Going back and forth between SAP and an external business intelligence tool like Tableau to refine data extracts can be really painful if one does not have the same level of agility in both worlds.
Last time we have seen how easy it is to add text descriptions to code fields in SAP data sets with VirtDB’s Data Unfolder. Now, what if we needed a new SAP field in a Tableau dashboard? If you don’t like the idea of time traveling back to the 20th century and pay for ABAP development you can use Field Catalog Extension features of VirtDB instead.
Let us extend the frequently used SAP report VA05 (List of sales orders) with the customer material number.
You can see that the required field (VBAP-KDMAT, the Customer Material) is not there in the standard Sales Orders report. (There is even a SAP Service Note (350068) on how to add it. SAP’s proposed solution includes ABAP coding and changing the data dictionary manually.)
With VirtDB you can remain ABAP-free and agile: go to the VirtDB menu / Field Catalog Extension menu item to bring up the list of fields available in the report.
In order to add a new column and fill it from a database table, click the left top button over the Field Catalog and choose “Fields from DB”.
Now you have to enter which SAP table you want to add fields from.
The next step is to select the field(s) you want to include in the report.
Finally, map the key field(s) of the selected table to the key field(s) of the base report. This will define an outer join on the new table, so if no entries were found for a line in the report, the new field will come empty but will not remove existing rows.
Once finished, press Save and the report will be automatically extended with new data. This new field will become constantly visible for you and all other consumers of the VA05 report in the SAP system.
Not bad, with a few clicks we have extended our SAP data set with new information and no coding was required. With VirtDB even your business users can add new fields to reports, tables or whatever SAP data sets, send it directly to Tableau and start crunch immediately.