Its mid afternoon and you’ve just gotten an email, asking how X affects sales by region, the answer is needed by the end of the day and your data source looks like:
This is a common problem that analysts and data scientists face. The data that they need to use is there, but they can’t use it as they need it right away. It needs to be munged and wrangled first, and under time pressure. I recently came across a twitter thread, where the participants were using all of the usual suspects among the analytics tools on the market; and this pain point was acute. There is a hole in the Analytics content creators’ task space.
We recognized the problem and the SAP Analytics Cloud development team has been working on a solution. Next month, SAP Analytics Cloud customers will start seeing something new in their preview tenants, something which will also show up on quarterly release tenants in late summer. What they will see is a top to bottom overhaul of data wrangling and dataset management; a new experience for handling acquired data. Our goal is for data analysts to be able act quickly, confidently and iteratively.
Gone are the days of having to build a model, before you can even get to the tasks of analyzing and telling a story. If you don’t need the features of a full, structure-first model, then you can skip creating one. To accomplish this, we’ve promoted datasets to the level of first-class citizen, alongside models. You might know datasets as something that let you upload an immutable table, set in stone. It was easy to work with, but of limited value. Now, datasets can be modified and updated, so you can use them as a lightweight alternative to models.
Also gone are the days of having to leap, before looking. You’ve probably wrangled some data and started building a story. You notice that you needed to tweak your wrangling, only to find that you can’t change your wrangling and have to start over. We know this, because you’ve told us! With the new workflow, you’ll be able to toggle back and forth between storytelling and wrangling, tweaking your wrangling as needed.
You’ve also told us that you needed more power, when it comes to wringing more out of the data that was already there. We’ve introduced a new expression editor, for building complex, custom transformations. It includes operators for all of the typical string, number, date, and geo manipulation operations that you’d expect, so that you can do complex, programmatic transformations on your data.
Some customers have already been using this workflow, in a closed beta. We’re exited to finally be able to release it to the full customer base! When it lands on your tenant, be it a preview tenant with wave 2020.12, or on a production tenant, with 2020.Q3, take it for a spin! We think you’ll like what you see! And by all means, let us know what you think!