Analyse your data live with SAP Analytics Cloud on SAP BW on HANA & SAP BW/4HANA (Part 1)
Blog series content:
Part 4: In progress!
Let’s start with Part 1:
This is Part 1 of a few blogs, where I would like to share my personal SAC highlights with the SAC community. We will start with a few basics and then I will dig directly into one of the greatest features of SAC – the Live Access to SAP BW/4HANA and SAP BW on HANA: no data replication, no data duplication, no data extraction – just live access 😊.
SAP Analytics Cloud is one simple cloud solution connecting your people, information, and ideas to enable fast and confident decision making.
Machine learning technology and embedded artificial intelligence help you to discover deep insights, simplify access to critical information, and empower informed decision making for all.
It is shipped with many great features customers love. One of those features is the “live access” to SAP systems (e.g. SAP HANA, SAP BW/4HANA, SAP S/4HANA).
Besides the live access to SAP applications, SAP Analytics Cloud supports more possibilities to connect to your data.
There are many blogs available regarding the live connection from SAP Analytics Cloud to e.g. SAP BW on HANA or SAP BW/4HANA. I would like to show you how this live access works by providing a few examples build with SAP Analytics Cloud.
Let’s focus on the live access to SAP BW in this blog post. As mentioned in the SAP Analytics Cloud help or other SAP Blog Posts, the internet browser connects directly with the SAP BW system behind the corporate firewall and no data is moved into the cloud.
One of the main reasons customers select SAP Analytics Cloud on SAP BW is the fact, that they can consume 1:1 the SAP BW queries with all their elements (e.g. structures, hierarchies, variables, variants, global key figures) including the underlying authorizations & roles. There is no need to change the SAP BW queries for special reporting purposes as we can leave them as is. This helps IT & Business Departments to consume all existing SAP BW content without changes – no data extraction, no data silos, just plug & play.
First of all you need to have a SAP BW query with all relevant key figures (measures) and characteristics (dimensions). After setting up the live connection from SAP Analytics Cloud to SAP BW, all SAP BW queries can be accessed “directly” and a “live model“can be created in SAP Analytics Cloud based on a specific SAP BW query. This model can be used to build stories with nice visualizations. To run the dashboard and to access the data you need of course the authorization for SAP BW (user and password plus underlying roles in BW). As already mentioned this works plug & play.
The following video shows the mentioned stages when connecting live to a SAP BW Query with SAP Analytics Cloud.
Now let’s see some nice examples build with SAP Analytics Cloud on SAP BW/4HANA.
SAP Analytics Cloud allows to enable the “Linked Analysis” between different widgets used in your story. Linked analysis is one way you and your team can dynamically interact with your data. This feature enables you to create relationships between charts within a story so that when you filter or in drill down one chart, it causes actions to occur in one or more other related charts (more details here: https://www.sapanalytics.cloud/resources-linked-analysis/).
This works with live data sources as well. The following video shows how this works with a live model in SAP Analytics Cloud based on a SAP BW Query.
SAP BW queries can contain variables. Variables are parameters of a query which has been created during the query design process and are filled with values when you execute the query. They serve as placeholders for characteristic values, hierarchies, hierarchy nodes, texts and formula elements. They can be processed in various ways and SAP Analytics Cloud can deal with them. Plus we go a step further – as we support variants.
You can save a variant for a BW query (e.g. Analysis Office) after you have filled the variable popup with values according to your requirements. A query variant is a query for which variable values have already been selected. And SAP Analytics Cloud can deal with those variants. This means that when you next open and display your SAP Analytics Cloud story in the browser, you can call the variant for the query. The following video shows this process.
If you worked with SAP Analytics Cloud already, you know that end users can create their own calculations (e.g. calculated measures) in a story. But it is also possible to create dynamic calculations within a table based on a live model with data from SAP BW. The following video shows how easy this dynamic calculations can be created.
Another great feature is the possibility to use the Explorer mode. You can grant access to the Explorer feature to users with view-only access. You can customize the information viewers can dig into without requiring editing privileges to your story. The following video shows how this look like if you want to open the Explorer from a widget which is located in your SAP Analytics Cloud story.
Nearly all businesses use hierarchies to classify their products, services, and even their organization. SAP BW users love to work with the hierarchies they know from SAP BW. And exactly here SAP Analytics Cloud brings value to those end users as it is possible to select and activate any hierarchy which belongs to a specific characteristic (dimension). Even if a BW hierarchy is activated in a BW query, SAP Analytics Cloud will simply show & use it within a table. The following video simply shows an easy example using a time hierarchy during story creation. In charts you can drill up and down and in tables you can open and close the hierarchy nodes. It’s simple!
Use dimension and measure input controls for full end user flexibility in SAP Analytics Cloud. See in the following video how easy it is to exchange dimensions and measures coming from a SAP Analytics Cloud live model based on a SAP BW query.
Time series forecasting allows you make confident decisions on time series data by predicting future values based on the historical values. Time series data is data that contains a value over time, for instance revenue by month or call volume by week. In SAP Analytics Cloud you can easily create a Time Series Forecasting based on your live SAP BW data! The following video shows an easy example how this look like.
You may have seen the R visualization icon in your SAP Analytics Cloud story and wondered what it does, or how it works. For those who don’t know, R is a programming language that is used for data analysis, and it can be integrated with SAP Analytics Cloud to tell richer and more robust stories (for more details please read the following article https://www.sapanalytics.cloud/resources-using-r-visualizations/). And you know what – this works also live with your SAP BW data. Besides Custom Widgets for the Analytics Designer, the R visualizations opens the door for many great visualizations in your SAP Analytics Cloud stories. The following video shows gauge s created with the Plotly library where the R script is linked to a SAP Analytics Cloud live model.
The Data Analyzer provides Ad Hoc Query Analysis for BW Queries with SAP Analytics Cloud (for more details please read the following blog: https://blogs.sap.com/2019/09/04/data-analyzer-ad-hoc-query-analysis-for-bw-queries-with-sap-analytics-cloud/ ). The Data Analyzer is basically a ready-to-run option, which allows your end users to analyze BW queries on the fly. Please check the SAP Analytics Cloud roadmap if you are interested what’s planned in the future with the Data Analyzer. The following video shows how the Data Analyzer is opened via a hyperlink.
Structures are objects that you define in the BW Query design environment. A structure forms the basic framework of the axes in a table (rows or columns). It consists of structural components. We differentiate between key figure structures and characteristic structures. Structural components of key figure structures are always based on the key figure selections (basic key figures, restricted key figures, and calculated key figures). Characteristic structural components cannot contain key figure selections. The setup of the structure determines the sequence and number of key figures or characteristic values in the columns and rows of the query. You can navigate through the structures in the executed query and set filters for them. If you are using two structures (for example, a key figure structure in the columns and a characteristic structure in the rows), a table with fixed cell definitions is created.
And exactly here SAP Analytics Cloud shows its powerful capabilities, as its able to read and work with BW Queries using two structures easily. This shows how tight our integration between SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP BW works and in the following video you can see how easy it works. The video shows a BW query with a key figure structure in the columns and a characteristic structure in the rows. In addition the members of the characteristic structure are ordered in a folder/hierarchy structure which can be easily created via drag & drop during the query design. Let’s see how this works in the following video.
SAP Analytics Cloud allows data blending (for details please check the following blog: https://blogs.sap.com/2019/11/05/sap-analytics-cloud-blending-information-part-1/) . In the next video you will see two tables in a SAP Analytics Cloud story. Each of the tables has a live data model based on a SAP BW query. The first query has “no” budget data, while the second query has “only” budget data. In SAC you can blend those two models directly in the story. Let’s see how this works.
These were only a few examples and there are of course many more possibilities with SAP Analytics Cloud on SAP BW on HANA or SAP BW/4HANA. To learn more, please have a look into our strong roadmap and check our SAP Analytics Cloud product page under https://www.sapanalytics.cloud/ for more information’s & details.
As mentioned in the introduction, I plan a few SAC blogs. This one was the first.
Part 4: In progress!