“Context is everything” is a sentence often heard and rather fitting in many scenarios. For example: would you think a government lockdown is acceptable? In 2019 you might not, in the current context of COVID-19 you might think otherwise. Whatever your stance on this and many other topics, your answer will be dependent on the context in which it is given.
In relation to planning operations many of them will also be context dependent. Bringing us to the topic of my blog: Context dependent Data Actions which are now available in the preview release of SAP Analytics Cloud. This allows the user to run business logic on the slice of the planning model that they are currently focusing on, i.e. In context.
The new context sensitivity is actually building on pre-existing functionality in SAP Analytics Cloud called parameters. Using parameters one could already provide context to a data action. More information on the topic of using parameters can be found here.
What is new is that these parameters can now also be read directly from story- and page-filters, thus the context of the Story which the user is in at that point in time, let’s take a look at a simple example.
We’ll be looking at a wholesale company selling to two types of customers: Supermarkets and Restaurants. In their planning process they have one planner looking at price and discounts independent of customer group. Subsequently for order intake planning they will be taking customer group into account and derive based on the prior planned prices and discounts the total expected sales value.
In our first step our planner decides to run a small price increase year over year following inflation but has a different discount percentage based on the context being in a lockdown or not. Providing significantly higher discounts in the lockdown situation.
In the subsequent planning step Order intake values are planned by customer group, where page filters for Customer Group and Date can help planners zoom in on their desired context.
The two Data Actions below will calculate the Sales Value on either the regular discount, or the defined lockdown discount level.
Our planner first runs the regular discount data action to come to the preliminary Sales value. The context in this case is the complete picture as can be seen in the member selector pop-up based on set filters.
Our planner however feels that given the lockdown will most probably endure for the Restaurant business in 2021, it would be best to apply the lockdown discount in 2021 for the Restaurant business. Therefore, the filter is set to Restaurant and 2021 and the Lockdown data action will be triggered. Context for the data action is now limited to the settings of the page filters as can be seen in the member selector pop-up.
Zooming out again using page filters again shows the full picture after applying the data actions in their respective contexts.
How to setup
Within the data actions two parameters are defined as explained before. The new functionality is that the entry of these parameters can be done using page- and story-filters. This can be setup in the data action trigger in the story like below.
The benefits are twofold in my mind, from a business point of view you provide the end-user with a logical selection for the data action in context of their current view. On top of that you are increasing overall performance by limiting the scope of the data action to where it is relevant.