From Operational to Analytical Reporting – The Value
“The solution is now on track. Initially there were quite a few problems but now they have reduced to greater extent. It is now more usable and helping business. The little issues, they have, are being handled by your team nicely”.
Stable System – Positive Feedback
It was really encouraging and refreshing to have such a positive feedback from one of the Executives whom I had heard differently, in my earlier meetings with him. It was a sign of system stability and a good reason for me to be happy, as a Change Manager, that the CRM solution was well accepted at another organizational level as well.
From time to time, I seek feedback on the SAP based solutions being used by various business units and the technical support being provided by my fellow SAP Consultants, to check if the solutions & services provided to business are still relevant and to find & communicate gaps, if any, to the concerned teams to get these fixed.
Solutions with Add-on
The feedback mentioned above was part of such activity. The positive response intrigued me to get to know the behind-scene reasons of the changed response. I learned an interesting thing that while the individual tools do help some people in doing their day-to-day jobs better there are few others who need some add-ons to see the value on offer. In our scenario, the CRM was working great but needed few analytical reports to be perceived good by few higher-ups.
Capabilities of the Add-on (BI/BW), according to an expert
I also started to have additional feedback on BI/BW reports, developed to support CRM process, and to receive good response on majority of the reports, I myself was convinced of the value addition offered by SAP’s Business Intelligence. I, therefore, interviewed my colleague – Mr. Waqar Saeed, who is supporting business with its analytical reporting needs, to describe his experience so it could serve as a reference for the customers evaluating the tool’s capabilities.
1. Before explaining the strengths of the SAP BW to potential readers, may I ask you to briefly tell your experience with the tool?
I’m working in SAP domain for over a decade now. My professional experience and learning was more of a progressive nature; I started with BW version 3.0 and got chance to explore number of the features introduced in different versions & releases up to 7.4 (Powered by HANA).
2. In your opinion, how SAP BI and BW could support customers in running their businesses better?
I would quote an example from my past experience to illustrate the point. I worked with an organization operating in FMCG sector which needed different types of reports, with regular frequency, to analyze sales (and other aspects of their daily business) and a decision support system – providing them the ability to see important aspects, to help them plan the required actions. I supported the business in implementing and operating various Ad Hoc reports through WEBI, BO Dashboard (current preferred tool for dashboard is SAP Lumira), Crystal Reports as well as sales planning and consolidation in BPC.
With such reporting capabilities available, the business transactions are smoothly running up until now. So any business looking for a comprehensive reporting tool, SAP BI is an answer.
3. How you differentiate the inbuilt reports in individual applications across SAP Solution Portfolio with BI/BW?
The components specific reports serve daily operations which SAP end-users use to monitor transactions. However, when it comes to BI reporting it’s more about analytical needs of businesses where trends have to be known for better planning of the future course of action.
At different levels of organizational hierarchy, different set of reporting is required; when it comes to the standard reports in individual applications, they mainly help the function at lower side of the hierarchy while the BI reports support decision-makers to use descriptive results for predictive analysis. Let’s say you have to analyze last 5 years of sales trend. You can’t do it in ECC as it’ll certainly impact system performance. However, when it comes to BI, it can aggregate the data into mini cubes (or Aggregates) which means you could have data of each year which you don’t need to search in entire Cube.
4. Do you have any suggestions on implementing the BI, BW and using it effectively?
Using the standard BI contents are of great benefit where you have model cubes, reports and dashboards available. Of course, you have to adjust them according to your needs but using them as templates is the best approach in my opinion. Additionally, having internal capability without having complete reliance on the consulting partner may help customers greatly in taking advantage of the tool the best.
5. Recently you delivered number of reports to our CRM and SRM system users across the hierarchy. As of the feedback I collected, they were well-received. Was there any particular reason?
Both the CRM and SRM solutions are incomplete without BI. Since the reports and dashboards I (and my team) developed have provided business a complete picture of the sales and procurement functions, they can see the benefits of corresponding applications clearly. I can quote an example of “procure to pay” for our procurement department, where end users can view the complete procurement lifecycle (Shopping carts, PO, Goods Receipts and payments) under one umbrella.
My key learning from the customer’s feedback and consultant’s interview was that the BI/BW help customers in transforming the business data, residing in other SAP / non-SAP applications, into meaningful information, which is a key for accurate decision-making. With BI/BW, the value created through individual technical solutions could be enhanced.