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If you’re an SAP CRM (on-premise) customer interested in real-time reporting and analytics then there’s a good chance that you’ve struggled with the question about which approach to choose to enable real-time reporting in CRM. In this blog post I’ll walk you through the two options including the older CRM Interactive OLTP Reporting option as well as the new HANA Live Analytics approach. Spoiler alert: I’m recommend HANA Live Analtyics… at least in most situations. But please, read on.


Introducing CRM Interactive (OLTP) Reporting

Long-time SAP CRM aficionados may recall that SAP introduced CRM Interactive (OLTP) Reporting back in 2006 with CRM 5.2. The concept was simple, yet powerful. Instead of going through the hassle of exporting live CRM data to SAP BI systems just to be able do real-time CRM reporting, you could instead create a dedicated BI client in your existing SAP CRM system. You can read more about CRM Interactive Reporting in the FAQs OLTP Reporting document here.

With this approach, no separate SAP BI system was required for basic operational / transactional CRM reporting. Instead, the SAP NetWeaver stack that comes with SAP CRM could be used in order to run real-time operational CRM reports directly on the CRM implementation. Customers would of course still rely on SAP BI for analytical (OLAP) reporting, advanced analyses, and/or historic reporting. But simple CRM transactional (OLTP) reporting could be done directly in CRM.

While CRM Interactive reporting was a sound concept and a solid offering for its time (almost 10 years ago), customers did sometimes struggle with the complex set up and configuration process. In addition, the CRM Interactive reports were limited to certain predefined SAP business objects and the solution offered limited options for project-based customizations or enhancements.

Introducing CRM Hana Live Analytics

Thankfully SAP was able to address many of the challenges presented by CRM Interactive Reporting with the new SAP CRM Hana Live Reporting available as of SAP CRM 7.0 Enhancement Package 2 (EHP2) Support Package 05 (SP05). For example, while the CRM Interactive reporting was limited to selected optimized areas due to scalability and performance reasons, the new Hana Live Reporting covers more operational respoting areas across Marketing, Sales and Service.

In addition, with the old CRM Interactive Reporting it was not possible for customers to define their own new reporting areas without modifying the standard code; only field extensions were supported in standard. However with the new CRM Hana Live Analytics customers can easily define their own new reporting areas by building their own new Hana views and registering the OData services in the backend CRM system.

More than 40 virtual data models (VDMs) are delivered standard out of the box with CRM Hana Live Analytics to allow reporting against almost any CRM business object including those shown below. You can find a full list of the default Hana Live Virtual Data Models and Query Views in the SAP online help.

  • Business Partner
  • Products
  • Activity
  • Interaction Record
  • Leads
  • Campaigns
  • Contract Tracking
  • Opportunity
  • Sales Order
  • Sales Quotation
  • Sales Contract
  • Sales Performance Management
  • Complaint
  • Service Problem
  • Service Request
  • Service Order and Service Confirmation

Please note that SAP Hana Live Cross-Analytics requires SAP CRM 7.0 EHP1 (SP12) or higher and SAP ERP 6.0 EHP4 (SP00) or higher.

Combining CRM / ERP data with CRM Hana Live Cross-Analtyics

One of the other benefits of CRM Hana Live Analytics is that it allows you to combine CRM and ERP data in order to do consolidated “Cross-Analytics” reporting. SAP delivers three sample cross-virtual data models out of the box including:

  • ERP Sales Orders and CRM Opportunities: This query view enables you to use SAP CRM master data to analyze your opportunities and sales orders. The query view is designed as an example for answering questions such as:
    • What is the expected net amount of the opportunities and the total net amount of sales orders at the sales organization level or at the account level?
    • What is the total net amount of the sales orders for the current year and the previous year at the sales organization level or at the account level?
    • What is the net amount of opportunities for the current year at the sales organization level or at the account level?
    • What is the projected amount for the current year at the sales organization level or at the account level?
    • How many opportunities and sales orders exist at the sales organization level or at the account level?


  • ERP Customer Invoices (Billing Net Amount / Quantity by CRM Account, Product, or Sales Org): SAP delivers two standard query views for Invoices including one for the Customer Invoice Header and another for Customer Invoice Items. These query views help answer business questions such as:
    • What is the header total net amount and tax amount at the sales organization level or at the account level?
    • How many customer invoice headers exist at the sales organization level or at the account level?
    • What is the item net amount, tax amount, and billing quantity at the sales organization level or at the account level?
    • How many customer invoice items exist at the sales organization level or at the account level?


  • ERP Credit Memos by CRM Account, Product, or Sales Org: SAP delivers two standard query views for Credit Memos including one for the Credit Memo Header and another for the Credit Memo Items. These query views help answer business questions such as:
    • What is the header total net amount and tax amount at the sales organization level or at the account level?
    • How many credit memo headers exist at the sales organization level or at the account level?
    • What is the item net amount, tax amount, and billing quantity at the sales organization level or at the account level?
    • How many credit memo items exist at the sales organization level or at the account level?

Extending SAP Hana Live Virtual Data Models (VDMs)

You find details in the How-to-Guide for creating new VDMs and Reports.However, the high level steps are as follows:

  1. Hana Expert (Developer): Extend or model new SAP HANA Live Query Views in Hana Studio by reusing the SAP shipped reuse views or by defining new ones.
  2. Key User: Create SAP CRM HANA Live Reports in CRM WebUI
  3. Business User: Usage of published reports in CRMWebUI or Fiori


Please note:


  • After extending transactional apps with new fields you also need to extend the Hana Live Views (VDM) in order to reflect those extensions.
  • There is currently no single tool which helps extending both in one step. The good news is that if you extend a VDM which is exposed as OData and is being used in a SHL Reports or Fiori Customer Reports those new attributes will automatically appear also in the Reports which use the OData service



Conclusions


As you probably expected, SAP Hana Live Analytics are a better choice for most new analytics projects where real-time CRM reporting and analytics are required. First of all, HANA Live Reprting is built on a newer platform that offers greater performance over the old CRM Interactive Reporting. In addition, HANA Live Analytics provide more out of the box reporting areas and coverage than CRM Interactive Reporting. And finally, whereas the old CRM Interactive Reporting provided limited ability for extension (without making coding modifications), the new Hana Live Analytics can be freely and easily extended.

That being said, the old CRM Interactive Reporting may still be sufficient for some customers. If the standard out-of-the-box reporting areas cover your requirements and you aren’t looking to make a financial investment in SAP HANA quite just yet, then CRM Interactive Reporting may be a perfect stop-gap solution for you! Either way, you can’t really go wrong 😉 .

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5 Comments

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  1. Arden Stricke

    Thanks for this John

    Like you mention the Interactive Reporting can sometimes be a challenge to get up and running.

    I like the look of this HANA Live Analytics and the enhanced flexibility it provides.

    Regards

    Arden

    (0) 
  2. Andrea Bosoni

    Hi John, in terms of required client components, my understanding is that:

    – for SAP Interactive Reporting, this will be embedded in CRM UI, without requiring additional client components

    – HANA Live VDM, as minimum-impact solution, could be technically consumed via HANA Live Browser, without requiring the setup of other tool (BO BI platform, Lumira Desktop, etc.)

    Is my understanding correct?

    Thanks and regards,

    Andrea

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    1. John Burton Post author

      Hi Andrea,

      The HANA Live Analytics do not require any special tool or browser and can be viewed directly inside the CRM WebClient — either on an alaytics page or even embedded directly into a CRM object like the Account Overview page for example. The HANA Live Analytics can even also be displayed in CRM Fiori in addition to the WebClient.

      Best regards,

      John

      (0) 

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