In our last blog, Partly Cloudy Forecast, we gave an overview of some of the capabilities of SAP Analytics Cloud (formerly known as SAP BusinessObjects Cloud), as well as some of the options for loading data. One of the big benefits of a cloud-based solution, such as Analytics Cloud, is the ability for end-users to own the process, and that is no different when it comes to corrallin’ your data! As discussed before, users certainly have the ability to load flat-file data to Analytics Cloud, but they also have the ability to connect to various data sources, some even in real-time. So, in this blog, I’d like to dive a bit deeper in to some of the specific connections available and the benefits of each.
Initially, IT assistance may be required to ensure that the software versions on the source system side are compatible and up to the appropriate version/support pack level to be able to connect. Also, certain components, such as the HANA Cloud Connector and the SAP Analytics Cloud Agent, may need to be installed/configured depending on the type of connection being leveraged. These technical components are a one-time setup with regular updates to keep the versions in sync and require significantly less time/involvement to install and maintain than previous premise-based BusinessObjects integration components.
Once the technical configuration is complete and connection established, it truly becomes a user-driven process to be able to load data from a variety of sources. There are two types of connections available in Analytics Cloud, a Live Data Connection and Import Data Connection. Let’s look first at the Live Data Connection and some of its benefits.
Live Data Connections available today:
- SAP BW – Supports both BW on HANA, as well as BW running on any database
Live Data Connection Benefits:
- NO data replication and prevents transfer of large data sets from the source system
- Automatically updated with current data, when users refresh stories built upon the data
- Create complex models and calculations in source system, i.e. HANA Studio, then leverage those sophisticated models within Analytics Cloud
- Sensitive data can stay on the local network, behind your firewall
If one of the Live Connections doesn’t satisfy your current data integration needs, then consider the ability to import data in to Analytics Cloud from a variety of source systems. In this scenario, data is replicated from your source system in to Analytics Cloud, but opens up a wide array of possibilities for data integration and modeling within Analytics Cloud.
Import Data Connections available today:
- SAP ERP – Both ECC 6.0 and S/4HANA
- Business Warehouse (BW)
- BPC Standard – Both Microsoft and Netweaver versions (NOTE! This data connection allows the ability to not only import BPC data in to Analytics Cloud, but also model and plan on that data within Analytics Cloudand then push it back to BPC for integration in to a larger plan process.)
- BOBJ Universe
- Success Factors
- Hybris Cloud for Customer
- Google Docs
Import Data Connection Benefits:
- Data is replicated in to Analytics Cloud, which allows for integration and blending with various other data sources
- Leverage the full capabilities of Analytics Cloud, including additional data modeling capabilities, planning and robust analytics
- Allows the ability for data cleansing during import and provides error detection for things like empty values, invalid date formats, etc.
- Ability to schedule regular refreshes of both transaction and master data from the source system to keep Analytics Cloud up to date.
Depending on your specific requirements, there are several options available for data integration within Analytics Cloud. Whether you have various KPI’s or industry benchmark data stored in spreadsheets and flat files that needs to be integrated with other data elements, or you are trying to connect to a cloud-based solution, such as Success Factors, or ultimately have a need to read real time data updates, Analytics Cloud can handle this integration. Analytics Cloud puts the power of this data blending in to the hands of the end-users to give them the autonomy to easily import this data and build models on the fly within Analytics Cloud.
To learn more about how SAP Analytics Cloud can work to modernize your finance department, watch our on-demand video for a demonstration of the power of Analytics Cloud. Or watch this short video on how Analytics Cloud can unify business insights once and for all.