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Why Supply Chain Needs an Enterprise Data Warehouse and Analytics Strategy

Each day, businesses generate a vast amount of data—and supply chain data makes up a large part of it. As they store new and valuable data at exponential rates, their need to access that information and derive insights grows.

To make things complicated, the boundaries between suppliers and operators of assets are blurring, and companies are seeking to differentiate through new collaborative processes and digital content to help them solve:

  • Siloes across the supply chain and enterprise impacting operational costs and downtime and reduced service levels
  • Lack of data transparency for consistent performance measurement across plants and contract manufacturers
  • Insufficient program and project visibility of schedule and cost
  • Poor impact analysis of changing requirements

As a business, you need to have a strong foundation to pivot from, that not only organizes your data but also enables you to extract meaning and insights from your information so you can make timely decisions.

The very foundation that helps your company move forward is an enterprise data warehousing and analytics strategy.

Table of Contents

What is an Enterprise Data Warehousing and Analytics Strategy?

Enterprise data warehousing and analytics strategy has many names – you might know it as “unified data and analytics” “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 connect, blend, model, analyze, and process analytical data in all or most functions of the business.

For any business, collecting and managing all that data from across several departments is a tremendous task. You need a way to understand everything about your organization, in real time, so you can make smart decisions.

Simply put, it’s a way to get a complete picture of your entire organization.

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Why is Enterprise Analytics so Important for Supply Chain?

Traditionally, the focus for supply chain has been on efficient asset operations and cost reduction. But today’s market has a complex set of challenges. Businesses have a lot on their plate:

  • Customers with high expectations
  • Evolving technology
  • A growing awareness and call for sustainability for our planet
  • Ensuring their employees are protected
  • Remaining competitive and staying resilient

This places the supply chain at the center of a business’s success. Businesses need to sense and respond in real time to any changes in demand, supply, and the environment they operate in.
It’s a delicate balance that requires a particular dance, designed to keep a lifecycle sustainable.

But if something happens, say an event that brings the market to a standstill and forces 10 years of growth in just 3 months, the entire balance is thrown off, bringing the entire supply chain life cycle to a halt.

To win in the digital economy and run a resilient and sustainable supply chain, businesses need to look beyond getting their product out the door as fast as possible. They need to have a full 360-degree view into their organization so they can make laser focused decisions. And to do that requires an integrated solution that can help them:

  • Adjust quickly to their changing business needs
  • Generate insights from the massive amount of data they collect
  • Steer operations in real time and make the right business decisions.

And the key to achieving these results? A data warehousing and enterprise analytics strategy.

Businesses that leverage this strategy have:

  • Full visibility into their supply chain. With multiple data sources in one, real-time view, planning processes are connected between finance and supply chain, so there’s time to react faster to changes in the business.
  • Faster time to action. Data can be accessed, analyzed, and shared by all, while maintaining data governance—enabling supply chain alignment across all departments.
  • Agile decision-making. Teams having the ability to foresee potential risks and the probability of certain outcomes is a huge benefit to supply chains, who can consider multiple scenarios and minimize the impact of disruptions.

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How Data Warehousing and Enterprise Analytics Solves Supply Chains’ Biggest Challenges

The biggest challenge facing the supply chain is the sheer amount of data they possess.
According to the IDC, the volume of data available in organizational supply chains has increased by more than a factor of 50 over the period between 2013 and 2018. And less than 25% of that data is being used in data analysis in anything near to real time.

When data is spread across the business, with no way to access or connect to it, it creates a culture of disconnected people, processes, and assets across operations.

To meet this challenge head on, supply chains require real-time visibility into this information. They also need a way to effectively manage and harness their data so that they can plan and predict for the future.

To achieve this, businesses can turn to the technological capabilities of data warehousing and enterprise analytics.

Adopting this type of strategy breaks down organizational and data siloes and brings all of your data together for an integrated and unified view of the business.

Here are the benefits of integrating an enterprise data warehousing and analytics strategy for your supply chain 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 supply chain data, so you can make holistic decisions for your business’ needs. This also breaks down silos by integrating previously disconnected information.
  • Gain operational 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.

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What to Look for in an Enterprise Analytics Solution for Supply Chain

 

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 supply chain 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 IBP, SAP S/4HANA, SAP Ariba, and other SAP and third-party data sources. With central access to all supply chain 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 supply chain data, so you can:

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

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.

3. Empowers all your employees

No matter what level they’re on, employees across the organization need to be involved in the process of discovering, analyzing and acting on insights from their data. Otherwise, all the high-level strategizing—and technology investments—won’t make a difference in driving growth.
Key to delivering this empowerment is a self-service analytics, which enable business users to perform day-to-day reporting themselves, freeing up time for data scientists to work on more strategic initiatives.

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud provides self-service capabilities that empower your business to take charge of their analytics projects.

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud’s Spaces are virtual work environments that provide your IT with central governance over data and authorizations, while allowing business users to connect, model, and analyze data themselves. Employees can easily blend enterprise and departmental data with own flat files to create more robust data models, thus increasing the quality of insights.

SAP Analytics Cloud’s smart wrangling capabilities introduce a new self-service analytics experience giving the ability to easily iterate between question and insight. The smart wrangling features don’t limit you to the same old repeated processes so instead of waiting for IT to make changes to a data source you to harness what you have and wrangle it with ease to get the job done—swiftly and flexibly.

4. Ready-to-use templates

Having ready-to-use templates is a game-changer for your projects. No starting from scratch with your data; you have a collection of end-to-end business scenarios that contain connectors, models, and dashboards to help you leverage your data quickly.
For instance, With Business Content from SAP and Partners you can easily deploy such use cases like: Procurement Cockpit, Order Fulfillment Optimization, Central Monitoring of Warehouses, Integrated Capacity Planning, Responsive Automotive Supply Network, and many more.

5. Predictive and Smart Features

Predictive features allow you to simulate and identify or analyze future trends using your existing 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.

5. 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 Supply chain and other teams.

For example, SAP Data Warehouse Cloud’s Spaces allow business users to collaborate on analytics projects in a secure environment that prevents making changes to data sources. Data models built in SAP Data Warehouse Cloud can easily be shared between teams for further usage and optimization.

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.

Putting It All Together

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, SAP Data Intelligence), data warehousing (SAP Data Warehouse Cloud), 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 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.

 

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