At SAPPHIRE NOW, SAP CEO Christian Klein spoke of digital transformation as not simply a change in technology. It is not change for the sake of change. Digital transformation needs to include business process transformation, because digitizing broken processes simply creates broken digitized processes.
The transformative powers of SAP Analytics are driving its adoption, and this adoption has led many organizations to examine their analytics needs and look for ways to meet them more effectively and more completely through SAP Analytics.
The Importance of Non-SAP Data Sources in Analytics
As companies work through their transitions from traditional BI to SAP Analytics Cloud, they realize there are many data sources they need to include for a more complete analytics deployment – an analytics deployment which will support their evolving business processes. The enterprise data they wish to include may reside in many non-SAP data sources, so they have decisions to make about how to make their analytics transformation possible. Recent polling shows:
- 94% of organizations require access to multiple data sources to support decision making.
- Fully half of organizations surveyed use 5 or more internal and 3 or more external data sources to support decision making.
- 18% of organizations use 20 or more data sources for decision making.
- 90% of big data and analytics software market share comes from non-SAP data environments.
These non-SAP data sources may be:
- Strategic data repositories
- Critical legacy systems
- Other transformational technologies such as Cloud-based big data stores, including Snowflake, Google BigQuery, AWS Redshift, Azure DW, and many more
The importance of live connectivity in truly unlocking the value of such data assets cannot be underestimated. Live data connectivity with SAP Analytics Cloud allows organizations to leverage data from its current location, modelling and security, which removes the burden of data replication complications and challenges. Many of our customers report that the challenges of such connectivity are a major obstacle to their analytics strategy.
Connecting Live to Non-SAP Data Sources
Now let’s look at some APOS customer use cases to see how this need for live data connectivity in SAP Analytics Cloud is driving adoption of APOS Live Data Gateway.
In our discussions with customers, we have found that the main customer engagement drivers are:
- Connections to non-SAP data assets
- High performance live data connectivity
- Unified data access
- Real-time reporting
- Enabling self-serve analytics
- Ease of deployment, flexibility, and transparency
Many of these drivers surface in the use cases below.
Global Reinsurance Industry Use Case – Live Connectivity
A global reinsurance organization that was undergoing a broad financial transformation came to us with a need to make data from numerous data sources available for real-time reporting via SAP Analytics. These data sources included Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) data cubes. To build a more detailed analytics framework with comprehensive real-time reporting capabilities, they needed to implement live connectivity between their SAP Analytics deployment and these non-SAP data sources. The company needed to find a simple, high-performance means of creating this live data connectivity. Looking ahead to future potential use cases, they also wanted to ensure they implemented a solution that both provided high performance, and was easy to implement and use.
APOS Live Data Gateway gives them the means to create and maintain live data connectivity for their SAP Analytics Cloud / S/4HANA deployment. APOS Live Data Gateway provides live data connectivity between SAP Analytics and SSAS data cubes, and acts as a live data query mechanism, allowing them to use the current data residing in the SSAS data cubes to drive their finance transformation initiative. The organization assessed inherent connectivity options, but chose this solution rather than use any data loading or data linking strategy to pull data from external sources, because it was critical that they maintain live data connectivity to ensure data is current, that the solution be transparent to non-technical analysts, and that the solution provide a high level of performance.
Watch this video showing how you can use APOS Live Data Gateway to connect SAP Analytics Cloud to relational data sources:
Connect Live to Relational Data – Extend SAC Analytics Data Connectivity
Semiconductor Manufacturer Use Case – Live Connectivity
Expanding their data source options was also critical to another customer, an international semiconductor manufacturer. This organization wanted to transition from Power BI to SAP Analytics Cloud, but needed access from SAP Analytics Cloud to Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) data cubes. These data cubes were critical to their analytics transformation. APOS Live Data Gateway enabled this transition by providing high-performance live data connectivity to their non-SAP data sources.
These data cubes have multiple dimensions and use role-based security to control access to data. They use APOS Live Data Gateway to create Views on this data for their analysts, making the connectivity transparent and easy to use.
APOS also worked with this customer to implement their preferred single sign-on (SSO) technology. Using SSO allows their analysts direct access to the data for which they have permissions according to their role, simplifying self-service analytics.
Watch this video showing how you can use APOS Live Data Gateway to connect SAP Analytics Cloud to OLAP data sources:
Connect Live to OLAP Sources – Extend SAC Analytics Data Connectivity
Digital Transformation – Time to Value
The use cases cited in this article show SAP Analytics Cloud as a centerpiece of analytics digital transformation. They also show that connecting SAP Analytics Cloud to non-SAP data sources is critical for many, if not most customers, and that these customers are looking for a way to accelerate and simplify this needed connectivity. Digital transformation of analytics and associated business processes may be a long and complex process, but these customers are improving time to value by taking full advantage of the SAP Partner Ecosystem.