If you have “one” time designed aka rigid SAP reporting solution, I am sure you would have come across below requests from your business users.
“I need to analyse this new! data quickly..”
“I don’t have time to write spec’s, wait for data to be loaded and wait for developer to build the report..”
“Our business across regions use different data authoring tools..”
“I need to create interactive visuals and our senior management should be able to view in their tablets in the next hour..” 😐
A good alternative to head-on such circumstances could be to use SAP NetWeaver Gateway i.e. to expose SAP data as oData. oData being open standard means, the data could then be consumed with multitude of 3rd party visualisation tools. In below scenario I created a NW Gateway Service to expose Warehouse Orders data so the reporting user can consume this oData Service by using Microsoft Power BI for data insight and interactive visualisation.
The solution took less then 45 mins! to build 😉
Below are the steps:
Build RFC function module to expose the business data. In my case, I exposed Warehouse Orders so simple select on Warehouse Order table was sufficient. (20 mins). Steps to build/test service is outlined in the blog: http://goo.gl/JCTDEX
Test the service you have built to make sure all the metadata and results are displayed
After the service is built, the reporting users can consuming the oData Service. Open Microsoft Power BI and access service through oData feed.
Once logon is successful, the available fields with data are shown. (2 mins). For more info. on Power BI: https://powerbi.microsoft.com
Now reporting users can go-crazy with their data insight ingenuity. Some basic interactive visualisations I have created are shown below (15-20 mins each!)
Further, these data visualisations can then be published to Web i.e. Office365/SharePoint to be consumed by the user community or using Power BI App users can open the responsive visualisations on their mobile devices.
Some points to note:
- Replace leaden traditions: SAP data download to excel, format in excel and again upload to “a” visualisation tool.
- Set of records: Not solving big data issues here, we have a set of records that need to be visualised quickly!
- Open data: Data is exposed as oData feed, meaning keeping people with different tastes.. visualisation tools happy!
- TAT (Turn-around-Time): Quick from inception to visualising report and on a mobile device!
- Licenses: User your SAP user ID to access oData, Power BI comes along with MS/Office 365 (check options & pricing)