Why SAP Analytics Cloud is the best (and maybe only) tool to create Dashboards on top of SAP BPC data

As an SAP BPC user or administrator you might have needed to publish BPC data onto engaging web-based visualisations that could be shared to mobile devices and consumed by senior managers and/or directors. You might have also required to merge your SAP BPC data with other data sets (internal or external) under a unique umbrella to provide a holistic business intelligence platform for your business.

These requirements not being fulfilled by SAP BPC standard features will undoubtedly entice you to look into the direction of different Business Intelligence platforms from multiple software vendors. Once you take the decision to look at the options, you will find many Business Intelligence (BI) platform vendors ready to showcase their solutions. Most of them focusing on presentation and front-end widgets that make them “unique”.  Users can easily be side-tracked or distracted by which tool has the best looking pie or waterfall chart or an eye catching feature that resonated. These are, of course the things that end users will see and will be prioritised in demonstrations as vendors showcase the best features available to them. After all the time you have spent looking for the right software vendor,  you might find yourself in a position where you are still unable to take a decision being submerged with conflicting information.

So what are the key drivers you should consider and what makes SAP Analytics Cloud such a strong fit?

The first and most obvious response to this is, of course, that the product comes from the same developer and has many aligned and complimentary capabilities as well as native read write connectivity. More generally, though, the most critical factor for any BI platform implementation has always been data (and less about front-end features). Data needs to be clean, robust, meaningful, augmented and all of this without the need for manual intervention. SAP Analytics Cloud has a very powerful embedded integration capability which is a stand out feature regardless of the source. However, with SAP BPC there is out of the box direct and seamless integration with your SAP BPC content (dimensions, models and transactions), meaning you do not need to manually replicate any of this. It includes an intuitive understanding of the data, for example YTD data coming from a CONSOLIDATION model is automatically interpreted in periodic format required for aggregation in a BI platform. Having this pre-built understanding in your software kit can save tens or hundreds of consulting man-days understanding the source schemas, building integrations and structuring equivalent data models before you even start to consider the outputs.

A key commercial factor you must also consider relates to licensing. SAP BPC indirect access rules do not apply to data reads between BPC and SAC. This impacts both the rights to access data directly from the database tables as well as unlicensed users’ rights to view the data in anything other than static form. This has been a very expensive mistake made by some businesses when their compliance audit has identified significant unlicensed indirect access users.

Commercial reasons aside, it is important to understand why SAP Analytics Cloud and BPC combined provide you with a phenomenally powerful solution:

  • SAP Analytics Cloud is a modern full-fledged BI platform that is the next generation from the global leaders in Business Intelligence SAP Business Objects;
  • Is a solution that includes planning and predictive functionalities as well;
  • It is a user-friendly, highly configurable and also customisable tool (App Designer)
  • Supporting complex financial reporting requirements as well as operational analytic requirements is a platform for enterprise wide reporting and analytics.
  • The solution includes an embedded integration and data acquisition module as well as it’s own data store on the latest HANA platform bringing in-memory data warehouse like power to normal business users.

Specific to SAP BPC, it is a cloud software solution that connects directly to your BPC on-premise system.  BPC users will find it simpler to use SAP Analytics Cloud than any other tool as most of the concepts around dimensions, models, properties, hierarchies, currency conversion, data locking etc… are very similar between the two tools.

If you would like more information about SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP BPC please feel free to email me on: fouad.elhage@opalwave.com

I would be more than happy to share with you our experiences and customer successes in the Analytics, Planning, Budgeting and Consolidation space.