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The insideEdge (SAPinsider Vol. 2, Iss. 1)

by Klaus Kreplin | SAPinsider

January 1, 2001

by Klaus Kreplin, Senior Vice President, SAP Business Intelligence and mySAP Workplace, SAP AG SAPinsider - 2001 (Volume 2), January (Issue 1)

To achieve speed and agility in today's highly competitive business arena, an organization must empower the right decision-makers with the right data at the right time, and in the proper context.Now, a new breed of IT solutions has appeared to facilitate this type of decision-making process. These are commonly referred to as "Business Intelligence" (BI) solutions, and many of them are specifically designed to monitor and optimize e-business practices - a task that, to work well, certainly requires analyzing a great deal of complex data.

     One fundamental element of any BI initiative is the establishment of a data warehouse that is capable of seamlessly accessing, handling, and analyzing quantitative information from a broad range of sources. The data warehouse must also synthesize and present that information in a manner appropriate to the activity or process being examined, and to the user's role or level within the organization. Another fundamental BI element is a content management system for organizing unstructured or qualitative information. An effectively functioning data warehouse running in concert with a content management system forms a powerful infrastructure on which to run analytic applications, advanced knowledge management (KM) solutions, and strategic enterprise management (SEM) solutions, which excel at transforming raw information into working intellectual capital. This combination offers an extremely potent solution, and in many cases confers a critical competitive advantage.

     This may explain the fact that even though most large enterprises already have some form of BI technology in place, industry analysts predict that BI expenditures over the next four years will continue to soar, possibly reaching the US $20 billion mark. Why will these additional investments take place? Because the sophistication of strategic BI applications has, in many cases, outstripped that of the existing data warehouse solutions, which can no longer support them.

     This run-and-catch-up scenario, however, is not the case for SAP Business Information Warehouse (BW) customers. SAP BW is a comprehensive suite of data warehousing and analysis solutions. It integrates data from any source - SAP and non-SAP alike - such as ERP systems, CRM solutions, SCM applications, XML feeds from marketplaces, etc. In addition to its end-to-end integrated technology, it consists of analytic applications for targeting the right customers, mass-customizing e-commerce product offerings, purchasing from the right suppliers, or optimizing the order fulfillment process, to name but a few. Fully integrated with mySAP Workplace, BW forms the infrastructure on which to run highly sophisticated KM and SEM solutions, and then present actionable information in accordance with users' roles and tasks. This whole-context information framework gives business professionals, from purchasing agents and manufacturing plant supervisors on up to the CFO and CEO, the ability to:

  • Reference all pertinent quantitative and qualitative information sources

  • Have that information presented in a manner and at a level that is appropriate to their role within the company

  • Draw upon analytic functions to monitor and optimize the activity under question

     Armed with this type of Business Intelligence, they can take effectual action to improve their business, every time.

Klaus Kreplin
Senior Vice President,
SAP Business Intelligence and mySAP Workplace, SAP AG

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