SAP Design Studio has become SAP’s de facto tool for analysis application development. SAP Design Studio offers better speed, flexibility and reliability compared to the other tools and can be hosted independently on all SAP platforms.  For instance, a business with an existing Netweaver implementation can use SAP Design Studio without having to implement Business Objects. However, the features supported by each of these platforms differ. So we have compiled a list of key differences between them.


SAP Design Studio when hosted on Business Objects, provides an effective method of organizing content through folders and categories, which can be used to control access and development. However, this feature is unavailable in Netweaver and HANA. In these two, all applications are stored in a common location in the repository.

Categorizing content based on business verticals is not possible in these two platforms. In HANA, if packages related to finance are packaged together, we cannot place a SAP Design Studio application for financial analysis, with that package. It has to be maintained and transported separately. This makes content management difficult.

Business ObjectsNetweaverHANA
Applications are organized within folders and categorized by corporate categoriesAll applications are placed in a single repository folderAll applications are placed in a single repository folder
HANA Netweaver Reporistory

HANA Netweaver Reporistory

SAP BusinessObjects Folders

SAP Business Objects Folders

Backend Messages

This feature is available in HANA and Netweaver platforms. These platforms send messages back to the client tool on successful completion of basic operations like delete, save etc, which are helpful developer aids.

Business ObjectsNetweaverHANA
No backend messagesBackend messages availableBackend messages available
Message From Backend

Message From Backend

RSADMIN Parameters

The RSADMIN table in a BW system, serves as configuration table that holds important parameters and display messages. Some of these can be customized in SAP Design Studio, through APS properties, when it is hosted on top of Business Objects. When hosted on Netweaver, these are not customizable. For more information about RSADMIN customization, please take a look at my previous blog post on the same.

Business ObjectsNetweaverHANA
RSADMIN parameters can be customized through APS propertiesAvailable but not customizableNot available

Data Sources

Connections form the back bone of an application. SAP Design Studio on Business Objects, makes use of platform architecture and functionality and supports a wide range of connections. On the other hand, HANA and Netweaver are limited to the data in their host server, and do not support external data sources. An analysis application on Business Objects can hold data from a Netweaver system, a HANA system and a Universe at the same time.

Business ObjectsNetweaverHANA
Supports many data sources

  • HANA-OLAP connection
  • Netweaver BW-OLAP connection
  • BO Universe-Native connection (Universe not supported in BI 4.0)
  • Planning Objects-OLAP connection
Supports BW cubes and queries in the underlying host serverSupports HANA OLAP views in the underlying host server


Bookmarks, introduced in SAP Design Studio 1.3, help users save the state of the application at run time. This helps users with quick acess to different states of their applications, with filters and other parameters saved. This feature is supported only in Business Objects.

Business ObjectsNetweaverHANA
Supports Bookmarks. Also supports access through bookmark URLs.Not supportedNot supported

SAP Mobile BI

Mobile BI is supported only in Business Objects, using the Mobile BI app. SAP Design Studio applications saved in Business Objects can be viewed on mobile devices, when they are assigned to the corporate category ‘mobile’. In Netweaver and HANA, the only way to view an application on a mobile device, is by using browsers to access the application URL. However, all features of Mobile BI are not supported in this case and performance is limited by the browser’s capabilities.

Business ObjectsNetweaverHANA
Supports Mobile BI through SAP Mobile BI appMobile BI through SAP Mobile BI app not possible. Can be accessed through application URL, from a browser.Mobile BI through SAP Mobile BI app not possible. Can be accessed through application URL, from a browser.

Note : SAP Mobile BI app supports Mobile BI for Lumira, when hosted on a HANA platform. This feature might be extended to SAP Design Studio in future releases.


Launchpad (Portal) is important for end users,  to access their applications. Without a centralized portal to access content, a platform becomes unsuitable for huge implementations. SAP Design Studio applications hosted on top of Business Objects integrate well with the ‘SAP BI Launchpad’ and they can be accessed through it. Netweaver and HANA, do not have a centralized launchpad for SAP Design Studio. This makes access complicated and a custom portal has to be used in order to make access easier. However, permissions defined in the actual repository will not apply to this. This is probably one of the important features missing in Netweaver and HANA.

Business ObjectsNetweaverHANA
Integrates well with BI launchpadNo dedicated launchpadNo dedicated launchpad

 Audit Events

As of version 1.3, SAP Design Studio logs events to the Audit DB when hosted on the Business Objects platform. This audit log serves as a critical source of information about application performance and behavior. This data can be consumed in reports and we can be used to analyze user access trends and zero in on areas for improvement. For more information about auditing in SAP Design Studio, please take a look at my blog on the topic.

Business ObjectsNetweaverHANA
Supports logging of common events like view, refresh, client tool type, cube connections etcNot supportedNot supported


Profiling can be used to view run time statistics of an application. Information from the backend will have details about the time taken to fetch data and render results. This feature is supported for HANA and Netweaver data sources and supported on the Business Objects and Netweaver platforms.

Business ObjectsNetweaverHANA
Supports profiling for Netweaver and HANA data sources.Supports profiling for Netweaver data source.Not supported
Profiling Netweaver Platform

Profiling Netweaver Platform


Based on these criteria, we can see that most options are supported only on the Business Objects platform. In upcoming versions, we hope that these missing features are supported on the  Netweaver and HANA platforms as well.

Read more blogs from SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio category here.

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