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Author's profile photo Mark Cooper

SAPInsider BI2016 Case Study – Introduction

It’s that time of year (yes, again already!) where we gather at SAPInsider, this year located in a very drizzly Vienna, for BI2016 (plus GRC2016, HR2016 and HANA2016). I am honoured and delighted (and always surprised πŸ˜‰ ) to be asked back to present at this event. I actually think this will be my third or fourth time presenting for Wellesley Information Services (WIS) in one form or another.

Because there are so many sessions for us delegates to choose from I wanted to write a short introduction to mine in case it is useful for people considering whether to attend and a synopsis (obviously) doesn’t always tell the whole story.


This year will follow on from where we left of in my last talk during the 2015 SAPInsider in Nice. Following the conclusion of that fun-filled event (great audience!) I wrote a blog-post summarising the session which includes links to the presentation as well as some of the historical back-story. If you have not attended one of my presentations before this will provide some background and prepare you for my presentation style 😏 . As you might gather from that post I have been trying for some time to remove the phrase “self-service’ from the BI lexicon. I will actually end up using the term many times because senior management thought it hilarious, I’m sure, to involve me during the past twelve months in several concurrent projects all of which are conceived to enable/deliver/realise “self-service 😯

You can find this year’s session in the app or on the event website  << that link will show you which other events are happening at the same time.

Important: The session starts at 08:30 and I appreciate that this is very early 😐 so to make things easier on yourself please follow these instructions:

  1. Enter the venue and bear right toward the escalators
  2. Drink a coffee at the drinks station just to the right of the escalator
  3. Grab another coffee and take it with you up the escalator to the next floor (Level 1)
  4. Bear right toward the ‘L” rooms, past L1 and L2 and then turn right for rooms L4-7 and L4 is on the left

I am toying with the idea of a “free can of Red Bull” incentive for the first ten attendees. Let me know in the comments or tweet me @CheOpsLaw if that would work for you!


The synopsis does tell part of the story and provide general context for the session

British American Tobacco (BAT) has embarked on an ambitious new programme to embed BI in the fabric of the organisation, driving up user adoption and self-reliance. Attend this technical session to gain valuable lessons from the company’s journey and:

  • ​Learn about its transformational business-led initiative to drive BI adoption using a custom information-delivery portal with workflow and value-added functionality
  • Get an update on BAT’s migration to SAP BW on SAP HANA, including the information lifecycle management (ILM) solution used for nearline storage with SAP IQ in order to reduce data volumes pre-migration to SAP HANA
  • Understand BAT’s considerations and planning process for deploying a logical data warehouse capable of analysing IT “governed” data with non-IT “ungoverned” data
  • Hear lessons learned and a wish list of features and functionality required in SAP BusinessObjects BI to overcome BAT’s final hurdles to BI adoption

But here is an alternate, more up-to-date summary: After five years spent deploying a single instance BI solution (SAP BW + BWA and BI4.1) alongside a single instance ERP we have been trying to navigate a course to migrate to and adopt HANA, to move toward “Modern BI” with non-BW data models with deployment of “data discovery” applications and user created “mashed-up” content while at the same time maintaining and improving the performance of the current systems. To say this has been a challenge would be somewhat of an understatement and there will be a lot of focus on some of the pains we have gone through and lessons learned.

We will touch upon the approach we took with regard to HANA Solution Architecture (including sizing and licensing) to underpin BW and BI4.1

BIHANAEU2016_Cooper_Casestudybritishamerican_final 2.jpg

Also discussed will be genuine user requirements for merging and analysing disparate datasets


The real star of the show will the section on a highly successful project, orchestrated and run by the business, which saw the introduction of what Gartner refer to as the “Information Delivery Platform” for simplified consumption of (and access to) BI and related information.

BIHANAEU2016_Cooper_Casestudybritishamerican_final 3.jpg

During the talk I will cover the many different interpretations of what self-service mean in any given context and the subsequent misunderstandings and challenges that arise as a result. After the session I will upload the complete presentation here.

Final point before the presentation: once I have delivered a session like this I always like hearing from delegates who are either saved from repeating something we did which we later would have chosen to do differently, or who have already succeeded with something we are just starting out with. Quite often we all realise we are in very similar positions with identical challenges so, if nothing else, the sessions succeed simply as group therapy. πŸ˜†

Come along on Wednesday and bring along any of your own challenges/questions/heckles (and also caffeine given the early start)!

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