By Mariyah Saifuddin
This highlights the final installment in a six-part podcast series on SAC from 2020-2021 and featuring Mustansir Saifuddin and Hau Ngo.
A natural first step in deciding on an analytics tool is to look at what’s available. Although SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is a natural fit for companies using SAP, many organizations take the time to see what else is available. For the majority of those companies, SAC is the best match when looking at a company’s infrastructure and its integration ability.
For those leading the company’s IT initiatives, deciding the tool can often be the easy part. Onboarding the rest of the business can at times require extra effort, because different departments have different needs and requirements. Here are some ways to approach this.
Start with the Basics
Do a show and tell: Don’t focus on the bells and whistles of the tool, but rather share how it will simplify operations. For instance, rather than having to download information and manipulate in an Excel spreadsheet, the user can press a couple of keys to get results at their fingertips.
Ease of sharing information: Show the benefits of automating data preparation while also allowing the user to easily disseminate information to a wider audience.
Pick easily understandable data points: For instance, a purchasing sourcing analyst needs a running total of all of the company’s purchasing spend categorized in different views. There is no fuzziness in these numbers.
Financial data can always be used, but often it can be more challenging depending on reporting rules as well as how the system is configured to recognize revenue. At times it can involve custom mapping that you get to do at the data modeling layer before you even utilize an analytics solution like SAC.
In 2020, many clients were using BusinessObjects (BOBJ) and SAC or migrating from BOBJ altogether to SAC. Some clients like the simplicity of using one reporting dashboard tool connected directly to the back end system, whether it be SAP BW4/HANA or S4HANA. Others like the ability to integrate between BOBJ and SAC. Either way, you must engage with the rest of the business to see what those departments prefer before you finalize your plan.
Lessons Shared by Experts
Get business and IT aligned. This includes the IT department that needs to support the software stacks, the users who will interface with tools consistently, and those who will work with the reporting and dashboard results regardless of where they are in the organization. It is a balancing act on how to best achieve the goals desired.
Avoid pitfalls by hiring experts that can help achieve goals faster because they do it regularly. For instance, if technical infrastructure needs to be in place, find a team to help establish connectors needed in the back end. Work cannot move forward without the needed connectors and this results in delays and potential budget overruns.
Start with a familiar data set. If users are familiar with the data and numbers, they don’t need to focus on the numbers but rather how the numbers are presented and consumed. It is beneficial for end-users to see their own data reflected in an SAC dashboard. It not only catches their eye, but it gives them insights.
For example, take the Excel-driven, tabular reporting of a familiar data set and show them a dashboard with bells and whistles such as numeric tiles, charts, variances and thresholds. These features, used in presenting a familiar data set, show the user the power of SAC.
Start with the end in mind. Remove any complexity such as data validation and data modeling. Do not do initial requirements gathering. Rather show users an existing report they know well in SAC and adoption of SAC will more than likely be welcomed. The rest of it will be figured out by your team.
Interested in more Tech-Driven Business podcasts? You can listen here
Other parts in this SAC series, all available on the Tech-Driven Business podcast page:
SAP Support Portal: Of course, it all starts here. The portal includes all manner of training materials and for those just getting started with SAC there’s a wealth of resources.