Analytics with SAP (continued) | SAP HANA 2.0 – An Introduction
SAP Analytics Cloud
In this blog series you will find quotes, backgrounds, suggested further readings and other information related to my latest book SAP HANA 2.0, An Introduction published by SAP Press.
As the goal of the book is to provide an introduction, we could not spend as much time and pages on each and every topic as we wished at times. Although SAP HANA modeling and SAP HANA advanced analytics topics are extensively covered (see the “quotes” blogs about Development and Advanced Analytics), an overall discussion of reporting and analysis, business intelligence, data mining, and analytics with SAP was omitted. In this blog, I will cover these topics in a bit more detail and include references where to find more information. As the topic is rather broad, we will do it in two parts. This is part 2 about the cloud-based services. Part one is about the products (on-premise).
Once Upon a Time: BI OnDemand
In the previous blog (Part 1 – Business Intelligence Suites) we looked at the portfolio for on-premise products and mentioned the homegrown SAP Business Explorer Business Intelligence Suite (a.k.a. BEx), acquired BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Suite and KXEN Infinite Insights integrated into SAP Lumira and related SAP Predictive Analytics.
Similarly, SAP’s Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) portfolio for on-premise products also lists as a combination of home-brew and acquired products and technologies (included but not limited to):
- SEM BPS (Strategic Enterprise Management Business Planning and Simulation)
- BW IP (Integrated Planning)
- PCM (Profitability and Cost Management – Business Objects acquires ALG, 2006)
- FC (Financial Consolidation – Business Objects acquires Cartesis, 2007)
- BPC (Business Planning and Consolidation – SAP acquires OutlookSoft, 2007)
- SSM (Strategy Management – SAP acquires PilotSoft, 2007)
EPM (or Corporate Performance Management) is closely related to both business intelligence and planning and after the BusinessObjects acquisition it took some time to sort the portfolio.
SAP Lumira Cloud (2013) was part of the SAP Lumira family that sprouted from SAP Visual Intelligence (2012). This SaaS offering was developed in parallel to SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand launched in 2010 (www.ondemand.com) with SAP BusinessObjects Explorer and XCelsius provided as-a-service. Both services were discontinued in favour of Analytics Cloud.
Ramping Up: Cloud Financial Planning and Analysis
The story starts with SAP Cloud for Planning. The service was announced in 2015 by Ivo Bauermann as a new generation of Financial Planning and Analysis (FPA) tools for the cloud, quoting then Head of Engineering Gerrit Kazmaier:
Few would have thought SAP could make such a dramatic leap in design and user-oriented software. We are walking the talk, doing things simpler. And we deal with the complexity that is inherent to the business in a smart way.
SAP Cloud for Analytics, its successor, was released a mere six months later at SAP TechEd 2015 merging functionalities to deliver planning, predictive, and business intelligence capabilities in one analytics experience (SAP News: SAP Redefines Analytics in the Cloud).
In 2016, the product was rebranded to SAP BusinessObjects Cloud (SAP News: SAP BusinessObjects Portfolio Delivers Modern Analytics for the Digital Enterprise) followed by another name change the year after to SAP Analytics Cloud (SAP News: Organizations Transform Their Digital Future with Analytic Innovations from SAP at SAPPHIRE NOW).
Over the years, the service has evolved considerably of course although the premise remained the same: combining business intelligence, planning, with (predictive) analytics. More recently, augmented analytics have been introduced which industry analyst Gartner defines as
the use of enabling technologies such as machine learning and AI to assist with data preparation, insight generation and insight explanation to augment how people explore and analyze data in analytics and BI platforms. It also augments the expert and citizen data scientists by automating many aspects of data science, machine learning, and AI model development, management and deployment.
Gartner positioned SAP as a visionary in the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud FP&A.
Figure from blog post: Real Time Social Media Analysis in SAP Analytics Cloud by Mina Teodosic.
SAP Analytics Cloud: Plans and Roadmap
For a comprehensive overview of current capabilities, recent innovations scheduled for release, and planned future directions, see
SAP Analytics Cloud bundles the following products (as listed on sapanalytics.cloud).
- Business Intelligence and Augmented Analytics: Search to Insight, Smart Insights, Smart Discovery, Predictive Forecasting, and Smart Predict
- Enterprise Planning
- Digital Boardroom – board portal for real-time business intelligence and ad-hoc analysis
- Analytics Platform
Data Value Chain
We also find SAP Analytics Cloud listed as one of the SAP HANA Cloud Services, announced at SAPPHIRE 2019 together with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP HANA Cloud. We could also imagine these services as stacked with HANA for the data, DWC in the middle for the semantics, and SAC on top for analytics.
SAP Analytics Cloud capabilities are built on SAP Cloud Platform and powered by the in-memory technology of SAP HANA. For the solution brief, analyst reports, and customer testimonials, see the product page on SAP.com
SAP Analytics Cloud Embedded Edition
At SAP TechEd 2019, CTO Jürgen Müller demonstrated SAP Analytics Cloud embedded into SAP S/4HANA Cloud for analytics. This is work in progress for the other Line-of-Business (LoB) solutions with the last announcement (February 4, 2020) for SAP Cloud Platform.
For more information on this topic, see the blog posts:
- Integrated Analytics: SAP Analytics Cloud now embedded in SAP S/4HANA Cloud by Rolf Sieberg
- Why Embedded Analytics are the Future by Erica LAILHACAR
For the specifics about the SAP Analytics Cloud Embedded Edition for SAP LOB solutions, see:
- SAP Analytics Cloud Enterprise and Embedded Strategy for SAP Cloud Platform by Aaron Graber
- S/4HANA and SAP Analytics Cloud by Kevin McConnell
- C/4HANA and SAP Analytics Cloud by Kevin McConnell
- Concur, Ariba, Fieldglass and SAP Analytics Cloud by Terry Penner
Illustration from Embedded Analytics powered by SAP Analytics Cloud in SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1911 by Katharina Doerr.
A good place to start to learn about SAP Analytics Cloud is the Learning Journey mapped out on the SAP Help Portal. The journey starts with two openSAP courses and the guided playlists and video tutorials found on the SAP Analytics Training YouTube channel, all freely available (see below).
The next level lists the correspoonding SAP Training courses These require a SAP Learning Hub subscription for online viewing.
If you are interested to start this journey, go to
- SAP Analytics Cloud Learning Journey
To advance your career you can get certified as SAP Certified Application Associate – SAP Analytics Cloud. The certification is included in the learning journey and, here is the good news, only requires a single course
The exam course page lists the exam topics, which include story design, administration, connections and integration, data preparation among the bigger topics. For more information, visit
For the Credly badge, see
Watch the Tutorials
Last year, openSAP published two excellent courses about SAP Analytics Cloud. Takes about 10 hours to complete. The first one is geared more towards those with a functional profile, the second one more to the technical consultant.
- Intelligent Decisions with SAP Analytics Cloud (July, 2019) by Harjeet Judge, a.o
- SAP Analytics Cloud – Authentication and Data Connectivity (August, 2019)
On the SAP Analytics Cloud website, there is a separate section on Learning with a Welcome Guide, Guided playlists, blogs, and webinars.
The guided playlists are similar to the learning journeys and enable you to follow a recommended sequence of steps and track your progress. The contents points to the documentation, blogs on the community, and YouTube tutorials.
Video Tutorials on the SAP Help Portal
The documentation for SAP Analytics Cloud is hosted from the usual location, the SAP Help Portal. Both the portal and the guide include many video tutorials, hosted on YouTube.
Should you prefer the YouTube channel format, all the videos listed in the documentation and the guided playlist are sourced from YouTube. There are two playlists:
- youtube.com/SAPAnalyticsTraining – training tutorials
- youtube.com/SAPBusinessObjects – SAP Analytics marketing
Read the Book
For those that prefer to do some fireside reading, we can recommend:
There are other books on the market about SAP Analytics Cloud, like Learning SAP Analytics Cloud by Riaz Ahmed from Packt (O’Reilly). Most titles were published two or more years ago and with the product evolving quickly, you may find the contents of the book no longer to correspond very closely.
SAP HANA 2.0 – An Introduction
Just getting started with SAP HANA? Or do have a migration to SAP HANA 2.0 coming up? Need a quick update covering business benefits and technology overview. Understand the role of the system administrator, developer, data integrator, security officer, data scientist, data modeler, project manager, and other SAP HANA stakeholders? My latest book about SAP HANA 2.0 covers everything you need to know.
Get it from SAP Press or Amazon:
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