By Mariyah Saifuddin
This highlights the first in a six-part podcast series on SAC from 2020-2021 and featuring Mustansir Saifuddin and Hau Ngo.
Back in 2020, we launched our “Tech-Driven Business” podcast with a series of episodes on SAP Analytics Cloud. In the two years since then, the pandemic’s effects on business processes took many companies by surprise – and pushed many to accelerate their migration to the cloud.
Take, for example, American Air Filter of Louisville, Ky., which saw an increase in demand, putting a strain on the company’s IT systems.
“It took us all by surprise,” said Bob Betts, SAP programs director at American Air Filter was quoted in an article in Tech Target. “There was not enough capacity to support the growth, and we had product allocation problems and delivery problems with our customers.”
AAF decided that the chaotic ERP landscape was holding the company back, so it committed to S/4HANA Cloud as the one common platform, Betts said in Tech Target.
Business Technology Platform Has it All
SAP’s Analytic Cloud Solution (SAC), SAP Business Technology Platform, combines everything an organization needs in analytics into one intuitive user interface. It is a cloud solution connecting people, information and ideas to enable fast and confident decision making.
In this first of several “Tech-Driven Business” podcasts on SAC, Hau Ngo, who began working with SAC in 2017, shares his real-life experiences as both a customer and a developer.
Although SAC continues to be one of SAP’s easiest tools to get up and running, companies are often unaware of the full capability of SAC. Part of it is the nature of adopting IT tools. Everyone sees the top layer or what is the major benefit of SAC: an easy-to-use dashboarding tool for SAP customers. While it used to take more than a month to generate a simple report, it now can be streamlined to a couple of weeks with SAC.
That was a godsend for companies whiplashed by supply chain issues and a changed environment, courtesy of COVID-19 and its global effects.
‘A Tremendous Amount of Capabilities’
“You’ve got to understand the flexibility of the new system, because it’s much more flexible and has a tremendous amount of capabilities compared to ECC 6 and 7 systems,” Betts, of American Air Filter, said in Tech Target.
SAC allows for quick and easy reporting mockups to be generated, allowing users to get a feel of the metrics or dimensions they want to track. With these mockups, users can share instant feedback and provide guidance to the developer on what they like and what they want to change.
This ability to quickly see a possible end result allows for early user adoption, which is critical to any successful project. With more than 20 years in the industry, the Innovative Solution Partners’ team has worked with many of SAP’s other reporting tools, including BEX Analyzer, Business Objects and Business Planning and Consolidation. What makes SAC stand out is the ability to quickly create mockup dashboards as well as combining planning and predictive analytics into a single tool.
Based on the HANA platform, SAC used to have issues on how it connected with the back-end. That was the case for BW data warehouse back-end, directly to S4HANA, or a pure HANA SQL data warehouse back-end. The different type of data warehouse source often determined which features were available to the end user. However, that has since evolved.
In the first half of 2022, SAP has launched the optimized view mode, which leverages a faster, better-performing experience for users.
Proof of Concept, Existing Data: Starting Points
Regardless of where you may be in your analytics or cloud journey, there are viable ways to navigate using SAC. One is do a proof of concept. While it can be daunting for a team lead to specify what report they want, that lead often does have an existing report or bits of data from different parts of the system. As a service partner, we can use this as a starting point for a mockup to ensure that we clearly understand what the client wants. It allows us to shorten your development cycles early in the process, while keeping the lines of communication open with the end user.
Another important SAC use case for companies applies specifically to those teams that are so used to having everything in Excel that they cannot envision anything else. These clients are used to taking data from Excel, massaging the data, and modifying the data to ultimately get the report they desire. SAC allows for companies to really automate their reporting confidently. This automation eliminates errors to ensure consistency in reporting and shortens production time.
One of the ongoing challenges for SAC used to be logic and data modeling. While SAC is easy to use, and you can build reports and dashboards quickly, the challenges come when trying to devise a new data model. If you are removing Business Objects as your reporting tool and replacing with SAP Analytics Cloud, you’re just adjusting to connectors, and that works fine. The challenge is: How do you assemble the data to support that logic?