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Strategy for analytical solutions in companies using SAP

Last updated : January 23, 2020
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Strategy for analytical solutions in companies using SAP

Analytics – Today’s broad scenario

A recurring pattern can be observed in companies that use SAP® solutions: the dilemma on how to orientate their analytics solutions strategy.

On one hand, SAP offers a variety of solutions for Data Warehousing (SAP Business Warehouse®, SAP IQ®, SAP HANA®), reporting and traditional analytics (Crystal, Business Objects, Lumira, etc.), and also cloud tools for traditional and advanced analytics solutions (SAP Analytics Cloud®, SAP Leonardo®, etc.).

On the other hand, there are third party solutions that are already being extensively used in SAP environments, such as Qlik and Tableau, in addition to a wide range of analytics tools available in each of the major public clouds. For example, Microsoft Azure offers PowerBI, Synapse, DataBricks, etc.; Google Cloud offers CloudBI, BigQuery, DataStudio, etc.; and AWS offers Athena, EMR, Redshift, QuickSight, etc. All these tools are combined with flexible and low-cost storage solutions (Data Lakes), as with advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning tools.

At the same time, the need for analytical solutions is increasing, a demand of the current business environment. Data is ever more valuable, and digital business (processes are data-driven processes).

Traditional and advanced analytics

The traditional Business Intelligence (BI) approach is based primarily on data warehouses, data marts, reports, and dashboards. What happened (ex post) is analyzed with these solutions, while current advanced Analytics approaches are oriented towards prediction and prescription. Examples of prediction are demand, sales, or resource availability forecasts. Examples of prescription are price, stock, and production volumes recommendations. To have these capabilities the data of internal systems (ERP, CRM, etc.) is not sufficient; external data is also required: demographics, markets, social networks, weather, etc.

SAP’s traditional solution, based on BW, basically uses the first approach. Even though it has the advantage of native integration with the SAP environment, it is costly in resources (especially on HANA), unfriendly, and expensive to manage both technically and functionally. The cloud alternatives offered by SAP have not been able to overcome these limitations either.

Key features in advanced analytics solutions are Data Management and Data Governance. The importance of data makes it necessary to have very well-defined processes to structure a Data Pipeline, which begins at the data sources, continues with the extraction, generation and storage loads, processing, quality management, predictive or prescriptive processes, visualization, etc. Depending on its complexity, this discipline may be manual or be supported by specialized tools.

Given this scenario, it is not surprising that companies using SAP the inevitably face the dilemma of having to choose between analytics solutions, or of defining a strategy or roadmap for analytics solutions in the medium and long terms.

How Novis can help

In response to our clients’ requirements, Novis has designed a consultancy approach to help them navigate this new environment. This approach has been developed based on the business areas’ requirements, which are the end users of analytics solutions, and on the IT area’s requirements, which is responsible for the implementation and operation of these solutions.

In this type of project, we first assess the current situation in terms of needs, technologies, and maturity; then the sought objectives are established with the client and, according to this, a long-term strategy, roadmap, and specific projects are defined. All is done with the business areas involved, the IT area, and the company’s senior management participation.

In addition, depending on the type of solutions defined or the selected tools, we can also assist the client in the implementation of the solutions, or the internal processes needed to achieve the objectives.

If you would like more information about these services, please contact us.

Feedback/discussion with the author: Glen Canessa, Presales Manager at Novis.