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Author's profile photo Brittany Kilpatrick

The Perfect Match: Finance Meets Enterprise Data Warehousing and Analytics

Nowadays, businesses are truly swimming in a sea of data—and it’s becoming more apparent than ever that finance and supply chain data makes up a large part of that ocean. With billions of financial transactions occurring daily—from customer transactions to company expenses—businesses are storing new and valuable data at exponential rates.

To make things complicated, this copious amount of financial data is often coming from a wide range of data sources, solutions, and departments, creating data siloes across the organization. More and more, finance teams are struggling to stay afloat as they face the following challenges:

  • Lack of scalability
  • Need for fact-based decision-making
  • Limited self-service usage across your organization
  • High latency to provide your business users with timely access to data.

As a business, you need to have a robust platform that not only organizes your data but also enables you to extract meaning and insights from your information so you can make timely decisions. And in times of uncertainty, you will quickly learn just how critical having that system is.


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How Does Your Finance Team Not Only Stay Afloat but Move Forward at Full Speed Ahead?

For some, the sudden change threw them overboard. Those that struggled could only focus on one thing: trying to keep their head above water—trying their best at not drowning in their vast amount of data. Without having the right tools and resources to navigate the ocean, they could only focus on doing things like treading water or trying to climb back into the boat.

Yet there were many businesses that didn’t just adapt to the changes, they thrived in a year of instability. Organizations that thrived were able to get back into their boat. They dried themselves off and were able to look around and get their bearings. These companies had the tools and technology to look ahead, chart a course forward, and predict future outcomes. They had the foundation and the roadmap to raise their sails and move forward.

So, what is the very foundation that helps your company move forward, through its infinite sea of data, rather than barely stay afloat?

The answer is an enterprise data warehousing and analytics strategy.


What is Enterprise Data Warehousing and Analytics Strategy?

Enterprise data warehousing and analytics strategy has many names – you might know it as “big data analytics,” “enterprise data warehousing,” “Enterprise Analytics,” “enterprise data and analytics,” “end-to-end data solution” or “cross-enterprise solution.” However you want to call it, an enterprise data warehousing and analytics strategy is a means of providing organizations with the ability to consolidate, blend, model analyze, and process analytical data in all or most functions of the business.

Businesses generate a vast amount of data, every day—from their customers and employees, in various forms and from multiple sources. For any business, collecting and managing all that data from across several departments is a tremendous task.

This approach helps you understand everything you need to know about your organization–your teams, your customers, your lines of business; how your bottom line is doing, how you’re projected to do in the new quarter, and predicting trends for the year. Simply put, it’s a way to get a complete picture of your entire organization.

So, where does finance come in?


Want to learn what Enterpris Analytics can do for your business?

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Finance and the Role of Enterprise Data Warehousing and Analytics

As part of a finance team, you work to deliver accurate and trusted financial results and operational metrics, making you the ideal internal champions to enable governed data and analytics strategies that extend planning and reporting capabilities beyond finance into sales, marketing, operations, and HR.

However, due to fragmented lines of business solutions, you will often find that your financial planning and analysis teams struggle to integrate financial operational plans as a result of increased data silos and multiple versions of “truth.” This greatly hinders confident decision-making not only within finance but across the entire organization.

Having the ability to deliver timely, accurate financial insights to decision-makers can help your finance teams to take the right steps to become the go-to business partner for strategic, financial, and operational decision support. To achieve this, finance requires a holistic approach or a unified strategy that connects your people, data, and ideas from multiple sources.

This is where an enterprise data warehousing and analytics strategy can help. Adopting this type of strategy breaks down organizational and data siloes and brings your financial, operational, and transactional data together for an integrated and unified view of the business. An enterprise data warehousing and analytics strategy helps you, as a Finance team, lead the company towards data-driven decision-making.


An End-to-end Enterprise Data Warehousing and Analytics Strategy Enables Finance to:

  • Combine company-wide data to get a deeper insight into your organization’s financial status
  • Acquire up-to-date information to aid decision-making purposes
  • Uncover in-depth insight to improve cash flow, profitability, and business value
  • Discover correlations and forecast future trends/performance—such as what a customer might buy or how long an employee’s tenure might be


Discover how Quadpack adopted SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud to elevate their finance analytics

Read their story


Benefits of an Enterprise Data Warehousing and Analytics Strategy for Finance

In today’s business climate, effectively managing and harnessing your financial data is crucial in helping companies predict and plan for the future—so your organization can be proactive in improving its profitability, cash flow, and business value.

Here are the benefits of integrating an enterprise data warehousing and analytics strategy for your finance teams:

  • Everyone is on the same page with integrated connectivity between lines of business solutions throughout the whole organization. Gain a 360-degree view of your financial data, so you can make holistic decisions for your business’ needs. This also breaks down silos by integrating previously disconnected information.
  • Gain financial agility with self-service data management and analytics technology in the Cloud. The right data and analytics environment will minimize unnecessary planning cycles and speed up time to insights to create more opportunities for the organization.
  • Enable company-wide planning and encourage collaboration with data management and analysis capabilities. Align priorities and opportunities across the enterprise with a trusted, single source of truth.

What to Look for in Your Enterprise Data Warehousing and Analytics Solutions

Trying to figure out what enterprise data warehousing and analytics solutions will work best for your finance and supply chain teams? Here are some things you should look for:

1. Easily integrates with different solutions and data sources

The enterprise data warehousing and analytics solutions you choose should not only seamlessly work together to provide one source of truth but should also easily integrate with your finance and other lines of business solutions.

For example, at SAP, we have tight integration between our enterprise data and analytics solutions: SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud. For your enterprise data management needs, SAP Data Warehouse Cloud extracts, replicates, or virtualizes data to create one robust high-performing data layer with complex data models that span multiple data sources—including SAP S/4HANA, SAP SuccessFactors, and other SAP and third-party data sources. With central access to all financial and industry data, your organization has one source of truth that offers simple analysis and reporting with SAP Analytics Cloud.

Then, to further analyze and pull insights from your data, you can leverage SAP Analytics Cloud to tell the real story behind your finance data, so you can:

  • Understand their top and bottom-line performance
  • Forecast future outcomes
  • Identify key trends
  • Lead strategic decision-making

When a separate tenant is purchased, SAP Analytics Cloud is integrated seamlessly into SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. Switching back and forth between applications is done at the press of a button. This way, you can take your SAP Data Warehouse Cloud models and effortlessly generate SAP Analytic Cloud Stories before sharing them with colleagues.

2. Connects live to all your data sources

Live integration with other platforms is going to be a game-changer for you and your team. A live integration means that any changes in your data will automatically be reflected in your enterprise data model as well as your enterprise analytics dashboard, giving you the latest insights at all times. Users should also have the option of connecting their data sources to their solution. This makes it simple to create models and dashboards that show accurate and relevant company financial data in one place.

3. Ready-to-use templates

For beginners who aren’t sure where to start with transforming their planning data into models, reports, and visualizations, or even more advanced users that don’t want to start from scratch, having ready-made templates undoubtedly comes in handy.

For instance, at SAP, both our SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud solutions have vast content networks. These networks include pre-built model and data flow documentation, end-to-end dashboard templates, and financial reporting templates, all tailor-made for your various finance and supply chain scenarios.


Want to learn more about our Finance Business Content?

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4. Increased collaboration

It can’t be said enough: collaboration is key to any successful team–and business! The right enterprise data warehousing and analytics solution should increase collaboration across Finance and other teams.

For example, in SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, the feature “Spaces” provides your team a virtual workspace to work with other users to model and blend global datasets with local data for data modeling data integration and story dashboard building.

Meanwhile, SAP Analytics Cloud provides tools for collaboration during the data consumption phase—with features that allow you to ask colleagues about specific data points, assign tasks to teammates, and share private versions of the data to get input from key stakeholders. Having powerful collaboration tools make all the difference.

5. Predictive and Smart Features

Predictive features allow you to simulate and identify or analyze future trends using your existing finance data by connecting to your relevant data sources. When looking for your solution, make sure you have basic capabilities, such as automated forecasting, or more advanced features like predicting future outcomes to identify the probability of specific scenarios. Additionally, you can gain quick insights via natural language processing to easily ask questions and surface immediate results.

How an Enterprise Data Warehousing and Analytics Strategy Looks at SAP

Data is ubiquitous. As discussed earlier, data sources, types, and volumes continue to increase as the drive to digitalization becomes more urgent in today’s climate. Businesses need a single insight layer across all their data sources and applications to thrive rather than just survive. SAP Business Technology Platform is our intelligent enterprise strategy that does just that.

SAP Business Technology Platform centers around empowering businesses on their intelligent enterprise journey through integration, extension, and data-to-value from all SAP and third-party application and data assets—combining SAP’s market-leading data management (SAP HANA Cloud), data warehousing (SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP Data Intelligence), and analytics (SAP Analytics Cloud) capabilities as well as embedded intelligent technologies. When paired together, your business can unlock the maximum value of your data.


It’s Time to Break Free from Your Anchor and Embark on Your Intelligent Enterprise Voyage

It’s often said that data is the backbone of today’s business. But data does not provide value until rationalized and harmonized to provide insight. Data is only half of the story. To get the full story, and make informed decisions, your business needs a way to easily, quickly, and comprehensively navigate and extract meaning from your vast sea of data. You need to be able to anticipate future scenarios and propel forward, with full speed ahead.

And that’s what an enterprise data warehousing and analytics strategy is. It’s the backbone for your business. This strategy acts as the foundation and fuel that simultaneously unifies and powers finance to ensure unrivalled agility and speed.

A holistic approach ensures all teams are set up for success and feel empowered. Learn more about what it takes to implement a comprehensive strategy in The Ultimate Guide to Enterprise Analytics.

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