WSW Logo Claim

SAP Analytics Cloud

Table of contents

An employee compares the numbers on a printout with the numbers on a monitor.

Transforming existing data into usable knowledge, answering economic questions, recognizing correlations and making precise forecasts: Those who succeed in doing so gain clear competitive advantages. The SAP Analytics Cloud is an innovative tool that can be used to achieve these goals.

What is the SAP Analytics Cloud?

SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is a cloud- or web-based software from SAP. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) product combines elements from the areas of business intelligence, corporate planning, predictive analytics and advanced analytics. A special feature of SAC is that it can be used to link, analyze and visualize both internal and external data sources from SAP and non-SAP systems.


SAP Analytics Cloud was created as a completely new development in 2015. The software manufacturer's goal was to create an intuitive product that would allow business users to create and execute their own reports, analyses and planning.

Business analysts are another target group of the SAP Analytics Cloud. Supported by machine learning, it is possible to interpret results correctly and generate new insights from the data in an uncomplicated manner. This is true even with very large and multi-layered data sets. Furthermore, SAC offers some predictive functionalities that are aimed at business users as well as business analysts and data scientists. Predictive analytics can be used to determine the current state of a process or machine by mathematically analyzing large amounts of data. These are compared with target data and past values. Based on this, trends are derived and forecasts are made regarding future bottlenecks or optimizations.

 

What are the benefits of the SAP Analytics Cloud?

The SAP Analytics Cloud offers a whole range of advantages for companies. The basic reason for this is the modern technology behind the solution. The product is based on the in-memory technology SAP HANA, which enables extremely high-performance analyses even with very large data volumes. Thanks to its web-based approach, SAC is also extremely scalable, location-independent and available on any end device. This makes it the ideal tool for mobile working. 

SAP Analytics Cloud is an all-in-one solution. This means that companies are no longer forced to use different BI platforms and technologies to create analyses and make informed decisions. Nor do they need additional tools such as Microsoft Excel or Access to merge, evaluate or visualize data. The standard functional scope of the SAP Analytics Cloud is already diverse. Every quarter, additional features are added via new releases. For example, the SAC Analytics Designer offers business analysts the possibility to create individual dashboards with graphics. Using various programming languages, completely new graphics can be created according to specific requirements. The individual extensions are located in the cloud, so an additional on-premise installation is not necessary.

 

Another plus point is the security that SAC offers for sensitive data. All information is stored and processed in compliance with the German Data Protection Act (DSGVO). SAP uses only Tier 4 data centers, which offer the highest security standards. Customers are also free to choose the location of their hosting data center. SAP then concludes a data processing contract with the operator of the data center.

Incidentally, sensitive data never leaves the company's own network in the SAP Analytics Cloud, because only metadata is exchanged with the cloud instance.

What is the architecture of the SAP Analytics Cloud?

The SAP Analytics Cloud is based on SAP HANA and uses the SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP). In addition, the architecture of the SAC includes the following components:

  • Dashboards and Agile Visualization: Front-End Features
  • Planning & Allocation: Merged planning and reporting functions
  • Data Wrangling: Combining data from internal SAP applications and third-party systems with data from external sources

 

The data can originate from the SAP HANA Cloud Platform, on-premise sources and external cloud resources. Depending on the location of the data and systems, they can be connected via import connection and/or live connection.

Import Data Connection

Import Data Connections can be used to copy data from source systems to the SAC. If the data in the source system changes, this does not affect the data that has already been imported. An update is only performed with the next replication, whereby the time interval can be determined by the user. In the past, the minimum time required to retrieve new data was one hour; today, updates are possible by the second. Among others, the following on-premise data sources are supported:

  • SAP Business Warehouse (BW)
  • SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC)
  • SAP ERP
  • SAP S/4HANA
  • SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer
  • SAP Business ByDesign Analytics
  • SAP Data Warehouse Cloud
  • SQL databases
  • OData Services
  • Google Drive
  • local file systems

 

Live Data Connection

Data can not only be imported into SAC. It is also possible to connect on-premise systems and cloud systems "live" with the solution. In this case, data changes in the source system are immediately transferred to the SAP Analytics Cloud. Live Data Connections are available for the following data sources:

  • SAP HANA
  • SAP BW/4HANA, SAP BW
  • SAP S/4HANA
  • SAP Universe

 

With the quarterly releases, additional sources are constantly being added that can be connected via Live Data Connection.

What are the technical requirements of the SAP Analytics Cloud?

The SAC is a completely web-based offering. To use it, companies therefore need an Internet connection and a system environment that meets certain basic requirements. For example, the client must have a desktop browser and a Windows or Apple OS operating system. Alternatively, it can be accessed via an app on a mobile device (iOS and Android).

Certain requirements must also be met for the data connection. In the case of S/4HANA and an import connection, for example, the SAP Cloud Connector and the SAP Analytics Cloud Agent must be available. Live Connections, on the other hand, require Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS).

What features does the SAP Analytics Cloud offer?

SAP Analytics Cloud offers a very wide range of functionality, eliminating the need for additional third-party analytics and planning tools. The core functionalities are:

  • Business Intelligence
  • Planning
  • Predictive Analytics

 

Let's take a closer look at these building blocks and their features below.

Business Intelligence

In the area of business intelligence, SAC collects data from all connected internal and external sources and then prepares it for further use. They can then be evaluated and visualized as part of interactive analyses and dashboards. There are two ways to do this. The first option is the creation of self-service dashboards (so-called SAC stories), which can be done by the business users themselves. Thanks to predefined control elements and diagrams, this can be done very easily and quickly. The individual dashboards can even be optimized for mobile devices.

The second option for creating enterprise dashboards is Analytics Designer. Aimed at developers, it has advanced features and allows IT teams to deploy enterprise dashboards with custom features.

Planning

SAC eliminates the former boundaries between reporting and planning. This eliminates the need to move data back and forth between reporting and planning tools. Values can be entered directly and actual data can be copied to different planning versions. This makes it very easy to create and compare different scenarios. Collaboration functions also ensure that the planning process is accelerated.

Planning is the most developed functional area of the SAC. Among others, it covers the following planning operations:

  • Schedule tasks
  • Start forecasts
  • Create custom planning applications
  • Capture data and manage versions
  • Create powerful, scripted calculations

 

The planning process was designed to be collaborative, cyclical, and iterative. The following phases are passed through:

  • Preparation phase: create planning model, add planning functions, create stories and analysis applications, set up processes and tasks
  • Planning phase: include numbers in the plan and share content with viewers
  • Closing phase: follow-up (create calendar tasks, publish versions, set up data locks, export data from the model).

 

Important to knowIf you want to use the planning functionalities, you need extensive licenses.

Predictive Analytics

The predictive analytics functions of SAP Analytics Cloud are based on machine learning and aim to predict future developments. Thanks to "Smart Assist", users can create their own forecast models quickly and easily, even without any knowledge of statistics. The innovative AI technology also simulates various alternative courses of action, enabling better business decisions.

In addition, machine learning can be used to identify patterns and correlations between key figures and dimensions. This creates new insights into business issues. For example, companies can develop a better understanding of customer needs by discovering certain behavioral patterns.

This function module also supports augmented analytics. Here, the analysis process can be extended with the help of machine learning. The functions of augmented analytics include:

  • Smart Insights
  • Search for information
  • Smart Discovery
  • Smart Predict

 

Conclusion

Overall, there are numerous aspects that speak in favor of taking a closer look at the introduction of the SAP Analytics Cloud. For example, the solution offers a wide range of options for data integration, enabling better and faster decisions to be made in the company. In addition, it is a uniform platform that covers all essential analysis requirements. The intuitive concept enables business users to create their own analyses and dashboards. As a result, business issues can be resolved more quickly. This in turn makes companies more agile and thus represents a clear competitive advantage.

FAQ

We explain the most important terms related to the SAP Analytics Cloud here:

SAP Analytics Cloud is a software-as-a-service application from SAP that supports business analytics, enterprise planning, and business forecasting. 

SAP Analytics Cloud offers three core functions: Business Intelligence (analytics and dashboards), Business Planning (report-based business planning), and Predictive Analytics (advanced AI-based analytics and forecasting).

SAP Analytics Hub is a SaaS solution that enables access to data from different tools in the company. This simplifies access to analyses in heterogeneous environments. Especially for top management, there is also the SAP Digital Boardroom, which brings together various data from the SAP Analytics Cloud in presentation mode.

Get in contact with us
For those who want to know more.

You want to know more about our services or products or have questions that our website could not answer? Then we look forward to talking to you!

KPI Packages
Consulting
Services
Company
Career