Advanced Analytics with SAP
From Drill-Down Report to Early Warning System

Enhance the Potential of Your Technology

Considering market dynamics (incl. globalization, commodification, liberalization), the increasing data flood (Big Data) and the hunger for information in times of digital change, more and more successful enterprises trust in forward-looking reporting solutions to gain competitive advantages: By now, data turn into strategic information and thus into important bases of decision-making. Though in this respect, data only become valuable when they can be read out with maximum efficiency and precision – the only reliable method to reveal correlations, to gain new knowledge and to carry out accurate plannings resp. predictions.

The term of Advanced Analytics can be defined by distinguishing it from the classic concept of Business Intelligence (BI). Classic Standard Reporting resp. BI follows the approach of understanding the reasons for certain events in a post-hoc way. In contrast, enterprises using Advanced Analytics gain themselves a proper position for forward-looking actions. Due to the basically different approach, Advanced Analytics is often generalized as Predictive Analytics: This emphasizes that not just past events are analyzed – instead, the data analyses result in forecasts for the future.

In the context of Advanced Analytics, the experts of our Prediction Studio focus on Predictive Modelling and also on other methods of data analysis. Some examples:

  • Data Mining

  • Text Mining

  • Big Data Analytics

  • Descriptive Modelling

  • Statistical/Quantitative Analyses

  • Machine Learning

  • Artificial Neural Networks (ANN)

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Dr. Stefan Lieder
Dr. Stefan Lieder

Learn more about Advanced Analytics below:

Advanced Analytics requires a basically different and virtually reversed approach: At first, the desired question or the problem formulation are defined. Then individual analyses are conceptualized and carried out to get answers resp. solutions.

This becomes possible through readout of flexibly integrated data sources (ideally by the Business proper via Self-Service BI) while the IT provides the analytic platform as well as the quality- and authorization-compliant data. In conjunction with up-to-date automation processes, also spontaneously occurring business questions of high complexity can in this way be answered promptly, precisely and cost-efficiently.

Advanced Analytics therefore does not only provide individual information for specific purposes (e. g. planning, identification of factors for success/failure, 360-degree views of customers): In contrast to classic Standard Reporting, it can also be used as an effective and maximally flexible platform for analyses in the context of active troubleshooting.

Classic BI platforms for analytical purposes mostly use an in-house Data Warehouse as their data basis. In this case, historical information is aggregated to higher hierarchy levels and is made available to users in form of respective reports. In the process, drill-downs offer access to details on lower hierarchy levels. Thus the analysis runs “from large to small”.

With Advanced Analytics, controlling- and planning-relevant knowledge about correlations can be obtained not only from internal and/or structured data but also from external and/or unstructured sources (e. g. photos, videos, postings in online forums or social media) – thus from very different types of information. Here the analysis proceeds “from small to large”.

In this way, e. g. individual customers can be assessed (incl. information/purchasing channels, demands on products/services) for personalized marketing. Simultaneously, it is possible to identify and analyze current market sentiments or brand loyalties in real time if required. Through automation, thereby patterns are detected which could never be traced by human analysts due to the enormous data volumes (Big Data).

The SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is not just a tool for visual presentation. Instead, this SAP product represents a Unified Concept with strategical character: On one single platform, it combines all relevant functions regarding BI/Analytics, Planning, Data Connection, Dashboarding, Reporting, Simulation and Advanced Analytics – enhanced by options for prognoses via Predictive Analytics. The individual functionalities complement each other and thereby increase overall performance. At the same time, seamless integration of completely different data sources (incl. on-premise, non-SAP) is possible as well.

The central access via Self-Service BI provides end users in the specialist divisions directly with very user-friendly Advanced Analytics (e. g. data retrieval/visualization, preparation of reports/plans, forecasts). The IT-governance- and quality-relevant data are thereby supplied centrally by the IT. The users are interconnected via a standardized platform and benefit from easier cooperation based on modern, interactive collaboration functions.

Due to the highly performant In-Memory technology of SAP HANA, detailed data analyses via SAC can be carried out in real time. An app complements the use of the SAC. The responsive design component adapts the displays automatically to the respective terminal device. As an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solution, the SAC can be used very easily and cost-efficiently. Thus the software is always up-to-date for maximum performance. Furthermore, the SAC can be implemented quickly for an operational start shortly afterwards.

Note as to Data Security: A special feature of the SAP Analytics Cloud is the so-called “Live Connection“. This type of data connection makes it possible to retain only the meta data in the Cloud. The actual operational data remain behind the enterprise’s firewall and are not transferred into the SAC.

By default, the SAC includes algorithms for predictive analyses. Respective models can be created quickly and without statistical know-how. The interpretation of the results, however, definitely requires basic understanding of statistical models.

Already via the default functions, e. g. various forecast models based on time-series analyses can be created for end users. There is also the option of using “Smart Insights“ to discover certain correlations between effects caused by different influencing factors (e. g. Revenue/Turnover, Sales Territory, Product Categories). The additional possibilities include e. g. the creation of Value Driver Trees (VDTs) oder the simulation of alternatives for action.

Together, all these options close the Analytics loop in an optimum way – e. g. when different planning possibilities are to be considered and to be transferred into the actual process.

  • Highly performant HANA platform with real-time access and optional connection of completely different data sources (internal, external, on-premise, SAP, non-SAP)
  • Seamless combination of Business Intelligence, Planning, Advanced and Predictive Analytics on on single platform
  • High user-friendliness thanks to Self-Service BI
  • Optimal visualization (incl. dashboards, diagrams, charts)
  • Optional use of the notation concept IBCS® for maximally efficient decision-making
  • Interactive functions for Collaboration and Planning
  • Optional issuing of analyses and reports to mobile terminals
  • Optimum cost efficiency, up-to-dateness and performance thanks to SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) concept
  • Very quick implementation and operational start possible

Some SAP components for Advanced Analytics – e. g. the SAP HANA PAL (Predictive Analysis Library) – can be run on in-house hardware. These components are complemented by the SAP Analytics Cloud which provides new analytical solutions with demand for fast integration.

However, enterprises are definitely not under compulsion to replace their on-premise systems immediately and completely by Cloud solutions. Instead, it makes sense to gradually implement a hybrid solution of SAC and On-Premise. Then an already existing basis can still be used while specific and efficient addition of Cloud innovations is possible as well. Especially with regard to new projects in the context of Advanced Analytics, a Cloud solution is recommended right from the start.

And as already mentioned: The SAC offers you the possibility of leaving the data/results in your enterprise as securely as before.

We support you competently in enhancing and exploiting the potential of your technology with Advanced Analytics as efficiently as possible.

In this context, we offer you e. g. the following services:
  • Acceptance of overall responsibility for the topic of “Advanced Analytics“ in case of extension or first-time implementation
  • Development of analytical contents and applications in the context of Advanced Analytics (incl. Mining methods, Machine Learning), also in conjunction with Predictive Analytics
  • Definition of an optimally customized portfolio for Advanced Analytics
  • Implementation and start-up of analytical applications for Advanced Analytics
Our Technologies for Advanced Analytics:

References

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