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Transforming Data into Actionable Business Information

Expand the Reach of Data with Self-Service Operational Business Analytics

by Jacques Adriaansen, Every Angle | insiderPROFILES, Volume 6, Issue 2

April 2, 2015

Every Angle Expert Insight

Jacques Adriaansen of Every Angle examines why self-service business intelligence (BI) is fast becoming so important for business users in modern organizations who need to make rapid, strategic decisions that can make or break a business. Learn how Every Angle helps businesses arrive at analysis of SAP data without the intervention of IT.

 

Business users across modern organizations face a number of challenges. Upper management needs to make rapid, strategic decisions that can make or break the business, and operational business employees have to cope with a significant amount of complexity, caused by the numbers of products and materials they work with and the various processes and people they are confronted with. On top of that, both organizational levels have to work within very tight time frames, facing continuously changing circumstances. In such an environment, business users need fast — meaning within hours or even minutes — actionable business information that answers new questions that pop up regularly. For organizations that run SAP software, the data needed to answer these questions generally has to be retrieved from an SAP ERP system.

Timely, Relevant Insight Isn’t Always Easy

To provide companies with comprehensive management of their business-critical data and processes, an SAP ERP system covers and integrates a wide range of business processes across various industries, and to meet this need, SAP databases contain more than 20,000 tables and nearly 300,000 fields. For this reason, in most organizations, the IT department takes the lead when it comes to performing data analysis. IT employees are familiar with SAP data structures and are generally the best suited to constructing solutions to answer clearly formulated questions from business users.
 
But what happens when these questions are not clearly formulated — or when business users don’t know the right questions to ask? Many business users only know what they really want when IT shows them the solution they originally asked for, and it doesn’t quite give them what they need. This kind of process can take many iterations and a lot of lead time. In addition, IT is not always capable of quickly responding to the often enormous volume of questions from the business.
 
It’s easy to see why an over-reliance on IT to create these solutions can cause problems — many organizations find themselves unable to transform existing data into useful information in a timely manner, which means, in turn, that employees do not have the insights they require to perform optimally.
 
What’s needed are tools that allow employees to conduct their own data analysis.

Self-Service Analysis Tools to the Rescue

Every Angle provides solutions that enable business users to conduct analysis themselves based on SAP data (transactional data, master data, and customizing data), and to easily make the desired links, without the intervention of IT. For example, business users can quickly execute a search of the data with previously defined, customized templates, or with Google-type searches, without the need for any knowledge of database terminology. In minutes, they can also create custom key performance indicator (KPI) dashboards that give them insight into the data and processes that are relevant to them. And when these dashboards highlight problems, users can drill down into the details causing the issues, delivering closed-loop performance management that connects high-level insights to actionable business information.
 
To bridge the gap between the information requirements of management and operational teams, Every Angle’s solutions use an expanded information architecture that includes an operational business analytics (OBA) layer. This OBA layer expands access to insight — without the need to be an expert in analytics — to the operational team. It includes carefully designed algorithms, based on Every Angle’s extensive experience in identifying the various needs of both the management and operational levels, that convert data from SAP ERP systems into the required information while hiding the underlying complexity from employees.

Business Intelligence for All

Organizations are realizing that access to data and information is not the exclusive right of management. Employees, as part of their daily activities, must also have access to information that helps increase the performance of business processes and productivity. These employees know better than anyone which operational and tactical questions must be answered to improve processes and enable the business to grow. And for that, they need an information system that covers these needs, and self-service tools that enable them to take action.
 
Every Angle provides an agile, self-service business intelligence system based on an extended data architecture that business users can use to easily and independently get answers to their strategic and operational questions and maintain control over their business-critical processes. Learn more at www.everyangle.com/sapinsider2015.

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Every Angle Expert Insight
Jacques Adriaansen, Every Angle

Jacques Adriaansen is responsible for the overall Every Angle Academy enablement program. With a background as a consultant/researcher and with business experience in software engineering, operations management, and SAP systems integration, Jacques shares his insights with business professionals through both in-company education and as a guest professor in university education.



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