By Mariyah Saifuddin
This highlights the second in a six-part podcast series on SAC from 2020-2021 and featuring Mustansir Saifuddin and Hau Ngo.
SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is now the go-to cloud analytics solution for many organizations. When we first met Hau Ngo at the end of 2020, he had been working with SAC for nearly three years. With years of industry and tech experience, he shared what customers were looking to accomplish with SAC in this multi-part podcast series.
While much has changed, much has remained the same.
Take Michigan-based footwear retailer Wolverine Worldwide, which has been working for the past few years to enable decision-makers with enterprise data. Now, those efforts – in part because of the pandemic – include ensuring employees can securely share files and collaborate in the cloud while working remotely. Wolverine is transitioning to the cloud-based RISE with SAP ERP platform, running on Microsoft Azure and the Microsoft Cloud, according to a June 2022 article in Chain Store Age.
Proof of Concept is a Frequent Request
No matter what industry or what the company’s IT landscape is, most clients want to see a proof of concept. This comes as no surprise to the Innovative Solution Partners’ team. The result of IT initiatives can be difficult to envision for many decision makers.
A proof of concepts allows for:
- All stakeholders to get a clearer picture of the gap between their current IT infrastructure and their ideal state.
- The IT team to learn what needs must be addressed to achieve the desired goals.
- End-users to see a mock-up of what they can expect to see when a project comes to fruition.
A proof of concept is not a full-proof implementation road map. However, depending on the team doing the proof of concept you will learn:
- What is working well in your organization
- Where there are opportunities for improvement
- What must be addressed to ensure a successful implementation.
Typically, a proof of concept will allow for organizations to better budget for further work.
SAC clients with different back-end solutions, be it a BW data warehouse or a HANA warehouse, often have the same questions. They know the tool and have heard of its capabilities, but they are not exactly sure how to get started.
Fast Forward to 2022
Then and now, companies often want to act but do not have an analytics strategy. Or it can be that they want to move to the cloud and are trying to figure out how to technically incorporate SAC to their existing on-prem solutions.
One way to address these concerns is to simplify: Start from the end and work backward.
What does that mean? Use a table dump, a .csv file or a BEX report without worrying about the data modeling piece. Based on this data, one can begin visualizing how SAC can provide the reports a team wants to see. When a decision is made to move an SAC initiative forward the different members of the IT team will need to get together to discuss everything from connectors to firewall settings to infrastructure.
At the end of 2020, SAC functionality was greatly dependent on the connection type. This has greatly improved since then.
As clients explore a proof of concept, it would be helpful to choose to test it on a tested and trusted query, something that stakeholders are familiar with, and just start visualizing it with SAC. That’s just what digital transformation engineer David Moore did in 2021, then wrote about it in this article in towarddatascience.com. Moore used the Titanic dataset, and takes readers step by step how he test drove the product with it.
One of the inherent benefits of this approach is eliminating development time, as there is no custom development, no data validation, and no back and forth between IT and business. One is taking something that has been proven and trusted in a tabular view to something more graphical.
Listen to the podcast for a detailed dive into what one must think about from a technical perspective as you start or continue your SAC journey.
Using SAP Analytics Cloud, a tool that got me excited: David Moore, who writes about digital transformation and analytics, takes readers through how to “test drive” SAC
SAC Part 1: SAC is like an old friend, there when you need it