SAP TechEd 2019 Takeaways: The Analytical viewpoint, SAP analytics cloud
What comes to analytics and reporting, SAP is also going towards cloud-based solutions. SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is now the main offering as a reporting and visualization tool. It obviously has a big role in the strategy and road map of business intelligence, and SAP is heavily investing on it. User experience of SAC is reaching the level of competitive products, like MS PowerBI and QlikView/Sense. And more very nice and value-adding things are coming out in the near future: a plug-in for running reports in Excel, improved planning functionalities, and stronger integration to other cloud-based solutions and SAP Cloud Platform. Just to mention a few. SAC will also be embedded into many operational tools, like SAP SuccessFactors and S/4HANA applications. Naturally, this will provide a more solid and harmonized user experience in reporting and analytics across the SAP systems and applications.
Currently SAP Analytics Cloud has quite limited data modelling functionalities. A product called SAP Data Warehouse Cloud (DWC) has been developed to fill this gap. Like SAC, it is a cloud-based service which has a very similar look’n’feel as well. DWC is supposed to be a data modelling solution used via a web browser including advanced and flexible data modelling capabilities. It also has a role to integrate and consolidate data from multiple systems which can be cloud based or on-premise systems. One vision of SAP is that business users can do data modelling by themselves in DWC, and bring their” own” data to the system. It is too early to say much about the product as it is still in the development phase. However, it might raise a few questions to your mind:
- Are customers ready to have one more layer/service in their landscape of BI architecture, and invest on it?
- Are end users, working in business role, keen to do data modelling by themselves? And does it lead to good results from the company perspective?
- Is the usability and flexibility of a web-based tool on the level which is required for doing challenging and complicated data modelling?
- Why DWC is not simply included to SAP Analytics Cloud by extending its data modelling features?
It might be these questions are not relevant, and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud will justify its existence. And maybe there is demand for this kind of service or tool on the market. We will see.
Despite emphasizing cloud based solutions in reporting and analytics solutions, SAP is not abandoning customers who have on-premise BI products of SAP, or do not want to/cannot move to cloud based solutions: BW/4HANA is still evolving, and its road map includes many improvements and functionalities that customers have been waiting for. In addition, version 4.3 of SAP BusinessObjects was released, and it will be supported (at least) until year 2027.