Imagine this scenario – you are a decision maker in your company. It is a few weeks before the year-end close and you have to take a few decisions that will have a positive impact on the business in the last quarter of the year. You Analytics solutions provide business reports and nice looking charts that provide you with analytics on all the important Dimension and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for your business. You are ready to take the big decision. And just then the thought occurs – are these numbers accurate? Can I rely on them to take my decision? How can I reconcile the numbers with the source of truth? Sounds familiar? If this is the most important decision of the year, your caution is justified. The question then becomes – do you have the necessary tools to verify the accuracy and correctness of the data? Let us explore this further.
We see that many businesses today aggregate information in a Enterprise Data Warehouse solutions like SAP BW powered by SAP HANA. This provides customers the ability to harmonize data across multiple disparate enterprise software systems. These enterprise systems have operational data for various business functions like Finance, Logistics, HR etc. For many companies each of this may be separate system. Operational reporting on these individual enterprise software systems gives a fragmented view. Enterprise Data Warehouse like SAP BW provides the customers the ability to get an 360 degree view of their enterprise and get a true pulse of the entire business including all aspects of customers, suppliers, logistics, manufacturing, finance and employees. The reality is that agile businesses often look at a global impact of their decisions that include KPI’s in different business functions. So what could go wrong when data is aggregated in a data warehouse ? Here are some perils that may sound familiar:
- Master Data harmonization
Suppliers, Items, Customers, Employees and other master data is fragmented and has different representation in each system
- Data Transformation
When data ends up in a warehouse, the harmonization and aggregation process changes the original data. Bringing transaction to one currency or Unit of Measure etc. are some of the example
- Complexity of KPI definitions
Some calculated KPI’s are a result of complex formula’s and rules. Understanding how these transactions happen and where the data is sourced is critical to verify the correctness of the end result. Calculations for gross-margin, net-margin, value-added-tax (VAT) are some of the examples here
- Information may not be real-time
Data movement to the warehouse is often a batch process and the updates may not be current at the time of taking decisions. Hence, knowing when the last updates happened in the data warehouse is helpful to know if the data upload provides completeness for the decision.
If you find yourself in this situation you would rightly take the President Ronald Regan’s approach of “Trust but Verify”. Business users need the ability to verify the data, once in a while, to take decisions with confidence. Data reconciliation is often a costly exercise that requires experienced consultants and business team to spend time to verify the correctness and completeness of the data. There must be a better way to manage this.
We took this challenge seriously and set on a path to address this in our Business Intelligence Adoption RDS. As some of you may know that this RDS has valuable content to simplify the adoption of Analytics for your business. You will find all this valuable content :
- Pre-Configured Software content that includes data model, queries, visualizations for Lumira, Explorer, Dashboards, Design Studio etc.
- 100+ visualizations for finance, logistics, manufacturing, CRM, HR and other business functions based on standard BW content available on Desktop and Mobile devices
- Best-practice content on BI Tool selection and reporting etc.
In addition to the above we focused on helping business users to reconcile and verify the correctness and completeness of data whenever they like.This provides business users the ability to compare data in the source systems with the data that is available in SAP BW. This includes:
1. Data Reconciliation Reports
Over 15 reconciliation reports for Billing, Payables, Receivables, Delivery documents etc. helps end users compare data in BW with data in ECC
2. Data Availability report
One report that shows when the data was last loaded for a every subject area like Order-to-Cash, Inventory, Accounts Payable etc.
3. Data Lineage report
Advanced business users sometimes would like to understand where the information came from (which table and which field in ECC)
You see, with this RDS, crossing T’s and dotting I’s is as easy as running a report to verify the correctness and completeness of data. By providing pre-configured reports we make the exercise of reconciling data much simpler. Reconciling data does not have to be an expensive exercise involving consultants and business users. With this content customers save time and have the confidence that their decisions are based on data that has been verified for correctness.
If you have investments in SAP, especially SAP Business Suite or SAP BW investment, you can download the content from Service Marketplace for free and try out these reports. See how this can simplify your decision making process.
Let us know if there are other scenarios that will help you gain more confidence in your decision making process. Start the conversation below and we will be happy to engage with you.