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How SAP Data Warehouse Cloud spans a semantic layer across a distributed data landscape

Decisions backed by data instill more confidence and better equip employees to tackle business challenges. Highly data-driven organizations are three times more likely to report meaningful decision-making improvements than other less data-focused organizations.

The power of data-driven decision-making has meant spending on data and analytics is predicted to reach $274.3 billion by 2022. As part of this spending, organizations have been hiring business analysts en masse to meet the growing demand for evidence-driven decisions.

Business analysts bridge the gap between IT and business. With a strong understanding of the company, they use data to drive new recommendations and provide reports to stakeholders. Building a strong relationship with IT experts is a necessary part of the job to get the data they need for analysis. However, it is in the process of requesting and then waiting for data that a self-inflicted bottleneck has arisen for many organizations. As the importance of data and the business analysts’ role continue to grow, this data bottleneck will only become more costly.

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud can relieve this bottleneck and, in doing so, speed up the entire business. It does this by empowering business analysts with demand-driven modeling and uniting disparate data sources into one robust data layer.

For example, let’s say a business analyst starts a new project that requires them to provide information on their company’s sales pipeline health. Without self-service access to data and disparate data sources, the first step is to request data from an IT specialist. Not only do these relatively simple requests prevent IT from focusing on more strategic tasks, but many organizations also face lead times of three to six weeks for the data. When the data finally arrives, the business analyst can start integrating the data from the different sources. Pipeline from the CRM system, quota/budget data from the ERP system, dimensional data like product hierarchy, and any additional data from external sources like CSV files.

At this point, they can assess whether they have the correct data and, if so, leverage it to make data-driven recommendations for the business. However, if it’s not the right data, the whole process may need to be repeated.

To speed up and simplify the process SAP Data Warehouse Cloud creates one robust high-performing data layer with complex data models that span multiple data sources. It does so by replicating or virtualizing data from disparate sources, like tables, CDS view, remote files, and OData. IT can also leverage ETL/ELT services like pipelining or data transformation to help generate this data layer. There’s also the additional flexibility to model data using either SQL or a graphical drag-and-drop tool before consuming it directly in any tool or the inbuilt SAP Analytics Cloud.

Importantly, SAP Data Warehouse Cloud does all this in a safe and controlled environment. Spaces provide an isolated and virtual environment for business analysts to model and blend global datasets with local data, like CSV files, without affecting the enterprise data’s integrity. IT gets a centralized governance environment to adjust connections, permissions, and resources like computing and storage for each Space.

The Business Layer then maps and represents the results of the data modeling – but completely hides the complexity required. Separating the Business Layer from the data also means that business terminology only needs to be defined once. If the data changes, IT just needs to point the business layer to the new data.

Empowering business analysts to model and consume data themselves has meant companies like Vestas, a world leader in wind energy, cut down its IT lead times on data requests to days rather than months. When more employees can explore data themselves without waiting, they can quickly test their hypotheses and let data spark insights. Organizations that put data in the hands of more employees – not just IT – benefit by readily harnessing a wide range of experiences that offer new perspectives on business challenges.

Does your organization struggle with long lead times or from limited data access? You sign up for a free SAP Data Warehouse Cloud trial here.

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