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Modern Analytics for the Live Business

Drive Enhanced Business Outcomes with Agility and Trust

by Jayne Landry | SAPinsider, Volume 17, Issue 4

October 10, 2016

The amount of structured and unstructured data flowing into today’s businesses is overwhelming — and can make or break an organization in the digital age. If it remains siloed and disorganized, it‘s difficult to generate the timely, enterprise-wide insights required to run a live business. Discover how SAP BusinessObjects provides customers with a modern, end-to-end analytics platform that helps everyone across the organization understand the business at granular level. 

An unprecedented volume of structured and unstructured data is flowing into businesses everywhere. This data can make or break a company in the digital age we now live in. If it remains siloed or is not integrated across the organization, it’s difficult to generate timely insights beyond a departmental level. The traditional ways of solving this challenge are failing; businesses can no longer afford, and business users are no longer prepared, to wait two years for a data integration or data warehousing project to bear results. Enter the mission of the modern analytics platform: to deliver immediate and trusted insights across all data and become the single network of truth for the digital enterprise.

With such a platform, a company can combine offline and live data from systems of record, transactions, conversations, and sensors to drive real-time insights for the entire business — in other words, take action in the moment as it happens. This is live business. Data is the lifeblood for the digital enterprise, and driving meaningful business outcomes requires the capability to provide all stakeholders, whether they are in the office or on the road, with access to information anytime, anywhere, and any way they want it.

A good analogy for the digital enterprise is to think about the way we used to find information in encyclopedias compared with how we use Wikipedia today. We used to have encyclopedias on the shelf and would have to wait for updates to arrive every six to 12 months. The information was broad, but there wasn’t a lot of depth. With Wikipedia, updates happen constantly and immediately, the breadth and depth of information is far greater than those bound volumes could ever hold, and because anyone can contribute and update the information (rather than a single entity producing the information), the data is much more accurate. A single source of truth has evolved to a single network of truth, delivering both agility and trust — and that’s the goal for the live business.

Top Floor to Shop Floor

However, this concept is not the reality for many companies today. The familiar scenario plays itself out in many a meeting room: Everyone brings their own information, and rather than being able to solve the business problem, a lively debate ensues about which numbers are more accurate, more timely, or more relevant. Or the information leads to more questions that cannot be immediately answered, sending everyone scurrying off looking for more data.  

In a live business, everyone is working off the same data and the same analytics, from the key performance indicators (KPIs) set and monitored by the board to the day-to-day operations managed within the lines of business. This is a “top-floor-to-shop-floor” analytics model, where board-level decisions can be immediately cascaded to the departmental level and the various business units are all aligned and executing on a central plan. And because the businesses are all working off the same information, plans can be monitored and adjustments made in real time. In this holistic analytics value cycle, traditional methods of using standalone processes for data modeling, reporting, visualizations, and predictive analysis are antiquated. A live business has no patience or use for overnight batch runs, week-old reports, time-consuming data modeling, or each line of business working in its own silo.

Rethink and Redefine

To rethink analytics for the live business within this framework, where one platform can deliver all the analytics an organization wants or needs, is to redefine the enterprise. The modern analytics platform helps everyone understand the business at a granular level, which leads to simplification, which in turn leads to opportunities for significant business transformation.

This concept guides SAP in delivering flexible solutions that appeal to users who want analytics that are simple to acquire and use, and for CIOs and IT departments that need end-to-end governance, security, and manageability of a trusted enterprise solution.

Solutions that are simple to use, that provide access to any and all data, and that offer many line-of-business scenarios to visualize, predict, and plan new outcomes and opportunities is the promise behind SAP BusinessObjects as the core of the modern analytics platform.

SAP BusinessObjects provides the live business with an end-to-end analytics experience for all users to discover, visualize, plan, and predict — eliminating the need to cobble together various point solutions. Its four central components — SAP BusinessObjects Cloud, SAP Digital Boardroom, SAP BusinessObjects Roambi, and SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise — enable a top-floor-to-shop-floor analytics experience, whether on premise or in the cloud, and provide the tools for companies to bridge their on-premise and cloud environments and connect to all SAP and all third-party applications and data.

SAP BusinessObjects Cloud, which is built on SAP HANA Cloud Platform, is the key to radically simplifying the analytics landscape by bringing all analytics capabilities — data discovery, dashboards, planning, and predictive — together in a single solution. SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise ensures that an organization’s significant on-premise analytics investments in business intelligence (BI), predictive, and planning functionality are also incorporated into a live business model. With the ability to share planning models, predictive models, universes, and datasets between SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise and SAP BusinessObjects Cloud, companies can leverage their existing on-premise assets to jump-start their transformation to a digital enterprise.

By innovating analytics on premise and leading in the cloud, SAP provides companies with the utmost flexibility on their analytics journey as they make their way to the ultimate destination — a live business driving better business outcomes.

Modern Analytics in Practice

This is not just theory — real companies are using these technologies and strategies to drive their live businesses. For example, a mining company is using SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise today to create real-time dashboards to optimize freight operations. By using live dashboards and sensor data, the company extracts significant additional revenue by making sure that each rail car that leaves the mine is loaded with the precise tonnage of cargo. This all but eliminates derailments and delays, and stanches revenue loss from sending off underloaded containers.

A well-known automotive manufacturer is using SAP BusinessObjects Cloud to extend analytics outside of its organization, in this case by providing revenue information to its dealer network. This exemplifies a growing use case, typically for companies transitioning to selling a service, in which real-time analytics is provided to suppliers and customers.

And there is a farm cooperative that is using SAP BusinessObjects and SAP BusinessObjects Lumira to uncover previously hidden insights by creating real-time visualizations on customer buying patterns. Armed with this analysis rather than the armfuls of static spreadsheets of the past, the company drilled down into how its customers were ordering butterfat to optimize how it produced raw milk components and thus optimize profits.

It’s these sorts of insights that are driving interest in the analytics solutions and services of SAP and its partners. It’s not just about piling up more data — it’s about harnessing data, uncovering new insights, and driving business value. For more information, visit

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Jayne Landry
Jayne Landry

Global Vice President,
BI Solutions

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