Getting Started with S/4 HANA Embedded Analytics
As you continue with your journey towards Digital Transformation and analyze the innovative S/4 HANA solution, I would like to present how in this journey you could leverage the benefits of the embedded analytics, one of the cornerstone of our new product. In this blog I would briefly touch upon how embedded analytics adds value to your digital enterprise, explaining the evolution of the embedded analytics architecture and the components which makes up the “Embedded Analytics” Solution.
Digital Transformation is stretching the limits of the existing enterprise systems and almost bringing it to the point of breaking. Order volumes and transactions handled in enterprise systems are increasing at least by factor of 10, as companies are reinventing their B2B models to B2B2C and would like to serve more customers directly. As organizations start to serve more customers directly we are set to see an exponential rise in the number of transactions which are processed daily in the enterprise systems. While order volumes are on the rise, the cycle times required to serve this order is compressed. Customers are pushing for lower the cycle times and this becomes critical in a global supply chain when the components are sourced across multiple geographies.
As companies are dealing with an increasingly complex supply chain which becomes more diverse with time, the rising demand of the customers and the intense competition now makes it imperative that we have systems which can be “Live”. We need insights instantaneously so that most optimal decision is possible at the right time with the right context and in real time. This becomes difficult to achieve with the current architecture of the enterprise systems where we have artificial separation between the transactional systems and the analytical systems. Analytics today needs to be integrated with the moment of truth or at the point of transaction. No longer is it viable or competitive to maintain separate systems for transaction and analytics. We need to have the analytics embedded in the transactions and be able to react to any insight with an action in the transactional system at real time. Combining all these trends we see the genesis of the “Embedded Analytics”.
Embedded Analytics has its origins in two dominant themes namely the Fiori User Experience and the merging of the transactional system (OLTP) and the analytical (OLAP) systems. The central theme of any analytical application in S/4HANA begins with the context of the persona or the role of the end user. Continuing our simplification journey with user experience for the end user, we bring all the relevant information and the context required by the role in a personalized, visual and a responsive Launchpad.
In case you are interested in the further details, I would like to direct your attention to recording of TechEd presentation hosted by S/4HANA Embedded Analytics Product team. (Embedded Analytics)
So how does the embedded analytics differ from the traditional analytics? For starters we have a role based Fiori Launchpad for the end user where the user is able to view his transactional and the analytical apps that are most frequently used and is able to seamlessly navigate between transactional and an analytical system which comes from a single repository. The role based access provides the user with the relevant context for decision making and finally the end user would be able to complete the Insight to Action, from one system in real time without the need for data replication.
In the figure below you would find KPI tiles which are available in a Fiori Launchpad, which in a visual manner would highlight the threshold breaches, current performance and an up to date view of the business in real time. From this I could analyze further the details in a drill down application of my choice and finally take an action resulting in the resolution of the issue.
Taking a step further I would like to detail the multiple use cases which are part of S/4 HANA Embedded Analytics. The enabler of the embedded analytics is the Virtual Data Model realized in S/4 HANA by Core Data Services. The CDS views could be consumed by the generic BI clients or you could use consume them via Smart Business KPI Modeler to develop Analytical applications based on oData protocol. Integration with the BW is also available and CDS view forms an integral part of the search.
In the figure below you would see the high level logical model for the embedded analytics. The virtual data model concept is realized by the CDS (Core Data Service) views which are built in the ABAP layer. The CDS views be exposed as the oData which can be rendered in a browser. Modeling tools like Smart Business allows consumption of the oData exposed by the CDS views and generation of KPI tiles and drill down application adhering to the Fiori design principles in a codeless manner. Also the CDS views can be consumed by the InA protocol for the BI suite of products. Additionally if you need to create a custom analytical application you could make use of the oData exposed via the CDS views.
To address the need of the end user, key user involved in the modeling of KPIs and drilldown and the power users SAP provides a number of tools as part of the S/4 HANA Embedded Analytics. For the end user SAP provides the SAP Smart Business Cockpits with predefined content for roles in Finance and Logistics and an array of multi-dimensional reports and analytical Fiori Apps. For the key users tools like Query Browser and KPI Modeler allows the configuration of the KPIs, Reports and Drill-down Application. Additionally tools like Query Designer and ABAP on Eclipse helps in the modelling and extension of the CDS Views. The list of analytical application available with S/4 HANA is available in the Fiori Reference App. The picture below indicates integration of the S/4 Hana Embedded Analytics with the other tools in SAP Analytics portfolio. If you would like to look deeper into the S/4 Analytics integration with SAP BW I would strongly recommend to go through these 2 insightful blogs on SCN Integration of S/4 Hana and SAP BW and Unified Solution SAP S/4HANA and SAP BW.
Finally I would suggest to view the Hana Academy YouTube Playlist Hana Academy for CDS Views which contains information on how to get started with CDS and various consumption options. I hope this blog and the associated links would help you to get started with the S/4 HANA embedded analytics. I look forward to your comments and queries. In a later blog I would explain the details of S/4 HANA embedded analytics architecture and associated components in more details.