Context dependent Data Actions in SAP Analytics Cloud
“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.
I am more interested about knowing data action triggers based on input filters.
Is this feature available at normal planning story level?
As long as parameters are set in the data action, you can have these filters set-up in the story and linked in the data action trigger settings.
thanks Nick for this very interesting blog. Is there a SAC version requirement for this functionality ?
I have a couple of data action with parameters but I cannot find in story the different value type we see on your screenshot (Member selection, story filter, input control)
This is a wave 6 functionality.
thanks Nick. I have 2021.5.1version that is certtainly the reason why I didnt find anything
Thank you for pointing this out! I missed this in my excitement
you are welcome. I was excited as well to test this new nice functionality !!!
Great to pre-populate the parameters!
Still hoping to automate this some day, and being able to remove those (re-)calculate buttons from stories.
Agreed, be sure to be on the look-out for the coming so-called multi-actions functionality, more things to come!
Found it 🙂
Looks very promising as it seems to hint for triggers upon data-acquisition (import jobs).
But from the description, unsure if this will this allow automatic calculations after data entry.
Really useful giving the users the ability to have further control over the data action execution.
Will the functionality allow us to run a data action on multiple versions?
I was waiting for this update but I saw a serious defect with this. It can't read From/To values from range type Story/Page filters and can work with 'Fixed' value type filters only. I restricted my page filter with Current Month and wanted the Data Action parameter to read from that. Since SAC creates Current/Previous months etc in a Range mode, Data Action parameters can't read from those although those are single values. Any idea how to overcome this as it's a very basic requirement to be able to pass on single values like Current or Past month to Data Action parameters.