SAP Analytics Cloud; BOBJ; Delivering Hybrid Analytics
Author – Asad Mahmood, Principal Solution Architect, NTT DATA Business Solutions UK.
In preparation for a webinar I delivered last month, (view the webinar series) I took stock of the maturity that SAP Analytics Cloud (affectionately known as SAC) has reached – particularly over the recent 12 months. From a solution that once only supported SAP HANA and Excel as a data source, we now have something that is exceptionally “intelligent” and versatile in my opinion. Both of these attributes have meant that it is increasingly relevant for customers.
SAP Analytics Cloud has made major strides in supporting SAP BusinessObjects and customers running SAP business applications. The latter includes customers that are running some form of the Intelligent Enterprise. The Business Content in the form of prebuilt models has meant that customers running SAP Applications can benefit from accelerated delivery of content and often, use this as a basis for new content or additional customisations.
The Business Content in the form of prebuilt models has meant that customers running SAP Applications can benefit from accelerated delivery of content and often, use this as a basis for new content or additional customisations.
There are multiple industries and lines of business that are covered by this offering and the content can typically be delivered in a matter of days. Once deployed, customers can view the metrics and KPI’s to reflect the performance of their organisational performance.
As well as immediate value, this can serve as a useful example of what can be achieved or usecases that are suited to SAC. We worked closely with customers and have run post-delivery workshops to take stock of what they felt business content has delivered and together we have gathered valuable user feedback which helps with the next tranche of customisations/new content. More on this at a later date…
However, the focus of this blog is the use of SAC in conjunction with SAP BusinessObjects and in particular, how SAC can be used to leverage their existing investment whilst taking advantage of the new functionality and opportunities that SAC offers.
Below is a high-level architectural overview. SAC supports data import and live connectivity to Universes. This is subject to the appropriate prerequisites being satisfied.
Note that on premise installations of some components are required for connectivity and name resolution. Once these components are deployed, they can be used to source data from other on-premises systems e.g. SQL Databases.
There are two primary facts that need to be recognised by all SAP BusinessObjects customers.
Firstly, SAP have set in motion the BusinessObjects simplification roadmap. This was announced last year and has a number of implications.
Significantly, SAP Lumira Discovery is being replaced with SAP Analytics Cloud when it comes to data discovery use cases. Whilst the support for Lumira Discovery continues long into the future, all innovations are now making their way exclusively into SAC. This has been evident from the turn of the year.
Secondly, as indicated by the earlier graphic, SAC supports and leverages existing BusinessObjects investments by allowing Universes as a source for building new content. More recently, the Universe is supported on a Live basis – in addition to the option of importing data from the Universe.
As well as to these profound roadmap implications, SAC takes a very different approach to informing users and driving effective decision-making. Much of this can be credited to the family of features known as Smart Assist. These features are underpinned by Machine Learning, Advanced Analytics, Natural Language Processing and similar techniques to ensure that users are able to easily, quickly and more effectively draw out the critical insights from your datasets. These features have been a focus of the many proof of concepts and projects we have delivered for customers in recent months and we expect this to continue to be the case. Importantly, there are limitations when using the live data connectivity in comparison to the data import feature.
And there is more to come! With the next release of SAP BusinessObjects, version 4.3 we are expecting further improvements and this includes:
– The new Webi Data Model. This can be used as a source for SAC
– Content Catalogue in SAC will support BOBJ content alongside third party content
This is some of the content I will be stepping through in the webinar this week. In addition, I will be introducing the NTT DATA Business Solutions Assessment Services.
This portfolio of services are designed to help customers identify the most effective strategy to upgrade, migrate existing environments, adopt SAC and ultimately deliver relevant and effective information to drive productivity and prosperity.