First impression of SAP Cloud for Analytics
This week I was attending the TechEd Las Vegas 2015. On Tuesday Bernd Leukert announced SAP Cloud for Analytics. Officially this was named SAP Project Orca and for a couple of weeks a countdown was available on sapprojectorca.com.
You can request an invite via SAP Cloud for Analytics website, just simply go and click on the right top corner on Request an invite. I found out that the product will be general available in about a month, so maybe at TechEd Barcelona there will be more hands on possibilities. From November on SAP will allow more and more customers on the platform, so if you request an invite asap it will become sooner available to you.
The road map for Cloud for Analytics can be found here. What you can see here is that Cloud for Analytics consists of 4 pillars now BI, Planning, Predictive and GRC, where predictive and GCR are planned. Most of the information shared below is applicable to the BI part of the tool.
It is not fully finalized as I have been told, but the idea is that you either can buy blocks (like BI or Planning) or the entire set. One block will be appr. 25 USD per user, but as said before, this is not final. For (f.e.) BI you will get all (applicable) cores that are needed for BI, f.e. Geospatial, Data connectivity and Collaboration. Cloud for Analytics is expected to come with a full free trial for 30 days and after that a free subscription where you can possibly load data from CSV, Google and maybe some other sources. It is expected to come with a couple of gigs storage on the Cloud.
But for what I have seen now it will be a game changer in the board room and with business users. The ease of use of this tool is really amazing. You can easily select, filter, share, collaborate, plan your data and even more. So what is it?
About the tool
From what I understood it is a tool that has 4 pillars where it is build on. Plan – Discover – Visualize – Predict.
Originally the tool was named Cloud for Planning. It was the plan to built a tool that made it possible to add EPM functionalities to the cloud. But in order to have those functionalities you would also need to have data and to be able to validate that data you need a visualization. So the idea came to build Cloud for Analytics. In the current version you can see that it is possible to create a planning table where you can add data in that will be stored in your data set. In this plan table, you can also create a graph on top of it, to make it more interesting. As soon as you make a change to the table…. the graph will be updated. With this you can f.e. see what the impact is when you plan to add more money to your marketing budget.
Planning in Cloud for Analytics for BI
Planning in Cloud for Analytics for Planning
So in this section you are able to discover your data. You can set filters and add data sets to your stories.
This is the part where I was most interested in. The graphs that you can use are not that complicated, but will do for 95% of all business cases. I really enjoyed and loved the geospatial options. I have graduated doing a thesis on geospatial information systems combined with SAP BI/BO, so I am always interested to see the developments in this. The geospatial data used is still requiring longitude and latitude data, but the maps come in the tool it self. Also combining geo data sets work really well. Further it looked really easy to create new data pages with your own information sets and visualizations, so that was cool to see.
So what will happen with your sales, if you plan to increase your marketing budget? For those questions you can use the prediction in Cloud for Analytics. This option is still planned to go live somewhere in Q1 2016, so not much information from me on that one.
What to expect
When looking in the road map some really nice features can be expected in Q4.15 or Q1.15.
Google apps integration:
The thing that was really interesting and that Jacob Stark showed me was the Google Apps integration. So if you are working on a document and a user asks you to add a graph to a Google document, this is possible via an Add-in on Google Documents. You simply log on to the SAP Cloud for Analytics platform and the user is able to add an earlier defined graph to the document or even can edit the graph within Google.
Sorry for the bad picture, but this shows the Google Add-on.
Predictive will first come with 5-10 predefined predictive calculations. In a later stage, this should become more. Also the user will then be able to create his own predictive models in the tool, but this will be expected at a later point.
The board room looks really impressive and the ease of use as the functionalities of the backend is really nice but still somewhat basic. It would be really nice to have a full hands on experience on the tool to start playing around with it to see all possibilities.
The well known SAP disclaimer is in place on this blog. I have retrieved the information by asking the SAP staff for information. It can be that I have interpreted things not completely correct or maybe things have changed in time. I really want to thank the people for the Cloud for Analytics stand especially Jacob Stark to share their info to me. I am looking forward working with the tool and explore all functionalities.