A Trial User’s Guide to SAP Analytics Cloud Terminology
Learning a new product can be challenging, especially when you feel like you are struggling to understand the language and terminology used. Luckily, in this guide, you can find all the answers you need from “what is a story?” to “what’s the difference between a model and a dataset?” and everything in between, so that you can navigate SAP Analytics Cloud with confidence.
Without further ado, let’s get started with the Home page:
Catalog – The Analytics Catalog is a single, easy-to-use interface where users who include it on their tenant can view all of their SAP Analytics Cloud and non-SAP Analytics Cloud content. Please note that the Catalog tab must be activated by the Administrator ahead of time before it is visible on the Home Page for end users.
Search to Insight – Search to Insight is a feature that enables users to search for quick answers to questions directly through the SAP Analytics Cloud application using natural, everyday language. Simply type what you would like to know from your data – such as “Sales Revenue for the last quarter” – into the search box, and SAP Analytics Cloud will crawl your data for the answer in seconds.
Next, if you hover over to the menu in the top left corner, you will find a drop-down comprised of several options to choose from:
Calendar – The calendar is a spot where users can create and assign tasks and processes to manage their planning and analytic activities. For a step by step introduction to the SAP Analytics Cloud calendar, check out this video and start managing your tasks smarter today.
Connection – A connection occurs when you link your on-premise or cloud data source to SAP Analytics Cloud. This is a preliminary yet crucial step in your journey towards discovering a world of new insights from your data. For your convenience, we have created a guide covering Everything You Need to Know about SAP Analytics Cloud Connections. For trial users, your connection options are a little different. Visit our Trial User’s Guide to SAP Analytics Cloud Connections to learn more.
Beyond providing access to the calendar and connectivity options, through this menu, you can also create a variety of content, from stories to datasets and more:
Story – Much like an analytics report, a Story is a space that contains all of the charts, tables, and other visualizations. Available for both BI and Planning users, Stories are an excellent tool for telling the story of your data to key stakeholders. Naturally, the visualization options for BI and Planning users vary based on each users’ respective needs. For instance, Planning users can leverage Value Driver Trees to budget, forecast, and plan for different scenarios.
Once you open your story, you will find the option to choose between two tabs:
Data Exploration View versus Story View – When you import data from a file or Google Drive, it will open in Data Manipulation view, where you can prepare your data, define dimensions, and perform operations such as sorting and filtering. Furthermore, you can switch to Data Exploration view, where you can start analyzing data and creating visualizations. After your data source is imported into your story, you can quickly create and display charts. Through the Story/Data control, you can switch to Story view where you can add an object to the canvas screen. For more information on this topic, visit our Help Portal.
You can also apply a number of tools to your charts to make them more dynamic and to help you discover more from your data:
Linked Analysis – Linked analysis is a handy feature that enables you to define relationships between charts in your story, such that changes in one chart are simultaneously reflected in others. Check out the following video to learn how to set up linked analysis in your stories today.
Smart Insight – Smart Insight is a feature that uses the power of machine learning to surface hidden patterns and trends in the data we display in our stories. Insights gathered include the identification of top contributors to specific data points and variances and natural language explanations for our most pressing questions.
More tools available within the story feature include:
Drilldown – Drilling down is the act of sequentially navigating from one chart to another with increasing granularity on a focus area of the previous chart. This term is often used in the context of analyzing data hierarchies and can more simplistically be understood as moving from summary information to more detailed data within a report.
Input Control – An input control is a filter that determines which measures or dimensions are displayed within various charts in your story. This way, the information you need can be readily accessible but not necessarily displayed at all times, enabling you to use the space on your story as efficiently as possible.
Further down in the main menu, you will also see that you can create a Digital Boardroom presentation and an Analytic Application, with the option to access external content as well:
Digital Boardroom – SAP Digital Boardroom is a presentation tool that ventures far beyond your typical story and enables executives to address ad hoc questions and interact with data insights. Here, you can select an agenda to orchestrate your meetings in a more traditional way, or you can select a dashboard to leverage a multi-touch-screen display and present and explore data with executives in real-time. Whether you are managing Levi’s Stadium for the next San Francisco 49ers game or discovering new insights with leadership, the SAP Digital Boardroom has you covered. Learn how to implement the Digital Boardroom into your company’s workflow by following our Learning Track here.
External Content– Content provided by systems that are external to enterprise workspaces.
Please note that access to external content as well as SAP Digital Boardroom is not available for trial users. Switch to the full version of SAP Analytics Cloud to experience all that these feature have to offer.
In the menu, you will also see the option to visit models and datasets:
Model – A model is a simplified, easier to digest representation of a large amount of data. In SAP Analytics Cloud, there are two types of models to choose from; analytic and planning models. Organized into dimensions and measures, models provide a framework for users to start collecting insights.
Blank Model – When we create a model, we can do so by acquiring data from a data source or importing files from our computer. We can also start from scratch by creating a blank model – which is exactly how it sounds. A blank model is like a template that grants us the opportunity to define our measures and dimensions precisely as we need them and manually input our data as we see fit.
Dataset – The ability to blend datasets is a large part of what makes SAP Analytics Cloud so agile – but exactly is a dataset? A dataset is simply a collection of data organized into rows and columns. Each row represents an entity, and each column represents a variable or feature of that entity such that users can see what’s going on more clearly.
Are you confused about the difference between a model and a dataset? We’ve got you covered. Check out this blog to learn how to differentiate between the two.
When viewing your dataset, you can benefit from a number of features to make the data cleaning, preparation, and exploration processes faster and more efficient:
Calculated Columns – A column within your dataset that can be added through the use of functions, conditions, and operators to enrich your data in the data preparation stage. To preview an example of a calculated column as well as to learn how to create one in SAP Analytics Cloud, check out the following video.
Smart Transformation – Smart Transformation is a feature that uses machine learning technology to automatically suggest appropriate tools to transform your data based on the context of select columns. Within this feature, you can choose to update values, and sort, delete, combine, or split columns to better prepare your data for enhanced visualizations.
Hierarchy – A hierarchy is a functionality where entities, concepts, objects, activities, and units are organized into an order of precedence, allowing users to establish relationships between variables and gain greater insights from our data. For examples and common use cases of the hierarchy functionality and to learn how to create your very own hierarchy in SAP Analytics Cloud, visit the following blog.
Next, you will see the option to create a process, a dimension, and a point of interest. Read on to learn about what these features entail and to explore examples and tutorials on how to incorporate each feature into your workflow!
Process – A process is a Planning feature can be thought of as a pre-packaged, sequential list of activities that must be performed to meet your business needs. Check out this example to learn how to create a data action process to copy values from one time period to another, all in one step.
Measures and Dimensions – The following article said it best! A measure is a numerical value that you can perform mathematical functions on. An example of a measure could be sales revenue or profit. A dimension, on the other hand, is qualitative and cannot be summed. Examples of dimensions include regions, employee IDs, dates, and customers’ names.
Pro Tip: Using machine learning technology, SAP Analytics Cloud automatically identifies whether a value is a measure or a dimension. However, it is always good practice to review the data to ensure the measures and dimensions are correctly identified.
Point of Interest – A point of interest is an optional layer that users can add to geo maps to visualize additional geographic details on locations that add business value for various roles in the system. For example, a container terminal can be used as a stop in a tour, or a bridge can be used as a source of incident occurrence. Learn how to create a point of interest based on an Esri Shapefile, an existing model, or a local file to further enrich your geo maps and discover new insights.
Finally, just below point of interest, you will see that you can also create a predictive scenario:
Predictive Scenario – A predictive scenario is a method of answering business questions that require predictions into the future. A predictive scenario is implemented in two ways in SAP Analytics Cloud applications. In Smart Predict, it is a workspace where a user creates and compares predictive models to find the best one to solve the business question.
Now that you are an expert on commonly used SAP Analytics Cloud terminology, you are well-equipped to commence your journey towards making data-driven decisions with confidence and take your business to the next level.