SAP HANA Information Composer – Explore the Data Uploading Process

Next up in our SAP HANA DataFlair series is the SAP HANA Information Composer. Please don’t confuse it with the information modeler as these are two different things. So, let us start with the basic concept of SAP HANA information composer.

SAP HANA Information Composer

What is SAP HANA Information Composer?

SAP HANA Information Composer is a web-based data modeling environment dedicated for non-technical users. It is an easy-to-use platform for end users who are not from a technical background of data modeling and analysis. Information composer enables the user to do two main tasks, i.e. extract data from data sources (acquiring data) and manipulate or model that data into logical structures by creating information views. Two types of users uses Information composer; power users and authors.

Power users are the users capable of conducting data modeling operations such as extracting data, creating physical tables, creating data models and information and other reporting tasks. The role required for such users is IC_MODELING.

Another type of users are the authors which share the information views and reports created by power user with other users. These users can access the data in information views and workbooks. The role required to be assigned to users in this category is IC_PUBLIC.

Have a look at the Reporting in SAP HANA

Information Modeler Vs Information Composer

One obvious question in your mind must be that how SAP HANA information modeler and information composer are different from each other as both of them are used for information modeling?

Well, there is a prominent difference between the two. The basis of difference between the information modeler and information composer is the target users. SAP HANA Information Modeler is for technical users with extensive data modeling requirements and technical knowledge.

Whereas, information composer is for non-technical users who are not IT and data science experts (with no database or modeling knowledge). This tool gives such users a role to play in data analysis as they can also create reports as per their knowledge and insights in the data and provide a new perspective to the technical users. The information composer is designed in such a way that it aids non-technical users with user-friendly interface, animations, hints and suggestions for modeling and reporting.

They can perform a range of advanced operations related to modeling such as creating attribute views, analytic views, calculation views, processing models, data management and administration, data loading and import/export tables.

Features of SAP HANA Information Composer

Below are some key features of information composer:

  1. Data acquisition or extraction: Users can easily extract data from data sources, cleanse the data, automate data typing, refresh data from the source, create physical tables and preview the data.
  2. Data uploading: Users can upload data into information composer in two primary ways, i.e. directly from the data source or by first copying it on the clipboard and then pasting it in the information composer. File types supported for uploading are xls, csv, xlxs etc. You can have as much as 5 million cells per file upload in the information composer.
  3. Data manipulation: Users can combine two table fetched from SAP or non-SAP data source and create information views with added calculated fields. This way data models are created for reporting and analysis purpose to be further used by tools like SAP BO.

Learn about the information views from SAP HANA Information Modeler tutorial 

System and Server Requirements

Some important system and server requirements are:

1. System Requirements
  • Internet Explorer with Silverlight 4 must be installed on the system.
  • Recommended SAP HANA version is SAP HANA 1.0 Enterprise SPS3 and later.
2. Server Requirements
  • A minimum of 2GB RAM is necessary.
  • Java 6 must be installed on the server (64-bit).
  • OS supported are 64-bit Windows 7, XP, Vista, Server 2003, 2008.
  • Information composer runs on a Lean Java Server which must be co-located with the SAP HANA Database Server.

Benefits of Using Information Composer

Information composer has got many advantages for its user base.

Here are some business-specific benefits:

  • Ease-of-use: Users from a non-technical background have a guided and user-friendly experience where they can upload, cleanse, compose, combine, and preview data tables as well as information views.
  • Self-service capability: It provides easy self-service capabilities where users can extract data from local sources and combine it with enterprise data to create data models and publish views.
  • Rapid deployment: Better and quicker analytic outputs due to rapid development cycles on SAP HANA platform.

And some IT-specific benefits:

  • Cost-effectiveness: User need to recruit technical and IT professionals due to low pressure on them to create, model and upload data modeling objects and reports for other users (non-technical) to draw insights. This is because information composer enables non-technical users to do basic analytical operations without relying on IT.
  • Data centralization: It brings all the data in SAP HANA at a central portal which makes administration, management and security of data easy.

Have you checked? – SAP HANA Modeling

Applications of Information Composer

Core applications of the information composer are:

  • Classify and cleanse the data
  • Table creation and publishing views/tables
  • Data source selection
  • Combine and preview data
  • Manage data fields

Uploading Data using Information Composer

Now that we have gained a good amount of theoretical knowledge about the information composer, let’s take a practical concept.

Follow the steps given below to upload data in SAP HANA using SAP HANA Information Composer:

Step 1: To access the Information Composer, use the address structure given below with specific server and port numbers.

http://<server>:<port>/IC

Step 2: Logon to the Information Composer from the login dialog. You will require details such as User Name, Password, and System name.

Go to the UPLOAD tab in Information Composer. You can upload data from different file types such as .xls, .xlsx, .csv etc. Also, you can select specific sheets from a workbook.

Step 3: Specify data source – You can select a data source from two options; Data from file system and Data from Clipboard.

Once you select the data source for upload or data upload is complete, you can save the data as a draft. The saved data is available in IC_TABLES schema, under the Tables folder.

Step 4: After data uploading completes, a preview of uploaded data represents in tabular form. Using the magnifying glass symbol given at the right, you can search for particular data entries in the table.

You can access the data from the schema called IC_TABLES.

If the data you uploaded has got repetitive and inconsistent data such as Indore, indore, or INDORE, the Information Composer has got an intelligent feature as “Cleanse Data”. This data cleansing option intelligently detects such inconsistencies and correct them.

Step 5: In addition to this, you can do the correction manually by dragging and dropping the similar values and merging them.

Once a data table uploads, you can change the source by clicking on the Change Source option.

Step 6: Classify fields – In this step, you will have to classify data fields as attributes or measures. The Information Composer gives you recommendations for measure fields. However, you can also select fields and assign them as attribute or measure field by clicking on the respective checkbox. A primary key is also defined from the uploaded fields by default.

Step 7: Publish and Finish – This is the final and crucial step in the process of uploading data. Through this step, data finally uploads as a physical data table in the SAP HANA database.

To publish the data you uploaded, give it a unique name and description if you like.

You get to select user roles from two options; Share this data with other users or Start a new Information View based on this data.

If you select Share this data with other users option then a user having IC_PUBLIC role can view the uploaded data set or table residing in HANA database.

And if you select Start a new Information View based on this data option, then Information Composer will launch a new modeling screen where the uploaded data is the primary data source.

Step 8: Once you have made your selections click on Publish and Finish button.

You can access your newly uploaded data from the quick access section on the right of the IC main page. From here you can filter data from this icon. The filter options are; Draft user data, Private user data, and Public user data.

From the settings icon, you can Rename, Delete or Share data with others.

The tick symbol represent that the data table or data set is already published and the tick with user symbol represent that the data set is published and is shared with other users as well.

You can upload up to 5 million data cells into SAP HANA using the Information Composer.

Summary

This was all you need to learn about the SAP HANA Information Composer. It is thoughtfully made for the non-technical users making data extraction and modeling easy for them.

If you have any queries or suggestions related to this tutorial, drop your comment in the comment box below.

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