A change of approach…
As more and more S4/HANA systems are deployed, we need to think about the future of analytics, because S4/HANA is changing the game.
SAP are telling us that the future of operational reporting on ERP data is embedded analytics, so in future we will all be doing our analytics on the same system as we are using to process the transactions. In the past, a BW system was often necessary to provide an analytics platform so that the transactional system was not overloaded by analytics processing, but the future will look different, because the performance improvements which come along with S4/HANA mean that doing analytics on the transactional system is not only possible, but is often the best solution – Imagine having access to up-to-the-second data in your reports, all the time.
S4/HANA comes with the tools that you need in order to be able to deploy your analytics on your ERP system. This approach, and the toolset that comes along with are collectively known as ‘Embedded Analytics’.
The toolset comes in two parts:
• Part 1 – Data Acquisition – how do we make the data available for analytics?
• Part 2 – Data visualisation – how do we visualise that data in a meaningful way?
Part 1 – Data Acquisition
Data for embedded analytics is acquired using objects called ‘CDS views’. These objects are blocks of code which expose various fields from the database. The exact fields which are exposed depend on how you build the view.
The syntax is different from ABAP, and also unlike ABAP programs, CDS views can only be used to expose data from the database. They can’t be used to get data into the database, or call transactions or any of the other data insertion tasks which ABAP programs can do.
CDS views exist in the data dictionary and can be managed using the standard transport system, so they fit right in to the existing paradigms for managing change on your SAP systems. SAP provide a large number of standard views which expose different data, and you can use or modify these to meet your own requirements.
Part 2 – Data Visualisation
Once you have exposed the data you need, you can then show it to your users in a number of different ways. All S4/HANA systems will come with an associated Fiori deployment, and the default way of visualising the data from your CDS views is via Fiori analytical tiles. There are also other options – any of the BOBJ analysis tools (including WEBI, Analysis for Office & Lumira) can also be used to visualise data from CDS views, and SAP Analytics Cloud is also an option.
It’s time to start thinking about how this new approach to analytics is likely to impact your organisation when S4/HANA arrives in your SAP estate, so come along to my embedded analytics session at #iTelli2018 to find out more. The session is at 15:30 in the Olivier room.
Register your place now, click here.
Written, by Author Mark Wheaton , Senior Expert, Managed Services Analytics Team Lead