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Welcome to the first in a series of monthly weblogs relating to SAP Analytical Applications. Today we try to help you understand what SAP Analytics is all about.

SAP Analytics is designed for businesspeople to help them take appropriate actions based on comprehensive views of their business. SAP Analytics provides data models, associated user interfaces, and a design environment that support the best business practices across the entire value chain. The easy-to-use design environment provided with SAP Analytics empowers businesspeople to create, modify, and deploy analytic applications.

SAP Analytics is easy and intuitive for businesspeople of all types to customize to meet their business needs. The analytic functions that come with SAP Analytics are assembled without any hand coding, which means businesspeople can enhance their business logic without help from developers. They can easily extend the analytic functions, or even create their own analytic applications.

SAP Analytics is delivered as part of mySAP Business Suite solutions and is also available standalone, providing analytics to support both general-purpose and industry-specific business processes. SAP Analytics also enables strategy formulation and the delivery of insights through an enterprise portal, integration of data from SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence and real-time data feeds, and comprehensive master data management that produces consistent insights derived from multiple SAP installations or from a heterogeneous mix of business applications.

For additional information check out http:\\www.sap.com\analytics

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15 Comments

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  1. Former Member
    How different is SAP Analytics from:
    1. Packaged analytics packages
    2. BW with the Data Mininng Workbench
    3. Specialized Analytics Programs like SAS etc.

    and given that many companies have their packaged analytics applications in place how does SAP Analytics compare with the best of breed vendors?

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      1. SAP Analytics are created using the Visual Composer Tool. Visual Composer can be downloaded through the service marketplace. However the current tool available is not complete.  SAP Analytics will be rolled out later this year only then will the complete Visual Composer (to be used for Analytics) be available.
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        1. Former Member
          My understanding is Visual Composer (VC) is modeling tool to create application that is published for SAP EP. Can customer create Custom Analytical Applications if they are not deploying EP but they have SAP BI, SAP CRM etc? 

          What tool they will be using?

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          1. Former Member
            You can of course build analytical applications with BW alone. Take the BEx Web Application Designer, the BEx Query Designer and the BEx Analyzer and you have all tools to build them.

            The coming Visual Composer approach is a little bit different. It adds the capability to use not only BW data, but also data from a variety of sources through the BI Kit (JDBC, ODBA, XMLA, SAPQUERY) and Web API, BAPIs, WebServices,…
            That allows to integrate transactions and analytics in one screen – and that is very new.

            While BW alone offers webreporting (HTML) and supports Excel-capabilities with a lot of functionality, the VC offers the capability to render the stuff in HTML-B and now new in Macromedia Flash/Flex.

            The functionality is different between the UIs and modelers, so thorough evaluation of what to approach to use with the upcoming version is recommended.

            Mario

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            1. Former Member
              Hello Mario

              Thanks for your answer.

              Can I use VC to create Web applicaitons generating HTML-B, If I do not have EP deployed? It is a powerful tool to create an application. I may not need JDBC ODBA data for my applications but still would like to use VC to create Web Pages without HTML-B programming etc.

              Pankaj

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      2. Sorry Gerd, there is no ‘trial’ version. SAP Analytics will begin a ramp-up procedure in the 4th quarter of 2005
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    1. Former Member
      The “only” difference is that as modeling environment Visual Composer (VC) is used and that is it out of the VC rendered in Macromedia Flash/Flex. The data itself comes to most parts from BW, the original queries are built with the BEx Query Designer.
      One difference to the business packages that are up to now available is, that due to the BI Kit in the VC also other sources than BW can provide data into such an analytical application

      Mario

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    2. Former Member
      Just read your last sentence: SAP Analytics also includes transactions. With VC you can freely combine transactions and analytics into one application. Best of breed provides typically only focus on analytics, but a good application combines all of this seemlessly. And that’s what SAP does.
      To be frank: we redefined the analytics market and “analytics-only” companies (or “best of breed”, as you said) suddenly look very old…
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  2. Former Member
    All agreed , but I have come across a lot of vendors who have built their analytics on Business Objects or Cognos etc , with a foundation on SAp or even SAp BW in some cases. Also with SAP BW going the open way with support for almost all functionalities being offered by thrid party tools as well like :
    1. Creating cubes / – Oracle warehouse Builder / Open source tools available
    2. Reporting : – Crystal Analysis can be used
    3. Queries – MDX Queries to populate MS OLAP Cubes is possible.
    4. Extraction – Informatica / Datastage offer this facility.

    What would be the Killer differentiator for SAp Analytics or even for that matter BW ?
    In many cases we found it very hard to push SAP BW and related analytics , and cost differentiators are not too strong either. Only plausible reason we could make was with regard to maintainability but that too fell flat. What would you suggest and what is the critical gap that is addressed by SAP Analytics that makes it attractive to the customer?

    my 0.02,

    Arun Varadarajan

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    1. Former Member
      The analytical application that we have seen up to now contain analytics only. All the best of breed analytic providers do not integrate with transactions.
      When you look at the business, what is it that you want to do? You want to know the situtation, analyse the problem and then do some action and collaborate. The first and second step are included in all the anlytical applications, but the unique offering from SAP is that it offers now this seemless integration with transactions. You can actually do some transactional stuff directly out of your analytical application, without having to hassle around in other screens (with other layout, usability,…).

      Furthermore the VC allows you to model and build either transactions or analytics or both mixed applications, all in a graphical way. SAP “owns” the transactional world, that’s were others have to give in. For the user it becomes transparent, that the data comes from an analytical system or from a transactional system. It doesn’t matter anymore, and why should they bother?

      In my opinion business applications are not just analytics OR transactions, they are always both. Sometimes more analytical focused, sometimes more transactions and less reporting. A solution from best-of-breed vendors has never this kind of full integration between those worlds, then we can offer now.

      The VC integrates Portal, BW, and other backends in a way that it becomes painless to build applications and the user doesn’t notice any difference between those worlds and technologies.

      Compare how you would have to awkwardly stitch together a business application with such a scope today and look at the VC, how this easily integrates the underlying applications. And this with very low coding effort.

      The first prototypes and fully usable analytical applications that we offer were built by non-programmers (Solution Managers, Product Managers,…) after a one-day training within 2-4 days. Within a couple of weeks more than 200 applications were built this way by people, who haven’t known the VC before.

      Mario

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  3. Hi Mario,

    As you stated earlier in the BLOG, SAP Analytics can get its data from other sources than BW. While this is certainly interesting for non-SAP systems, can BW be skipped with SAP systems as well, or is BW always recommended for SAP data?
    Best regards,

    Maarten
    SAP Netherlands

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    1. Former Member
      Depends on what you want to do. VC allows to use RFCs to access SAP data.
      When you need highly aggregated, unified and cleansed data from different systems in one view, then you best use a datawarehouse like the BW.

      Mario

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  4. Former Member
    I understand that using SAP Analytics with BW and the Portal require NW04 SP14 (BW 3.5 & EP 6.0). Is our BW installation going to require a dual stack installation (abap + java) to support the Analytics / Visual Composer?
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