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This article describes how SAP Business ByDesign (ByD) Customers can leverage SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) to extend the ByD built-in analytics solution with additional visualizations, features and analytical scenarios. It answers the following questions:

  1. What are recommended integration scenarios for which customers should consider SAC as extension platform?
  2. How to connect ByD and SAC step-by-step and what needs to be considered?
  3. How to avoid known mistakes, achieve maximum benefits and best possible performance?

Table of Content

  • Introduction
  • Recommended Integration Scenarios from Business Perspective
  • ByD – SAC Integration from Technical Perspective
  • Step-by-Step Procedure to integrate ByD and SAC
  • Recommendations – What to Consider, when you integrate both Systems
  • Business Content Example for your reference
  • Outlook

Introduction

Built-in Analytics within SAP Business ByDesign (BYD): 
SAP Business ByDesign is a cloud-based ERP solution, which delivers integrated and insight-driven business processes for mid-size companies.  Accordingly built-in analytics is a key theme for SAP Business ByDesign and customers get the analytics content as an integrated part of their standard processes out-of-the box.

What is meant by built-in analytics?
Built-in analytics in context of ByDesign processes means:

  1. User Interfaces embed analytical insights into business processes.
  2. Business user get transactional and integrated analytical content via work centers.
  3. Access rights to transactional and analytical data are managed consistently via assignment to work centers.
  4. Scoping and configuration of business process makes the related analytics content available out of the box.
  5. The insights are based on live data and it is ensured that each number can be immediately explained by navigating to the underlying business document.
  6. Within SAP Business ByDesign customers use an integrated approach to adapt and extend the business objects and processes. Every adaptation is made available via key user tools for analytical data sources, reports and KPIs

There is no further licensing for built-in analytics required.

Analytics within SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC)
SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) contributes a powerful analytics extension platform in the cloud, which is based on the SAP Cloud Platform. SAC allows to connect to multiple cloud applications and leverage data models from different cloud applications and SAP BW. It offers strong visualization and dash boarding, corporate performance management capabilities with SAP Digital Boardroom as well powerful planning and predictive workflows.

Discussions to include limited users/functionality into the BYD application license are on-going. Nevertheless full functionality will require and additional license fee (e.g. for planning, prediction, digital boardroom, multiple data sources, etc.)

Recommended Integration Scenarios from Business Perspective

The following reporting scenarios are best supported within BYD:
Due to the strong integration of built-in analytics into the BYD solution, operational and process-centric analytics, optimizations and contextual decision making shall be done in SAP Business ByDesign directly.

Consider the following Extension Scenarios contributed by SAC:
SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) contributes strong side by side analytics. Accordingly the following use cases add value in combination with SAP Business ByDesign:

  1. Most importantly SAC is the place for cross reporting and consolidating the data of multiple sources and applications to one coherent picture.
  2. As a strong analytics platform, SAC also adds dash boarding, visualization and data exploration capabilities, which can be added on replicated BYD data in side by side reporting scenarios.
  3. Furthermore SAC adds strong planning and forecasting capabilities, which allows customer to add cross-domain planning scenarios based on BYD-data. Later the transfer of planning results back to the BYD System is a topic for a  future release.

BYD – SAC Integration from Technical Perspective

The current BYD – SAC Integration is designed as data acquisition scenario, which imports aggregated report results to SAC using a ODATA APIs on top of BYD Reports. This has the following advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages:

  • Summary calculations and report results can be reused in SAC
  • You can reuse BYD semantics (such as master data relations, attributes,…)
  • The replication approach allows to use the full spectrum of SAC features

Disadvantages:

  • The current ODATA API is designed to deliver summary data for reporting clients. Accordingly it has limitations, when data on business document level is needed. With this approach you therefore cannot transfer large lists of line-item data to SAC.
  • Please consider that the number of summary records transferred is limited and should not exceed 10000 records.

Please refer to the interface “ODATA API for Analytics” in the picture below:

You will  find more information on the ODATA Api with regard to set-up, meta data and limitations, when you read the following sources:

Step-by-Step Procedure to integrate BYD and SAC

In order to set-up a connection between BYD and SAC you have to do the following steps:

(Please watch the following SAC video as introduction click here)

  1. Check your ODATA Service on BYD Side and identify the relevant work center used for integration:
    • Determine the user and the work center, which you would like to use for data access
      https://<system>/sap/byd/odata => Delivers the list and tech.names of work centers for your user
    • We recommend to use a dedicated work center/view, which only includes the reports needed for replication.
      <system>/sap/byd/odata/cpm_corporateperformance_analytics.svc/$metadata
    • Check the available  reports and related  report meta data in ODATA:
      <system>/sap/byd/odata/cpm_corporateperformance_analytics.svc/$metadata
    • Check your report results within ODATA (see screen)
      https://<system>sap/byd/odata/cpm_corporateperformance_analytics.svc/$metadata?entityset=RPFINCACU04_Q0001QueryResults
  2. Create the connection to BYD on SAC side (see Picture)
    • Choose Import Data Connection -> ODATA (see screen)
    • Choose Data Source Type: SAP Business ByDesign Analytics
    • Add relevant Url  (see screen)<system>/sap/byd/odata/cpm_corporateperformance_analytics.svc
    • Add Basic Authentication for Admin User
    • ;
  3. Create SAC Model based on your Connection
    • Choose get data from app (see screen)
    • Select SAP Business ByDesign Analytics
    • Select your connection -> create a new query
    • Now you get a list of BYD reports, which are assigned to your work center.
    • Define the ODATA Query and select the desired fields (see screen);;
  4. Data Preparation within your SAC Model
    • Add relation from ID and text fields (see screen)
    • Identify Time fields and choose the time format
    • Add additional calculations to your model
    • ;
  5. Build you SAC Story

Further details can be found in the documentation of SAC here.

Recommendations – What to Consider, when you integrate BYD and SAC

It is now important to understand that the current integration is very useful under well-defined conditions. We therefore give a number of recommendations, which help you to avoid inconsistent data and performance problems:

Recommendation

Why should you care?

a) Consider the granularity of data. Avoid fine granular fields on document level.

The current integration approach transfers aggregated report data from your BYD source report to SAC repositories.  In step 3 you need to add the required fields to the  “selected data” area of your Odata query.

For example if you are only interested in purchasing information by month and product category we recommend to only add those fields to the ODATA query. Keeping your data on an aggregated level keeps the number of records minimal.

In other words it makes a huge difference, if you add fine granular fields on business document level (e.g. the purchase order ID) to “Selected Data” of your ODATA Query.  This will dramatically increase the number of records transferred to SAC, which can cause performance problems or even hit limitations.

=> Please do not transfer the data on lowest record level to SAC.
The interface is made for aggregated summary data.
A data source level integration is planned for the future.

b) Prefer custom reports, when you connect to SAC.

It is important to consider, that BYD delivers Standard reports out of the box. Key users can copy and adapt those reports, which leads to a  custom report.Standard reports can theoretically change with every release.

  • To keep your SAC models stable we recommend to built custom reports as basis for SAC integration.

  • Another reason is, that the existing ODATA Interface does not support selections and relative selects applied to BYD reports. In other words: in case you use a standard report you can only replicate the data with the default selection. If you want to introduce smart filtering and relative selections, which dynamically retrieve e.g. the sales revenue of the current month we recommend to introduce those filters as default selections in a custom report. 
  • Please be aware that the SAC delivered content is not optimal for productive use. It serves as a reference example.

c) Choose a dedicated business user/admin user for replication

The scheduling and replication of data is done with one dedicated administration user. In order to make this integration as secure as possible we suggest to assign all replication relevant reports to one dedicated work center and create one administration user, which is has limited read-access to only this work center.

On SAC side you would use this user for “basic authentication”

d) Users and Access rights for consumption

To manage the access rights on SAC side you would create dedicated users to represent each business users in BYD. Please use an Identity provider in case you need single sign on.

In case each SAC business users has different access rights, you have to setup data access in your SAC model and maintain the relevant restrictions on SAC side. (see SAC docu)

e) Please consider, which key figures you choose for replication:

As you can see in the screenshot different types of key figures are offered. Please consider:

  • Key figures such as percentages, counts or inventory value have to be reported on a well-defined level
  • Do not use key figures of type “Formatted”
  • Amounts in transaction currency must be converted into one consistent currency on SAC side.
  • Currency fields in display currency can behave in two ways:
    • If you specify a target currency in your custom report, the data will be converted into a target currency at a defined conversion date, which could be
      (e.g. today) when the data is replicated -> This is not recommended, because it will lead to a differences between you BYD Data and SAC.
    • If you alternatively do not specify a target currency the key figure behaves like an amount in transaction currency
  • Quantity fields with unit field ideally should not have multiple units

To summarize we recommend to  choose amounts in one stable home currency and quantity fields with one consistent unit.

f) Scheduling of data transfer

We recommend to schedule a daily transfer of your data. See screenshot.

You will always be able to match your aggregated data with your BYD System, when you choose the update rule “clean and replace”.  This  ensures that all changes (e.g. the change of a delivery status of a sales order) are always up-to date and considered correctly on SAC side.

Please find more information on the Update and Scheduling Model in SAC here

g) Consider data preparations to enrich the data on SAC with additional semantics

Please find a video, where the general data preparation steps are explained Video, SAC Doku

It is important to consider, that additional data preparations steps are needed.

Some of these steps are required, when the model is created and cannot be changed afterwards.

Important steps are:

  • Classify e.g. Month/Year fields as time dimensions and choose the correct time format.  Please note that in case of the  frequently used format MM/YYYY you first have to transform the data to MM.YYYY and then change the field type to time dimension.
  • Consider that “Not assigned” values in BYD are filled with “#”.
    Please replace empty values with this value to later assign the correct descriptions. (see Screen)
  • Map each ID Dimension to is corresponding text field in your SAC model. (see Screen)

 

Business Content Example for your reference

As stated before, we recommend, that you configure the BYD – SAC Integration optimized to your need.

Especially considering  that the granularity of your data will dramatically impacts the performance or your system.

For this reason the SAP delivered business content can only serve as a reference and example and is not ideal for productive use.

Please find a great example for a procurement dashboard, which illustrated the relationship of organized spending via contracts or purchase order versus maverick / unorganized spending.

You find details how to download this example from the app store in the following blog:

http://blog-sap.com/analytics/2017/09/15/new-sap-analytics-cloud-content-for-sap-business-bydesign/

Outlook

As stated before SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) can contribute a powerful analytics platform to extend analytics scenario in the cloud.

Important scenarios such as cross-system reporting, predictive and planning scenarios can make a huge difference. Nevertheless we strongly recommend to consider the recommendations for the current BYD – SAC Integration.

If we look into the future, you will come across two types of data connectivity, which make a fundamental difference, when you use SAP Analytics Cloud.

You will find live data connections for some cloud applications on the one hand and on the other hand “data acquisition models”, which import the data into SAP cloud for analytics.

Please note that at the moment, the full range of analytics capabilities, including planning, blending and data preparation can only be leveraged for data acquisition scenarios. At the same time there is already a strong real-time and built-in reporting in SAP Business ByDesign, which will contribute to intelligent automation of business processes in future.

This leads to the conclusion, that SAP ByDesign team continues to invest in a strong ODATA Interface on data source level, which helps to overcome the current limitations of the report-based and aggregated ODATA API. With this customers will be able to acquire data to a much broader extend and also use the BYD data for comprehensive cross- reporting, planning and predictive scenarios.

 

 

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