, Oracle EBS, SAP, Windows AD, etc. Then, click on OK.

Step 4: Add Query

After connecting to the SAP HANA system via a Universe layer, select Universe as the data source option in the next window. The other option available is Bex but it is of no use as of now. Click on Next.

Step 5: Select a Universe

Next will appear the list of universes available in the selected BO repository. Expand the Universes folder and select your preferred universe from the list and click Next.

Step 6: Build Query

In the next window, you will see all the measures and dimensions from the universe you selected on the left panel.

Select the measures and dimensions you want and add them to the Result Objects section. Click on the Refresh button in the Data Preview section (bottom-most section with the name Result Set). This will show a data preview table having all the fields you selected. Click on Next.

Step 7: Preview Query Result

The next window will also show you a full view of the table of the query result. From here you can set up the number of maximum rows that you can see at once. Click on Next.

Step 8: Usage options

The last window is the Usage Option dialog where you set some usage related options such as the name of the query.

Refreshing options such as,

  • Refresh Before Components Are Loaded
  • Refresh Every (set time)
  • Refresh on Trigger (set trigger options)

Load status options such as,

  • Loading Message
  • Idle Message
  • Insert In
  • Enable Load Cursor
  • Disable Mouse Input on Load
  • Hide Error Message Window

Click on Ok once you have made changes as per your liking.

Step 9: You can view the newly created query in the Query Browser. The details on the newly created query (i.e. a universe to connect to SAP HANA) are shown on the left pane of the Dashboard designer window.

Steps to Create dashboards through SAP Dashboard Designer

You can create dashboards using the connection created with SAP HANA in dashboard designer. Let us learn how to develop a dashboard in Dashboard Designer using the HANA query we created in the section above.

Step 1: We can find our query on the Query Browser.

Enter the fields into the spreadsheet by clicking on the field name and then clicking on Insert in Spreadsheet.

Step 2: Next, to add the visual components into the dashboard, click on the Components tab (on the leftmost vertical bar). You can select from the given options of visual components like the pie chart, line chart, etc. Just drag and drop the component to the blank space on the screen.

Step 3: Let’s suppose that we have added a pie chart component to visualize the data from the universe. You can do some manipulations in the settings tab (given on the right).  There are four tabs for pie chart settings; General, Insertion, Behaviour, Appearance.

In the General tab, you can enter the pie chart title, subtitle, data values, data in row or data in columns, labels and set the Inner Radius.

From the Insertion tab, you can manipulate data insertion operations, interaction options, selection actions, and appearance settings.

You can apply sorting conditions, dynamic visibility, etc from the Behavior tab.

The formatting like layout, color, text, series of the chart is done from the Appearance tab.

Step 4: After making desired changes in the chart, click on the Preview button on the top bar.

The preview of the pie chart we created will be displayed on the blank space.

Step 5: Similarly, you can create the dashboard using a wide range of options like charts, containers, selectors, maps, text, etc.


This concludes our tutorial on the process to connect Dashboard Designer to SAP HANA. We learned how to use data from SAP HANA through an intermediate layer called Universe.

We hope you found the explanation helpful. Drop your comments in the comment section below if you have any suggestions or queries.

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