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Business analytics with SAP - these solutions are available

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With the help of business analytics, you can analyze your existing data, answer important questions and make data-based decisions. For companies with SAP, there are several ways to implement business analytics. In this article, we explain which solutions these are and which solution suits your requirements.

Table of contents

What is Business Analytics (BA)?

Business analytics uses statistical and iterative methods to gain new insights. Data is collected, processed and analyzed for this purpose. Companies can use the results to make decisions for their business and strategy. Business analytics therefore helps you to improve your efficiency and increase your company's productivity.

Why implement BA with SAP?

The central theme of business analytics is transparency. Transparency is crucial for well-founded decisions, for implementing the corporate strategy and for reacting quickly to problems. To do this, you need a good database. The data is located in your IT systems. If you use SAP systems, this is exactly where you will find the information you need.

How do I decide which solution is the right one?

However, the various solutions for using this data are very different. Another big difference is how your existing systems are set up. Do you even collect the data you need and is it available in the right form (for example, for viewing over specific time periods)? Is the data harmonized or do you still need to process it?

Another criterion is your individual requirements for business analytics:

  • Do you only work with a few key figures that you want to evaluate, or is your goal to create in-depth analyses of the performance of individual business processes and evaluate them in real time?

 

  • Do you want to use simulations to estimate future developments?
  • Would you like to use artificial intelligence to recognize patterns in your data and make predictions about future developments or events?

 

  • Do you want to be able to take external data into account in your evaluations (for example, if the weather affects sales figures for your goods)?

Whitepaper: The most common problems with business analytics (BA)

Why you are not able to create quick evaluations

Companies need data to have a basis for strategic decisions. However, data collection and analysis is often costly, complicated and in some cases even impossible for controllers. This white paper shows you that there can be very individual reasons for this, which are often beyond the control of controlling.

Whitepaper title page: The most common problems with business analytics: Why you can't create fast reports, mapped on a tablet.

What solutions are available from SAP?

  1. SAP ERP Central Component (ECC): ECC enables evaluations using InfoSet Queries or, from NetWeaver 7.0, Embedded BW. However, the amount of data for evaluations is very limited and ECC is not suitable for complex analyses. You can rather use it for small, recurring analyses. If you are good at using Excel, you can also export data to evaluate it using Excel. However, the results of your analyses will then depend heavily on how well you can use Excel.

  2. SAP S/4HANA: S/4HANA offers basic options for analyses within the system, but the amount of data that can be analyzed is limited. Evaluations and smaller visualizations are possible, and up to 20% of all data can be evaluated in Embedded BW. For larger business analytics requirements, the options are too limited and you are still reliant on manual evaluations - using Excel, for example.

  3. SAP Business Warehouse (BW): BW is a comprehensive analysis solution that extracts, harmonizes, structures and evaluates data from ERP systems. It enables evaluations for any question and is therefore the central basis for company-wide business analytics. However, BW does not offer any dashboarding functions and requires additional solutions for easy-to-interpret visualizations.

  4. SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC): SAC is a cloud solution that offers planning and forecasting functions in addition to dashboarding. It can use data from various sources, including non-SAP solutions. SAC enables users to create their own analyses and dashboards, whereby the quality of the evaluations depends on the quality of the database.

  5. Front-end tools: These tools offer additional dashboard and reporting functionalities. One example is "SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office", a plug-in for Excel. The main disadvantage of front-end tools is that data has to be exported from the SAP system, which can lead to contradictory or divergent analyses.

  6. Additional solutions: SAP extensions and add-ons for business analytics: These offer quick and easy solutions for simple questions. They can either be programmed or implemented as ready-made extensions. However, they are not suitable for ad-hoc analyses or complex reporting. They are not sufficient for in-depth business analytics requirements.

Conclusion: SAP offers solutions for every requirement

Smaller analyses can be created directly in your ERP system with SAP. For more in-depth questions, there are more complex solutions such as Business Warehouse or the SAP Analytics Cloud. However, to be able to use these solutions to their full extent, you should always ensure that

  • your existing systems, such as your ERP system, are set up correctly and you receive the data you need
  • You focus on evaluations that match your business objectives and also help you move forward
  • You use the results to increase productivity in your company, because only then is the investment worthwhile.

Whitepaper: Delivery reliability and SAP

What is the best solution for your evaluation?

SAP systems are not necessarily suitable for a transparent, comprehensible and easily manageable evaluation of your delivery reliability. But the data you need for the delivery reliability evaluation is, after all, in your SAP system. So what's the best way to go about it? In this white paper, we examine various options and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each, as well as the associated costs.

Title page to, Whitepaper: Delivery reliability and SAP - What is the best solution for your evaluation?
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